The lighthouse stands alone off the beaten path, transmitting a message out across the ocean.
Sometimes, musicians seem to play a similar role: a message is being projected out into the environment, without any guarantee that it will reach its destination.
It is impossible to say who will receive it, or to which uses it will be put. Still, the only option is to keep on transmitting the message.
Originally a string quartet formed by four girls at the Reykjavík College of Music just before the turn of the century, amiina went on to cut its teeth as Sigur Rós' string collaborators for the next decade. After releasing debut album Kurr and several EPs, the group's sonic palette was broadened by the contributions of drummer Magnús Trygvason Eliassen and electronic artist Kippi Kaninus who have been permanent members of the group since late 2009. They released their second full length album, Puzzle, in 2010.
About 4 years ago amiina, then a four-piece band, set out on a journey across Iceland performing in lighthouses and other unusual locations. The music had been written especially for performances in small spaces, and in great proximity to the audience. The inspiration behind the journey came the first time the band performed in a lighthouse. A man in the audience described how he had experienced the music in those surroundings: Standing on the top floor of the lighthouse, he had felt the music travel up through the structure and out across the ocean, as if the lighthouse were now projecting music instead of light.
The group set off in a big van packed with instruments, accompanied by a photographer, one spouse, one newborn baby and another about to be born, and together they drove over rugged roads, seemingly to the end of the world, to perform music.
The songs were a mix of old and new, little nocturnes in simple arrangements. Among them was a cover of Lee Hazlewood's “Leather and Lace”. amiina had previously collaborated with Lee only weeks before him passing away, on a song that ended up being his last recording. On the flip side was amiina’s arrangement, and cover, of “Leather and Lace”. The simple arrangement of the song fitted perfectly with the other songs and the spirit of the Lighthouse Project.
Late last year amiina decided to visit the Lighthouse Project again, to record these songs in their original arrangements, and give the music the prospect to travel out and across forever. The band felt it was important to convey the intimacy of the original performances, so the songs were recorded “live” in the studio, as if at a concert.