By Kira Grunenberg | Published February 2022
Anna Gréta’s Nightjar In The Northern Sky unfolds with the metamorphic diversity of a year’s seasons. The album’s opener, which is also the title track, seems primed for the increasing darkness of the autumn and winter seasons. Delicate brushstrokes that sound like bursts of light rain serve as the primary rudder for the meter and a sparse piano melody that’s intermittently minor in its tonality and mildly loose in its sustain and decay. It ushers forth the urge to find light and warmth, and to huddle. Conversely, on songs like “Ray Of Sun” and “Blue Streams,” Gréta’s dynamically light, gentle and crisp performance pairs with uptempo, major-key melodies and a drier vocal tone. These characteristics give the songs more sonic clarity and vibrance, which makes them seem, by contrast, like a natural companion for the energetic afternoons of spring or summer.
Much like the ever-changing colors of the enduring Northern lights, Gréta’s voice ties the album together. However, taking in the whole experience means traversing a wide chasm of creative change. A track like “Mountain” really accentuates the stylistic distanced traveled, as the audible drag of fingers against the metal winding of electric guitar strings feels miles away from the almost impressionistic musical aesthetic presented at the outset. Yet, by the finale “Carry Me Across The Sky,” the divergent emotional settings of the album converge in a song that is rich with tonal variety, harmonic expanse and percussive character — appearing to showcase the album’s complete seasonal character, in the last musical journey.
Nightjar In The Northern Sky: Nightjar In The Northern Sky; Ray Of Sun; Sleepless; The Tunnel; Blue Streams; Mountain; Falling Down; Like A River; Home; Waiting Never Ends; Guide The Way; Carry Me Across The Sky. (48:17)
Personnel: Anna Gréta, piano, keyboards, vocals; Skúli Sverrisson, bass; Einar Scheving, drums; Hilmar Jensson, guitar; Sigurður Flosason, saxophone; Johan Tengholm, bass; Ragnheiður Gröndal, backing vocals.
Ordering Info: actmusic.com