There's some Icelandic magic to Yagya's style of atmospheric dub techno: steady undercurrents of echoing dark bass give way to the sound of rain and crickets, composerly flourishes of piano and synth arcs, each harmonic detail painting an ethereal northern soundscape.
A member of the Thule Musik collective, a label emblematic of Iceland's underground minimal techno movement in the late '90s and early '00s, he formed duo Sanasol with label co-founder Thor (often called “the Godfather of Icelandic Techno.”) A former computer science student at the University of Iceland and software developer, Yagya turned to making emotion-driven music—nature sounds, piano and all—entirely by computer. Taking dub techno as his blueprint, Guðmundsson has developed an amplified ambient approach with enriched melodies and a resonant emotional core, adding glitch, field recordings and fuzzed out crowd noises to round his tracks into mood-driven organic experiences. His recently remastered Rigning offers a slow burn of long dubby grooves coated in the meditative sound of rain and synth thunder, while later releases brought in sounds of spring and a hypnotic piano. Yagya's latest travels deeper and faster into cinematic atmospheres, resolute and driving or awash in extended fuzzed out chords.
Live, Yagya builds his soundscapes like stories, drawing audiences into their mood-shifting depths. From a springtime Resident Advisor curated stage at Sónar Reykjavík 2018, to the heat of this year's closing program at MUTEK, Yagya's rhythmic ambient magic stands out in enchanted dub-inclined sets.