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The Scent Opera, a strange olfactory & music collaboration that dates back to 2009, is the first release on Bedroom Community’s HVALREKI digital-series. Written by Nico Muhly & Valgeir Sigurðsson for Green Aria: A Scent Opera. ‘An opera for your nose’ by Stewart Matthew and perfumer Christophe Laudamiel. Premiered at New York’s Guggenheim Museum in August 2009, this is the first time the recording has been released.

The opera’s premise is that a sequence of smells guides us through a oblique parable about industrialisation, through short episodic bursts of information. Some smells are dirty, like the rubber of a train in Paris, and others are classically blended harmonically well-rounded scents. Occasionally, a clean, neutral, pure sound arrives as a little flute-scented garden which should have the effect of clearing the chaos of the surrounding music (and, indeed, smells).

Nadia Sirota and Helgi Hrafn Jónsson join us as two of the essential voices that bind the narrative together. The multivalent collaboration yielded many surprising results: a 14-minute score that is funny, aggressive, shape-shifting, electronic, acoustic, and strange.


from Scent Opera, track released August 5, 2016
August 5, 2016
Scent Opera:
Composed by Nico Muhly & Valgeir Sigurðsson
Produced by Valgeir Sigurðsson
Orchestrated & Conducted by Nico Muhly

Engineered, Mixed & Mastered by Valgeir Sigurðsson at Greenhouse Studios, Reykjavík


Trombone, Vocals: Helgi Hrafn Jónsson
Solo Viola: Nadia Sirota
Solo Bass: Borgar Magnason
Marimba, Vibraphone, Tubafone: Frank Aarnink
Harp: Katie Buckley

Sif Tulinius
Pálína Árnadóttir
Ingrid Karlsdóttir
Una Sveinbjarnardóttir
Kristín Björg Ragnarsdóttir
Rósa Hrund Guðmundsdóttir
Hrafkell Orri Egilsson
Margrét Árnadóttir

Cello: Júlía Mogensen

Double Bass:
Borgar Magnason
Óttar Sæmundsen

Bass Clarinet: Snorri Heimisson

Kolbeinn Bjarnason
Melkorka Ólafsdóttir


Piano, Celesta, Dulcitone, Glockenspien, Percussion: Nico Muhly
Programming, Synth:Valgeir Sigurðsson

Artwork by Muriel McDonald

Nico Muhly published by St. Rose Music Publishing Co., Inc.
Valgeir Sigurðsson published by Faber Music Ltd.


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Nico Muhly New York

Nico Muhly is a composer of orchestral music, stage works and sacred music. His work for film includes scores for for The Reader and the BBC adaptation of Howards End. Recordings of his works have been released by Decca and Nonesuch, and he is part of the artist-run record label Bedroom Community, which released his first two albums, Speaks Volumes and Mothertongue. ... more

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