Friday, July 25, 2014

From the Land of the Ice and Snow

Hello there!
I've been neglecting this blog for a while, and I refuse to feel guilty about it because I was having too much fun. My aunts came to visit, and we took them on a big tour around the state. We went to the most beautiful mountains and rivers and lakes that we knew of, all in succession.
They just left this morning, and I'm going to need a day off to recover from it all.

So here I am in front of my laptop at a stupid-early hour of the morning and I'm going to share some of my favorite things in the world- Icelandic bands. 

I am in love with Iceland. Their culture is so peaceful and creative, and their music scene is phenomenal. For a country of only 300,000 people, Iceland is loaded with artists.


So, without further ado, here are my favorite musicians from Iceland, in no particular order:

Björk

My love for Björk is no secret, and I share this love with thousands of others.
Björk is the most successful musician to come out of Iceland, and was named in Rolling Stone's top 100 female musicians of all time.

She's a pretty big deal.

But the best part of it all is that her music is so wierd. It's not the type of music that you would see on a top 40 chart, but it's widely loved and listened to.

It gives me hope in humanity that Björk is so popular. 

If, by any chance, you haven't heard any of her music, this is one of my favorites:




Sigur Rós


Sugur Rós is another popular band from Iceland.
They are the best post-rock band ever, in my opinion, and their ethereal sounds are like none other. 

Jónsi (my hero, you know) is the front man, singing in his angelic falsetto while playing away at the beautifully haunting bow-guitar. 
The sound they create is simple, filling your ears and dancing you through every emotion that you have, song by song. 

Sadly, Sigur Rós is frequently discarded as background music (like their most popular song, Hoppipolla, made popular by being featured in "We Bought a Zoo"). I don't understand this, because how could you not pay attention to this?




Amiina


Amiina started as an orchestral quartet in the 90s, and has evolved dramatically since then. Now, their music implements every instrument you can think of, including my favorite, the theremin
Their music is pretty similar to that of Sigur Rós, but it takes the whole "ethereal ghost-sounds" in a different, happier direction (not to say that Sigur Rós isn't happy, this is just more so).

Most of their songs are instrumental, with throbbing synthetic beats and gentle violin weaving in and out of their wide spectrum of ghostly sounds. And when they do sing, it fits perfectly with their sound- the singers are gentle, featuring perfect harmonies and wonderfully visual lyrics. Listening to their music is a great stress reliever and mind-clearer.





Múm


Múm is awesome, all around. They are a big band, consisting of about 8 people (more or less). 
They've been together since the year I was born, and the band members are always changing. Their music never stops morphing to new, unheard of territories.  

Over the years, they have created so many albums to explore and so many awesome works of art to appreciate. 

It's very hard to classify múm in a specific genre, but I would say that they are like an experimental electronic-folk. 

Needless to say, their music is weird. But I love it so much. (I've probably posted about them once a week on this blog.) 






Ólafur Arnalds


This man is beautiful. His music is like a glimpse into his mind, and it is remarkable.

Ólafur Arnalds is a contemporary composer and producer, who primarily writes scores for movies.

But, like Sigúr Ros, it is very hard to overlook his music when you hear it in the background of a movie.
He has won Oscars for his work, and has produced a plethora of albums. My favorite album is Living Room Songs, which showcases his extraordinary musical talent in a very unique way. He composed, recorded, and published a new song every day for a week, all done in his living room. 

What resulted was a masterpiece. The songs are breathtaking, and you can hear his piano pedals creaking in the background. I love it.





Pascal Pinon


First, I must mention that these two sisters (twins, actually) are only 18 years old. And they already have two self-produced albums released.

They are simply incredible. Their lyrics show wisdom beyond their years, and their obvious musical talent is hard to imagine coming out of 18 year olds. 

Their music makes me happy. Their newest album, "Twosomeness" is the perfect soundtrack to my life since I stumbled upon it a few months ago. It's got everything that I love in an album- great lyrics, perfect sound, incredible imagery, and a slide-whistle solo. What else could you ask for?





Samaris


HOLY HELL, Samaris.
I've been saving the best for last, let me tell you.
.... Okay, I can't say best because, I mean, look at everyone else who is on this list.
But man, are these guys phenomenal.

The main singer is half of Pascal Pinon. That's right- she's 18 and in not one, but two fantastic bands. 

I need to meet her and be her best friend right, exactly, right now.

But I digress. Samaris is a trio featuring clarinet, synth beats, and old Norse poetry. I dare you to get any cooler that that. 
(I posted about them here if you want to hear more ranting about their awesomeness).

I just can't words. Listen:





So there you have it! And now you have plenty of new music to keep you content for a long time.
I highly encourage you to delve into the never-ending realm of Icelandic music. You will not be disappointed, I promise. 

2 comments:

  1. Good to discover another fan of Icelandic music! I've heard all of the acts you mentioned (and seen most of them live) and have written about them several times in my blog.

    I've been a huge fan of both Pascal Pinon and Samaris, starting in 2009 when I happened to catch them at Iceland Airwaves. If you'd like to read some of my impressions concerning them (as well as videos, interviews and reviews) you can check out what I've posted here:

    http://flippistarchives.blogspot.com/search?q=pascal+pinon

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  2. This is so cool! I've only ever heard of Bjork but I'm gonna listen to all the rest of these now! ahh! new music!!!

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