This exquisite collaborative track comes from Antony and the Johnsons’ 2010 recording Swanlights. The track was originally composed in 2006 during the recording sessions for Björk’s album Volta which includes two duets with Antony Hegarty. In “Flétta”, Antony and Björk sing to actual Icelandic words and interweave vocal lines over Antony’s original piano song. As Björk explains:
We spent a few days singing together, and during that time he wrote a piano song that I sang over in gibberish Icelandic, you know, that hazy undefined scratch vocal you make when you’re coming up with a melody. […] But anyway, I was improvising over his piano track, coming up with a melody. After I went to bed, Antony stayed up all night, recording vocals and harmonising all my gibberish with these lush four part harmonies, effectively making a choir out of it. When I woke up in the morning, he told me he wanted to play me something. I was really honoured when I heard his work. And the track is great. It’s him singing in Icelandic, even if he has no idea what he’s singing about.
As Icelandic band Sigur Rós have done over the years with their trademark Hopelandic (or Vonlenska), Antony Hegarty and Björk come up with a track of absolute beauty, focusing exclusively on “the melodic and rhythmic elements of singing without the conceptual content of language”.
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