Ólafsfjörður

A vinyl EP written and recorded in Iceland’s cold north

Situated just half a degree south of the Arctic Circle, the low peaks of this fjord are high enough to prevent the sun from rising all winter. A small town of just 800 residents exists there, thriving on the shell of an extinct fishing industry.

Passepartout Duo, Yannis Zhang, and Yumo Wu worked for nine weeks together in Ólafsfjörður, Iceland. The resulting album is informed by this special place in time, acting as both an encapsulation of their experiences in Iceland, and a requiem for the fishing industry in the North.

A collaboration between two musicians and two visual artists, the end result is an album containing four original tracks alongside cyanotype prints, inspired by this small fishing town during winter.

Produced in Beijing by AnyOne, Yannis Zhang and Yumo Wu’s arts organization, the 10” vinyl record features cyanotype prints inspired by Ólafsfjörður’s undersea inhabitants.

The work came to fruition during the four artists’ stay at Listhús residency. There, Yumo Wu created a “cyanotype diary” that used natural materials to measure the waning sunlight as the solstice approached. Taking the medium into this collaboration, Yumo created a series of five prints through fish X-rays.

Released December 21, 2018 

Music by Passepartout Duo
Nicoletta Favari: piano and keyboards
Christopher Salvito: drums and percussion
Album design and concept by AnyOne Workspace
Yumo Wu: cyanotype prints and original artworks
Yannis Zhang: album production

Special thanks to Alice Liu and Listhús / Skammdegi Festival, Teresa Cheung, and the Schär family / Bau 4.

Ólafsfjörður was recorded in January / February 2018 in Ólafsfjörður, Iceland and Altbüron, Switzerland.

Fish X-rays used in the artwork process were given courtesy of the Vancouver Aquarium.

Ólafsfjörður, in photos: