The Húrra bar is a dark and cool kind of concert venue. Under the moody lighting, chatter and buzzing anticipation fills the air. Round tables and chairs are situated in front of the stage, which is completely bathed in red light, with a couple of speakers, a microphone, a laptop on a table, and a contrabass. The energy in the room along with the soothing red lights have me relaxing immediately. A few minutes pass. Then, Bára Gísladóttir walks onstage, picks up her contrabass and the room is instantly filled with a mass of sound. I can feel the deep bass rumbling in my heart. Bára gazes intensely into the crowd, her expression mirroring the raging darkness flowing from the bass. At other times it seems Bára has fallen into a trance, as she vaguely smiles and rocks back and forth with the music. The lighting accents her sharp and elvish features, making the music seem even more mystical and spooky. I continue to listen and let the music flow through my body (which is not hard at all, the deep tunes seem to fill up every corner and soul in the room). My mind flitters with tons of images: fighting against a snowstorm, tumbling rocks, a dystopian city infested by large ants. Maybe whalesong in the deep sea or the groaning metal of a shipwreck. For the hour-long concert, the crowd is completely silent, as if lulled into a meditative state by the steady droning of the mystical soundscape.
After the concert, and still a bit spellbound, I get the chance to meet Bára backstage and ask her about the ideas behind the music. I wonder about the inspiration for SILVA, and if there were any specific ideas or pictures Bára wanted to portray through the music. Yes, she tells me, the piece is in fact built on the concept of a downward growing forest. She explains how she was intrigued and inspired by the thought of life, which usually stretches up towards the light, to instead be reaching downwards and growing into the darkness. Hearing Bára describe this vision feels like a puzzle piece slipping into place, and I instantly picture a spooky forest growing from the ceilings of underground caves. I imagine it must be quite challenging for her to create and perform an hour-long piece like Silva. But when I ask Bára, it turns out she doesn’t really feel that way about it at all. She tells me that the long format just comes as second nature to her, now that she’s worked in it for such a long time. Although, she adds with a laugh, she does remember it being more stress-inducing at first, when she was just starting out. Bára is really friendly and nice to talk to, but I decide it’s time to ask her my last question about the record release. She tells me that two labels will be releasing the record together at midnight: Sono Luminus and ESP-Disk. Bára thinks this joint venture is pretty intriguing: on the one hand, she says, you have Sono Luminus, a very classical sort of label, and on the other, New York based ESP-Disk, a more avant-garde jazz kind of label. According to Bára it was really fun and unexpected for her, to have SILVA fall into that genre as well.