[artists] gydja

Releases on Afe:
Helchemy [afe116lcd]

On the web:

Abby Helasdottir has been creating music since 1995 under the name Gydja (an Old Norse word for "priestess").

Initially, the aim of the project was to create music that could be used for magickal and shamanic purposes.

Some of the earliest ideas involved using field recordings, and basing whole pieces on these sounds in a largely unprocessed way.

This is still a concern of Gydja, but with more emphasis now being placed on abstracting these sounds so that, whilst they retain a sense of their original source, they become something else entirely.

The current style of Gydja differs from the initial intentions of the project, with music of both a mundane and magickal nature being created.

And whilst the music is usually linear and could be defined as a soundscape, it is also not necessarily always dark ambient in style, embracing electro-acoustic and experimental techniques.

Works designed specifically for magickal use sit alongside explorations of sound for sound's sake; and in a third tier, some exploration of sound contain magickal themes, even if there is no practical magickal application intended.

The magickal side of Gydja often takes the form of dark ambient, and features in works such as "Rokkrsong" (1997), and "Liber Babalon" (2001).

The meditative intent of "Liber Babalon" is repeated in "Cold Seed" (2002), a single 79 minute of drifting cold ambience, created to assist meditations on the rune of Hagalaz.

At the intersection between magick and music, is a work like "Rivers…" (2002), in which the theme is a magickal one (the rivers that act as boundaries between worlds), but the music is more of a microscopic investigation of sound itself. Using techniques such as granular synthesis, samples of water and speech were broken down and then built up again into compositions of electronic tones and swashes.

"Consecrated Spring" (2003) is 3" MiniCD-R with four tracks that explore the "Rite of Spring" by Igor Stravinsky. A combination of neo-classical loops, dark ambient drones and textures, as well as moments of microsound intimacy, that, in part, recalls the pioneering work of Autopsia.

"Corpus Callosum" (Kolorform Records, 2004) is a four track collaboration between Gydja and Aidan Baker, with each artist creating audio interpretations of a scan of a brain in the process of switching between two activities. Each interpretation was then remixed by the other artist.

"Ma-mo Rbad Gtong" (Chmafu Records, 2005) is a collaboration with Austrian musician Marufura Fufunjiru, exploring the four orders of Wrathful Goddesses encountered by the soul in the Bardo Thödol, or Tibetan Book of the Dead.

"Umbilicus Maris" was released on Belgian label Mystery Sea in 2007. This set of five tracks explores the idea of gurges mirabilis that provide a gateway into the underworld.

"Machina Mundi" (2008) was released on the Gears of Sand label, this collection of tracks considers the theory of a deterministic universe and what happens when this paradigmatic clock stops working.

In addition to her work as Gydja, Abby is also involved with the performance art project Torture By Roses ("Sebastian/Salome" CD available from Mediatrix Publishing), and the militant industrial formation Clear Stream Temple ("XVI" CD out on Cold Spring Records)

Afe released her album "Helchemy" in October 2008.