On "The Only Tune," a recent composition realized with both Sigurðsson and banjo player Sam Amidon (to be released on Muhly's next album), he recasts the text of "The Two Sisters," an old Appalachian murder ballad wherein a drowned girl's body gets carved into a violin.
"I came across it because my parents sang it when I was growing up," Muhly says. "But there is so much about it that's great. Primarily, the notion of the body-as-instrument—and then also the terror of that line, 'The miller fished her out with his long, long hook.' It's quite beautiful and scary." The end result sounds like a mash-up between Will Oldham and Steve Reich, folky yet orchestral, down-home and dizzying. For both Muhly and Sigurðsson, the thrill comes in capturing such extremes in a single frame.
NICO MUHLYandVALGEIR SIGURðSSONperform onSATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29,at theSOUTHERN THEATER; 612.340.1125