MUSIC WRITTEN FOR AND INSPIRED BY THE HIT NETFLIX SERIES THE LAST KINGDOM AND UPCOMING FEATURE-LENGTH MOVIE SEVEN KINGS MUST DIE – DUE APRIL 14 2023.
Faroese electronic artist/throat singer and double Icelandic Music Prize winner Eivør, Emmy winner & Ivor Novello/BAFTA nominee John Lunn and composer Danny Saul (Shetland, Jamestown) will release a new album ‘The Last Kingdom – Destiny Is All’, featuring music created for and inspired by hit Netflix show The Last Kingdom (produced by Carnival Films, and one of the Top 20 Most Globally Streamed Series – with 10.4 billion streams – whose soundtracks have also been streamed over 22 million times to date). The new album – due for a Record Store Day release on April 22, 2023 – is comprised of music created for the soundtracks of the fourth and fifth seasons of The Last Kingdom, as well as new material which will debut during Seven Kings Must Die, a feature-length movie (also produced by Carnival Films) which will air later this year.
When John Lunn and Eivør first began working together back in 2015, they quickly discovered the kind of chemistry that leads to rarefied magic. Chosen for the formidable task of creating the soundtrack to The Last Kingdom – a wildly popular series set in Viking-ravaged 9th century England – the two musicians soon dreamed up a darkly hypnotic sound that draws from their singular musical gifts: the vast imagination and sophisticated musicianship Lunn has brought to his scoring work, and the otherworldly vocals and genre-warping artistry Eivør has infused into her nine acclaimed albums and spellbinding live show. In a continuation of their musical partnership, Lunn and Eivør are now set to deliver their most elaborately realised output yet—a full-length project expanding on their work for The Last Kingdom, resulting in an immersive album that inhabits a strangely enchanted world all its own.
As heard throughout The Last Kingdom’s five-season run—and on The Last Kingdom (Original Television Soundtrack), a 2018 release featuring music from the show’s first three seasons—Lunn, Saul, and Eivør’s collaboration has continually defied sonic convention. “On the show there’s a lot of epic battles and other moments you’d normally associate with orchestral music, but I wanted to do something new and different and focus on electronic instruments,” says Lunn. “I was looking for something to accompany that and saw a video of Eivør and her extraordinary throat singing, and she completely captured the energy that The Last Kingdom required.” An artist who’s endlessly mined inspiration from the dramatic landscape of her Nordic homeland—and who’s earned comparison to the legendary Kate Bush in the pages of MOJO—Eivør felt an immediate affinity for the source material. “Growing up in the Faroe Islands, I was always fascinated with the Vikings, so the series feels very close to my heart,” says Eivør, who also recently featured in God of War Ragnarök score and on the soundtrack to the hit video game. “It felt so natural to fit my singing into what John had come up with, and many of the lyrics I ended up writing were inspired by the old Nordic sagas that imprinted on me as a child.”
This dynamic is captured on album-opener ‘The Beloveds’, a slow-building yet frenetic track that encapsulates the moody intensity of ‘Destiny Is All’. It soundtracks a highly charged opening scene in Season Five of The Last Kingdom in which rogue female Viking Brida issues a call to war—a scene in which Eivør and Saul make cameos, leading the chants with her famous Nordic drum. “Our initial idea was for all the actors to sing the chant along with me, which meant I had to teach everyone to sing in Faroese. It was so powerful to be there with everyone with warpaint on our faces—it really felt like we were in ancient times.” Saul adds: “Working on the show I think we tend to inhabit that world mentally for many months on end, so finally stepping onto the set was a surreal, larger-than-life experience.”
‘The Beloveds’ centres on Eivør’s ominously chanted vocals, an element informed by her roots in Faroese folk music. “Those chants are very much a big part of my culture; it’s something I remember hearing my grandfather doing when I was younger,” she says. Eivør’s modern electronica and throat singing has long been deeply informed by the brutal beauty of the Faroes, since growing up in Syðrugøta, a tiny community on one of the northerly Faroe Islands, surrounded by the windswept North Atlantic. She immersed herself in music from 13, fronting a trip-hop band after discovering albums by Massive Attack and Portishead. Gigs soon followed, held afloat in rowing boats, in the pitch-black of a huge cave on the island of Hestur.
The winner of the 2022 Nordic Council Music Prize (which has been previously won by Björk), Eivør is part of a new wave of Nordic artists (alongside the likes of Wardruna and Heilung) rapidly building passionate international fan bases with music that honours their ancient cultural & musical folklore. At last count, Eivør’s music has been streamed over 93 million times.
Although Lunn and Saul mostly worked with analog synths in sculpting the musical foundation to ‘Destiny Is All’, they also experimented with such instruments as the kantele (a zither-like object used in traditional Finnish music) and the double bass (an instrument Lunn processed with distortion pedals to generate a particularly ferocious sound). Over the course of its 11 riveting tracks—including all-new recordings and reimagined arrangements of two essential tracks, fan-favourite ‘Lívstræōrir’ and the theme title to The Last Kingdom (The Return 2023) – ‘The Last Kingdom – Destiny Is All’ radiates a raw emotionality that ultimately transcends the confines of television, a testament to Lunn, Saul, and Eivør’s depth of connection to the music. Throughout the creation of ‘The Last Kingdom – Destiny Is All’, Lunn, Saul, and Eivør have followed their most experimental impulses and adorned their songs with unexpected details, such as the jazz-like textures and gorgeously eerie beats of ‘Blues For Halig’.
“This project has changed my approach to my music, and reconnected me with certain parts of myself that I may have left behind at some point,” says Eivør, who’s also incorporated songs from Destiny Is All into her live set. “I hope that the album helps The Last Kingdom come even more alive in the minds of people who love the series. I hope that in its own way, it can become part of the soundtrack to their lives.” Lunn, meanwhile, adds; “The Last Kingdom score IS Eivør, without Eivør there would be no unique score”.
More Info on Eivør
At 16 Eivør quit school, moving alone to Reykjavik to release her debut album and pursue classical singing training. She has since won the Icelandic Music Prize, twice – the first non-Icelandic artist to do so. The approval of contemporaries including John Grant and Ásgeir (who featured alongside Wardruna on her latest album ‘Segl’, produced by Land Del Ray collaborator Dan Heath), a move from Iceland to Copenhagen, and numerous sync spots across TV and film are all testament to the crossover appeal of her music.
Eivør made her commercial UK debut in 2016 with the widely-praised ‘Slør’, an English-language version of her 2015 album, whose Faroese lyrics she spent an 8-month period translating into English, alongside fully re-worked music. That release triggered her debut appearance on Later…..With Jools Holland, and Eivør’s music has also featured on the soundtracks for Hunger Games, Deep Water Horizon, Silence and Metal Gear Solid. Further collaborations with doom metallers Hamferõ, a stint playing Marilyn Monroe in an operatic production and fronting symphony orchestras – peg Eivør as a restlessly dynamic artist.