Adventa van Joachim Badenhorst & Mógil bij Valckenaers & Vanhoudt
Heiða Árnadóttir [vocals]
Joachim Badenhorst [clarinet, bass clarinet]
Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir [violin]
Hilmar Jensson [guitar]
Eiríkur Orri Ólafsson [trumpet, vocals, keyboard]
Sounds, tones and lyrics of this album are inspired by the Icelandic classic "Aðventa" by Gunnar Gunnarsson, a saga about friendship, reliability, trust and harmony with nature.
Every year in the dark and icy December, the farmhand Benedict, his dog Leó and the bellwether Eitill wander through the Icelandic high mountains to find lost sheep and save them from frostbite or starvation.
Joachim Badenhorst & Mógil create a musical audio film about Nordic landscapes, ice, snow, cold, isolation, winds, elemental forces, finiteness, but also intimacy, friendship, warmth, silence, hope and dreams.
Mógil is an Icelandic-Belgian ensemble whose music blends contemporary classical, folk, jazz, minimal and post-rock into its own universe.
The world of Mógil is atmospheric, intimate and mysterious. Voices and instruments combine to form a unity. The tension between the crystal clear soprano of Heiða Árnadóttir and the contemporary instrumentation without percussion and double bass creates a characteristic sound, but not only through the timbre of the instruments, the interaction of voice, clarinet, violin, guitar, trumpet and keyboards, but especially through the individual playing art of the musicians Mógil convinces with her very own style. The musical concept comes from the pen of Joachim Badenhorst. He composes 11 of 13 works, which are written on the skin of the musicians, and creates fine, carefully staged sound images.
Heiða Árnadóttir is the author of the lyrics, only "Uppsprettu lind" goes back to the original by Gunnar Gunnarsson.
Gunnar Gunnarsson [May 18, 1889 - November 21, 1975] is an Icelandic author who wrote mainly in Danish. He grew up in poverty in Eastern Iceland but went to Denmark at the age of 18, determined to become a writer. He returned to Iceland in 1939, as world known author and built a mansion at Skriðuklaustur in his home valley which now houses a cultural center in his memory.
Gunnarsson is often regarded as one of Iceland's most important writers. His most famous and widely read work is the short story "Aðventa" [The Good Shepherd], first published in 1936 and available in several languages.
This album is based after " Aðventa ", which belongs to the most beautiful stories of the ending year. Mógil interprets scenes from this short story and reveals a new world of experience inside the listener.
The result is an extraordinary, contemplative album with quiet, but also budding tones, which can not only be heard in the silent season.
1. Hátið fer í hönd (Joachim Badenhorst)
On the 1st Sunday in Advent a man breaks out into the high mountains of Iceland in order to save the sheep from the onset of the harsh winter. Benedict is a farmhand and should now enjoy his quiet time. But he has been pursuing this self-imposed task for 27 years, because he cannot bear the thought that the defenceless and aimlessly roaming animals — like himself God's creatures — are dying in the icy cold. However, he is not alone in this search, because his loyal dog Leó and bellwether Eitill accompany him.
2. Án Hiks (Eiríkur Orri Ólafsson / Heiða Árnadóttir)
This time the harsh winter seems to start early, which is why well-meaning farmers advise him against the search, but he nevertheless sets off into the icy and merciless cold.
3. Uppsprettu lind (Joachim Badenhorst / Gunnar Gunnarsson)
Although Benedict can see the stars, the darkness of the night embraces him and he is afraid of the unknown that creeps in. He feels like a drowning man who has to gasp for air. He gradually learns to control his emotions and becomes serene and peaceful.
4. Veröldin hans (Joachim Badenhorst / Heiða Árnadóttir)
Benedict is and has been a simple farmhand all his life. Here in the mountains surrounded by snow and ice he is independent in his own world for this short time in Advent.
5. Botn (Hilmar Jensson)
Botn is the farmyard where Benedict stays before and after his walk into the highlands. In the warm and cosy parlour he plays with the children of the house and tells them stories.
6. Á milli hárra fjalla (Joachim Badenhorst / Heiða Árnadóttir)
With incredible patience, Benedict continues to wander through the infinity of the bitterly cold, seemingly endless landscape despite the unexpected weather change. Wrapped up in the deepest snowstorm, the strong wind blows his words of song through the high mountains.
7. Ylur (Joachim Badenhorst / Heiða Árnadóttir)
Cold, hungry and tired, Benedict is on the verge of giving up to his total exhaustion. But he knows that sitting down would be death. So he digs a cave in the snow and warms himself together with his animals by the light of a candle, while it storms outside.
8. Milli tveggja heima (Joachim Badenhorst / Eirikur Orri Ólafsson and Heiða Árnadóttir)
The spirits in the mountains wonder how Benedict will survive the snowstorm, but the snow covers him up and provides shelter and finally a refuge.
9. Á öræfum (Joachim Badenhorst)
After the change of weather in the wilderness the moon and stars appear and the wind becomes calm. But in the highlands this can change unexpectedly fast again.
10. Hola (Joachim Badenhorst / Heiða Árnadóttir)
Benedict, his dog Leó and bellwether Eitill, who are used to working wordlessly and perfectly together, form a trinity. On Christmas Eve, they seek shelter in their cave, which can be their grave, but also their salvation.
