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Hildur Guonadottir is The Reykjavik Grapevine - 2020: Artist Of The Year

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"Yeah, how do I explain it?" composer Hildur Guðnadóttir ponders aloud over the phone. She's currently in Berlin, sitting in her studio. "This year, just by complete accident, both projects that I worked on-the reception of them-went beyond my wildest dreams. It's been quite incredible."

The projects in question are two soundtracks: one for the HBO miniseries ‘Chernobyl' and the second for the Warner Brothers film ‘Joker.' Calling each work "acclaimed" would be an understatement-'Chernobyl' won Hildur an Emmy award and is currently nominated for a Grammy, while ‘Joker' nabbed a Golden Globe and is a favourite to take home an Academy Award.

No ego

That said, the two soundtracks could not be more stylistically different. For ‘Chernobyl,' Hildur, a classically trained cellist, gave her instrument a break and created a score almost entirely composed of non-instrumental sounds, most of which were recorded by Hildur inside an actual nuclear power plant.

"When you're doing film music you have to put your ego aside and be a servant of the story that's being told," she explains, referring to this non-traditional approach. "So even though I'm normally more comfortable with an instrument, I just felt that the story needed something else," she says. "it was quite an easy decision to make."    Photo by Timothée Lambrecq

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