Now comes his debut solo album under his own name, Two Trains, released through Erased Tapes. The album takes its name from Minør and Pionér, two locomotives which transported wagons full of rock and gravel to the Icelandic seaside during the construction of the Reykjavík harbour in 1913-1917, ushering in a new age in Iceland. After construction ceased the two trains were parked and have never driven since. Minør is on display near the Reykjavík waterfront and Pionér is parked in an outdoor museum on a hill. They are the only trains ever to have graced the Icelandic landscape, and serve as metaphors for an exploration into the idea of duality.
The music embraces the spirit of the original European avant-garde and invokes these concepts in its chugging rhythms, metallic clangs and brooding choral arrangements, while the lyrics speak of ominous clouds on the war-ridden eastern horizon and freight cars filled with gravel and dreams.
Ahead of the album’s release, Högni here backtracks deep into the territory of his music memory to recall the albums that have influenced his journey most, for his This Music Made Me…
In the midst of my teenage years I became obsessed with the songwriting of the Zombies and their ornate musical style.
I know it sounds perhaps overtly ambitious but hey …teenage daydreams. Blunstone’s vocal performance on Rose For Emily is so tender, it reminds me of a morning I spent in a Hungarian garden. I will not go into details.
This is an album I find intensely inspiring.
It’s one of the few Miles Davis records he did in collaboration with composer and arranger Gil Evans.
Gil creates a delightful staging for Miles’s performance where Spanish timbres erupt and modulate throughout the record creating a unique chamber-jazz sound filled with flutes and woodwinds.
I don’t think there’s anything that mounts to the musical terror of Alfred Schnittkes choir music.
The harmonic clusters and atonal melodies create a soulful yet psychological situation that for some reason I’m drawn to.
This is a recent record I started listening to. I guess this album represents a side of me that is charmed by the perpetuating internal unravelling of the music.
Apart from definitions or categories – there is a certain momentum you’re looking for in any music and when that happens it becomes surprisingly fulfilling.
It’s also really fun to dance to.
In the past I loved rock music, sincerely. I picked a few artists that had a sound that I liked and I was true to them.
One album that I listened to a lot, was Marquee Moon by Television. Their storytelling and coolness swept me, and became the soundtrack to my life while painting sheds for the local green energy company.
That raw slickness I adore. Ever en vogue. Solid.
“When I was younger, much younger than before, I never saw the truth hanging from the door. And now I’m older I see it face to face, And now I’m older – gotta get up, gotta clean the place…”
I took part in this task of finding the music that shaped me, under one premise; that I’d be honest and therefore give a little context in looking at the music that I’ve loved all these years.
The work of Nick Drake is so clear in style but so full of intimacy and depth. I could listen to it for a long time. Brilliant guitar and melodies that draw you into the sun and inside the soul. Very sparse but well bodied.
It’s hard to pin down a certain album that I like in particular. It’s just that a Bach piece contains such vigour and persistence that the listener follows it like a trail that holds you in suspense.
Often attractive in its slight momentary predictability the music becomes a language filled with internal syntax. Pure bliss.
A composer is not a person who clings onto a moment of inspiration hopeful for it to sustain. A composer is someone who wakes up and looks himself in the mirror, and doesn’t want to work, but does it anyway.
This collaboration album between Alva Noto and Sakamoto is absolutely stunning.
I could mention so many artists with albums that have accompanied me in different stages of my life. But I feel like this album is reaching it’s hand out to me right now.
The space it creates soothes me. Like water that ripples in motion till it becomes a still mirroring image. Controlled but full of subtext.
Högni’s debut solo album Two Trains is out through Erased Tapes on 20 October 2017. Tour dates and further information can be found here.