Hilary Hahn & Hauschka
Silfra, named for the geographic feature near Reykjavik, Iceland, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, represents the breathtaking locale where the album was recorded but also signifies the unfamiliar terrain where these two distinct musical minds met to collaborate. Spending ten days at Greenhouse Studios in Reykjavik in May 2011, "we felt that we could go anywhere we wanted within the music if we created it in an environment that allowed us the freedom and independence to explore," Hilary Hahn and Hauschka wrote in the album's liner notes. That prepared piano and violin could sound so perfectly suited is surely indicative of the musical chemistry that their groundwork and setting created. Ranging from the exotic to the serene and from the atmospheric to the playful, Silfra is comprised of 12 evocative, phenomenally intriguing tracks that span a breadth of emotions and styles. Their ambitious and innovative musical partnership began in early 2009. Hahn and Hauschka's paths crossed on a suggestion from a mutual friend, folk musician and Hauschka labelmate Tom Brosseau. "Tom had mentioned Volker more than once as someone I must meet," recalls Hahn, who appeared on Brosseau's 2007 Grand Forks album and performed on his subsequent release tour. "And Tom doesn't casually toss around ideas like that, so I paid attention." After a backstage introduction in Düsseldorf and a brief guest appearance onstage in San Francisco, Hahn and Bertelmann began to trade music and meet for free-form improvisation sessions. When they eventually arrived at Greenhouse Studios, they did so without set artistic intentions or musical sketches. In fact, they were not even committed to the idea of releasing the resulting music commercially. Their goal was to challenge themselves to find their musical voice as a duo, integrating the prevailing mood and their spontaneous impressions into their recordings. Hahn offers, "You're hearing exactly what evolved at the moment it came to life, in every second of this album. It was such a rewarding experience making the record that I get a little nostalgic when I hear it."