Album reviews: Hugar, Grace Cummings, Seamus O’Muineachain

Two ambient acts and an Australian folk singer are reviewed this week

Grace Cummings: a songwriter who favours assertion over acquiescence



Rift (XXIM/Sony)

The Reykjavik-based studio of duo Hugar (Bergur Þórisson and Pétur Jónsson) looks out over vast expanses of water, where winter snowfalls can be so heavy that they’ve sometimes been trapped there. No wonder, then, that their music is a mix of duvet-covered sound and ambient, modern classical treatments. It helps, of course, that they’re subliminally surrounded by Icelandic peers such as Ólafur Arnalds, Sigur Rós, Jóhann Jóhannsson and Björk (Þórisson is her stage director), but the clincher is Hugar’s imaginative weaving and coiling of aurora borealis-like soundscapes. ****