Sigur Rós will release their new album "Odin's Raven Magic" on December 4. The album draws on Sigur Rós' roots in orchestral and choral tradition and is a collaboration between the band, Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir, Icelandic music legend Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and Steindór Andersen, one of Iceland's most respected cantors of traditional epic tales
The work grew out of Hilmarsson's longstanding fascination with a particular chapter of the Icelandic medieval literary canon, the Edda, entitled "Hrafnagaldur Óðins" (Odin's Raven Magic), named after the Norse god's two ravens that flew overhead to survey the earth and bring information back to him. The poem tells of a banquet of the gods where ominous signs herald the end of the world, both gods and humans. In 1867, the poem was judged to be a forgery, but then, in 2002, scholars ratified it again, however, as an official addition to the 14th century Edda.
Thus Hilmarsson says of the poem: "'Hrafnagaldur Óðins' has many interpretations and implications that fire the imagination.... It is a very visual poem, with images that are all about falling, and a world freezing from north to south. It was an apocalyptic warning. Perhaps the people of the time felt it in their skin. Today, of course, Iceland is involved in environmental issues around hydroelectric power and the destruction of the highlands. We are being warned again."
"Odin's Raven Magic" was conceived and first commissioned by the Reykjavik Arts Festival in 2002 and performed only a few times at the time. Since then, it has become part of Sigur Rós' own mythology, existing only in snippets found online by fans. This now definitive release, taken from a live recording of the 70-minute score from La Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris, finally brings this important work to light.
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