Audio Mixer: Phil Weinrobe.
After their sophomore LP, 2013's Twosomeness, Pascal Pinon -- twin sisters Asthildur and Jófrídur Akadöttir -- spent significant time apart for the first time. Still teenagers, Asthildur left to study music in Amsterdam while Jófrídur worked and toured with her other band, Saramis. The siblings reunited for Sundur, which translates to "apart," a reference to the Icelandic phrase "sundur og saman," "apart and together." The potential psychic toll of such a separation for twins can be heard on Sundur, which diverges from the fleshier arrangements and whimsical palette of their previous album. Here, the tone is more forsaken, with a sparser sound and more experimental detailing. The piano piece "Jósa & Lotta" opens the record with the words "Two hearts at separate pace" sung in breathy harmony. The song leads into "53," a gentle acoustic guitar ballad that's accompanied by piano and glitchy electronics. The latter culminates in distorted wind effects. Switching the source of glitch, "Babies" relies on organ, with clattering metal and other percussive objects. Also mixing organic sounds and warped noise that together seem like part of a natural world, if not our own, are two instrumentals. "Spider Light" is marked by an electronic drum sample and keyboards, while "Twax" offers tubular bells and other mallet percussion, along with mechanical engine noise. In keeping with the album's themes of separation and togetherness, the track list alternates between these instrumentals, solo vocals, and two-part harmony. Sundur's delicate poignancy is certainly darker than on prior albums ("Nothing ever stays the same"), but it's just as fascinating, and has the potential to be deeply affecting. ~ Marcy Donelson