11. Sálmur (Joachim Badenhorst)
Faith helps Benedict to face dangers and to accept the unknown which might happen to him.
12. Andar í útlegð (Joachim Badenhorst / Heiða Árnadóttir)
Benedict had dreams and visions known only to him and the Almighty. He had lived them when he began 27 years ago in the Advent season to leave for the highlands to save lost sheep. Do these dreams still exist here in the silence of the mountains? Can he still feel them?
13. Von (Joachim Badenhorst)
Benedict succeeds in finding lost sheep with his dog Leó and bellwether Eitill and now he hopes to find more to bring them home safely. The trinity acts with great dedication and seemingly infinite power.
Composer and reedist Joachim Badenhorst's work ranges from solo improvisation, collaborative encounter and project with John Butcher and Paul Lytton, to compositions for his septet Carate Urio Orchestra. After years of academic training, he has since, and continues to, divided his time drifting between Belgium and different cities in the US, Europe and Japan. Joachim is delving into a re-imagination of the boundaries between improvisation and composition, of abstract sound explorations and harmonic passage, and continues to attempt at a more intimate and site-specific aesthetic language that can resonate with different audiences. He started the label KLEIN through which he began to engage himself in visual conceptions and self-made releases and objects, as well as his new project 'zero years kid', where he explores contemporary electronic music.
Joachim Badenhorst can be heard on the following WINTER & WINTER productions: Fumio Yasuda »Erik Satie: Musique d'entracte« (910 241-2); Poem of a Cell Vol. 1 [sound art by Stefan Winter] »Song of Songs« (910 250-2); Poem of a Cell Vol. 3 [sound art by Stefan Winter] »Divine Love« (910 252-2); Fumio Yasuda »Forest« (910 253-2). He is a member of the sound art installations "Poem of a Cell" and "The Ninth Wave - Ode To Nature" by Stefan Winter.
Heiða Árnadóttir graduated from the Music Conservatorium in Reykjavík and continued her studies at the Royal Conservatory in the Hague, Holland, where she graduated with a Masters degree in singing Heida has performed extensively in Iceland and Europe in music varying from modern music to folk and jazz music. She has been very active in the modern music scene in Iceland and a number of Icelandic composers have written music expessially for her artistic performance. She was invited to be the artist in residence for the modern music festival "Dark Music days" for the years of 2020-2022. Heiða is the organizer and makes lyrics for the band Mógil which she started with Joachim Badenhorst in 2006.
A frequent collaborator with some of Iceland’s most innovative artists, Eiríkur Orri Ólafsson has been a fixture on the jazz, alternative and experimental music scene since the late nineties. He spent nine years touring and recording with electronica band múm and has collaborated with post-rock icons Sigur Rós, most extensively as a musical director for their 2012-2013 Valtari and Kveikur tour.
Eiríkur is a sought after improviser, performing with Skúli Sverrisson, Hilmar Jensson, Carate Urio Orchestra and others. He leads a trio called hist og, which is a microcosm of all of the above influences. Hist og's first album will be released in the fall of 2019 on Reykjavik Record Shop.
Eirikur's musical approach varies from abrasive and disembodied noise to meditative sound weaving, often incorporating electronics.
Hilmar Jensson first picked up the guitar at the age of six but started studying formally at age eleven. He graduated from FIH School of Music in 1987, got his bachelors degree from Berklee College of Music in 1991 and took private lessons with Mick Goodrick, Jerry Bergonzi, Hal Crook and Joe Lovano.
He has performed and recorded in a wide variety of settings and appeared on over 50 records including 8 as a leader or co-leader, he has also performed in 35 countries with his trio "TYFT", Jim Black’s AlasNoAxis, Trevor Dunn's MadLove, Mógil, Outhouse, BMX and many others.
Hilmar is also one the founders of Kitchen Motors, an Icelandic record label, think tank and art organization.
Hilmar Jensson can be heard on the following WINTER & WINTER productions: Jim Black »AlasNoAxis« (910 061-2); Jim Black, AlasNoAxis »Habyor« (910 073-2); Jim Black, AlasNoAxis »Splay« (910 076-2); Jim Black, AlasNoAxis »Dogs of Great Indifference« (910 120-2); Jim Black, AlasNoAxis »Houseplant« (910 154-2); Jim Black, AlasNoAxis »Antiheroes« (910 202-2).
Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir is an interdisciplinary performer, composer and violist. She has a rich background in working with groups and ensembles in Iceland and Los Angeles, ranging in an array of styles, while developing her voice as a solo artist as well. She is an explorative improvisor of sound and movement, utilizing gesture and touch as means of sonic expression. She has lent her voice and viola playing to numerous records and has been a member of bands such as Mógil, Umbra, Hafdís Bjarnadóttir Band, Marshweed and Stórsveit Nix Noltes. Kristín's compositions range from solo instrumental music, to orchestral work and have been described as “baroque ballads and soundscapes that mirror the natural world and our place within it”. She has released one solo record with the VDSQ label and she is currently working on releasing her vocal and ensemble work Blóðhófnir to the epic poem of the same name by Gerður Kristný, performed by Umbra Ensemble.