“Minningar úr undirheimum” (‘Memories from the Underworld’) is a harrowing musical journey carrying the listener through the fringes of dark ambient and ritualistic drone. The sixth album of Swedish-Icelandic artist and musician Draugurinn offers bewitchment and beauty in equal parts. Its three epic tracks undergo gradual build-ups working towards a ceremonial climax; intricate and layered, sophisticated minimalism saturated with both compositional and conceptual depth. Electronic darkness merges with analogue instruments and percussion, occasionally illuminated by spectral chants bringing to mind a Stone Age shaman channelling Dead Can Dance.
As with all of my previous works, nature has served not only as an underlying muse but also as part of the actual instrumentation. The bullroarer – a ritual music tool dating back to at least 18,000 BC – played an integral role on “Minningar úr undirheimum”, as did various percussion such as drums, bones, rocks, rattles, bells, horns, and my staff. Furthermore, I used both my voice and my guitar to conjure up the solidifying ambience which weaves together all three parts into one.
Draugurinn “Minningar úr undirheimum”
“Minningar úr undirheimum” will be available as of May 27, 2022. As is the norm with a Draugurinn release, this is more than just an album – it is a holistic package meant to be experienced in unison. The full-colour A5 digipak booklet features an ambitious art collection courtesy of Draugurinn herself: stunning paintings influenced and informed by findings from Neolithic and Mesolithic burial sites across Scandinavia.
When Draugurinn composed “Minningar úr undirheimum”, the original intention was to enact it as a live ritual on the vernal equinox of 2020 – at a combined art and music event commemorating the release of “Budet” by fellow Nordvis act Grift. However, due to restrictions in the wake of COVID-19, the gathering was cancelled. What is notable here is how all of Draugurinn’s public performances – of which there have been six since she started out in 2008 – are one of a kind. The music and accompanying aesthetics are specifically tailored for each event and then never reused. So, while the equinox celebration never materialised, the ritual lives on through “Minningar úr undirheimum”.
Release date: May 27, 2022
Formats: CD (Delayed due to manufacturing issues), Digital