The sea murmuring in the distance, the ever-searching eye of Gróttuviti scanning the darkness from afar: it almost feels like being at world’s end. From the outside, the gloom of the wintry season makes the Norðurpóllinn’s semi-hidden structure look like a rundown industrial leftover with just enough of a presentable appearance. But as you get closer, you see light coming from inside: there must be life and people and things going on, even in a place like this. The interior of the Norðurpóllinn is even more enigmatic and out of this world than its exterior. In the foyer, a rocking horse and old papers. Symbols from a past, actual or imaginary. As you approach the depths, your sense of reality fails you. Like in a house whose shell was eroded long ago, but whose spirit lives on through its casual ordinary items — an assortment of lamps and shirts and Audrey Hepburn’s bi-dimensional totems and vintage armchairs and coverlets. People crowding the lounges and whispering to each others on the sofas resemble more shadows of oneiric visitors than to average concert attendees. The atmosphere is subtle, dim and intimate.
Kira Kira found in the Norðurpóllinn’s irreal ambiance a perfect background for an agglomeration of moods and antics. Despite the heterogeneous origin of the pieces performed last Saturday — all composed by Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir, with the only exception of Fortunate Fires by Samuli Kosminen — an aural thread strung together all the compositions. Ideally, all the elements belonged to a coherent togetherness. Each piece felt like a splinter is a quietly envisioned misty dreamscape.
Childlike and eerie, Kristín’s effected voice, so rare and precious, melted against the broken surface of loose sounds; trickles of echoes crept into cracks in the apparent incoherence of the fantastically conceived sonic texture. Kosminen’s percussion emerged with a graceful nerve, confident, to the point, but never intrusive. The contrabasses susurrated their unheard-of song, while winds and guitars emitted their solitary laments. It felt like being at the bottom of the darkest ocean, in an upside down recess with a flickering light only sparsely illuminating faces and stories in an overall disintegrated narrative. A feeling of surreal calmness filled the heart, too bizarre though to truly call it safety.
Images ©Pu the Owl. Don’t use without permission. Pu’s photography blog can be found at Manic Owl Works.