Poyekhali! / Let's go!


I have always been fascinated by old technology. It seems bizarre to us living in the digital age, that some of the biggest technological feats of mankind were achieved way before we had access to all the supercomputer processing power we now have. The first manned space flight of Soviet astronaut, Yuri Gagarin happened on this day - 12th of April - some 58 years ago. Thus Gagarin became the first human being in space and the first person to see the Earth from space.

My song ‘Poyekhali!’ celebrates this glorious moment and the lyrics are based on Gagarin’s communication with ground control during the flight, describing what he’s seeing and feeling in a blissful moment of insight. “Poyekhali!” is the famous word exclaimed by Gagarin just before take off and literary translates as “let’s go!”

The video created by film maker and space expert Christopher Riley, is based on footage from his beautiful experimental documentary ‘First Orbit’ which was filmed from the International Space Station (mostly by astronaut Paolo Nespoli) and recreates Gagarin’s orbit from his viewpoint. Enjoy the video below and have a happy Yuri’s day!

That Day when I sent Dave Gahan's voice through a homemade plate reverb from Bauhaus

My friend and electronic music master, Kurt Uenala, has a solo project called Null + Void. He asked me to do a string version, or remix, of one of the songs from his upcoming record, Cryosleep. I didn’t realise until he sent me the song, that it featured none other than Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode on vocals! A childhood hero of mine and I know a few people who worship him like God. Kurt has collaborated with Dave on various of his projects and has also contributed to some Depeche Mode records and occasional live sets.

So this turned out to be a big deal for me. I grabbed the opportunity when I had a string recording session booked for another project, and added an extra hour to sneak this project in. I quickly wrote out a 19th century saloon inspired string arrangement, which took the song in a very different direction (I was thinking about some kind of steam punk version) I added some slightly malfunctioning celestas and synths to it and treated the vocals. The most fun part for me was running Dave’s voice through this home made plate reverb that my brother Halldór built, using cheap material from Bauhaus, the hardware store. I admit that it was a kick, sending this incredible prestigious voice through the cheapest reverb ever made.

The remix was released alongside another fantastic remix, by another great hero of mine, Alva Noto. I added both of them to this playlist, along with another great remix by the Danish producer Kasper Bjørke and some related “bonus material.”

So there you have it. Dave Gahan’s beautiful singing, with strings, and through a Bauhaus reverb. Bela Lugosi is not quite dead!

Track credits:

Song by: Kurt Uenala, Dave Gahan

Violin: Una Sveinbjarnardóttir
Violin: Gunnhildur Daðadóttir
Viola: Guðrún Hrund Harðardóttir
Cello: Hrafnkell Orri Egilsson

Strings recorded by Kristinn Sturluson @ Sýrland Studio, Reykjavík
Mixed by Magnús Árni Øder


A few months back I had the honour of being featured in a brilliant little web documentary series called Impromptu, focusing on composers around the world. Being featured alongside my fellow Icelandic composers, Ólafur Arnalds and Hugi Guðmundsson, was a real honour, and I was even more thrilled when Missy Mazzoli, one of the most exciting composers working in and around the classical genre on the other side of the ocean.

Please take moment to follow Impromptu on Facebook and maybe even share with your friends?