Album Remarks & Appraisals:
The soundtrack to Icelandic filmmaker Fridrik Thór Fridriksson's internationally acclaimed movie of the same name, Angels Of The Universe features fifteen short instrumentals by renowned Icelandic film composer and former Psychic TV and Current 93 collaborator Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson and two epic-length, climactic tracks by his countrymen Sigur Rós. Angels Of The Universe is essential for fans of Sigur Rós and similarly-minded Icelanders like Múm or Jóhan Jóhansson, and it will also be appreciated by followers of orchestral rock a lá Rachel's, Godspeed You! Black Emperor or MONO's more delicate moments.
Spin (12/01, p.156) - "...Darkly handsome swarms of strings and feedback with occasional percussion outbursts..."
Q (10/01, p.147) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...Carefully blends classical and modern elements reminiscent of both Mahler and early Aphex Twin...brought to a violent yet beautiful conclusion by Sigur Ros..."
Alternative Press (12/01, pp.83-4) - 7 out of 10 - "...Music that underscores the death and funeral announcements on Iceland's national radio."
The Wire (10/01, p.59) - "...Melancholy, wistful, elegiac...stamped with an effective simplicity that is commonly associated with spiritual values and aspirations..."
Full performer name: Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson/Sigur Ros.
Composer: Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson.
Personnel: Kristjan Eldjarn (guitar); Szymon Kuran (violin); Tómas Tómasson (bass instrument); Birgir Baldursson, Sigtryggur Baldursson (percussion).
Audio Mixers: Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson; Ivar Ragnarsson; Kjartan Klartansson; Sigur Rós .
Arranger: Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson.
The soundtrack for Iceland's much celebrated film Englar Alheimsins (Angels of the Universe) lives up to the lavish praise with an overcast and ethereal score composed by a startling duo of Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and Sigur Rós. With a story revolving around a man losing his mind, this marvelously stark musical accompaniment was certainly essential to the experience. Hilmarsson seems perpetually in tune with the film's despair -- "Nidurlæging," "Stigid Nidur Til Heljar," "Máttleysi" -- all written with such a complex mixture of opaque strings and acoustic guitars that one imagines the composer having a tragic breakdown of his own during the songwriting process. Sigur Rós has two pieces at the end of the soundtrack as well. While both were originally recorded for the band's Ny Battery EP, they work in equal measure here: "Bíum Bíum Bambaló" is a long, hypnotic interpretation of an ancient Irish-Icelandic lullaby (making it the first time the song has been transferred from oral tradition to record), whereas "Dánarfregnir Og Jardafarir" (Death Announcement and Funerals) is a slightly more prog-rock take on a Jóni Múli Arnason composition (Iceland radio service used the original track to relate daily deaths and arrangements). As one can guess, Englar Alheimsins is far from an uplifting experience, yet its stirring, remarkable melancholia is something valuable for anybody in the mood for something strangely special. ~ Dean Carlson