Published September 24, 2014
The pouring rain in the past couple of weeks has made it painfully obvious: autumn is upon us. It’s the time of the year when it’s best to stay inside, curl up in a foetal position under a blanket and drink some hot cocoa. For that kind of non-activity you need a soundtrack. Here is ours.
Megas: “Tvær Stjörnur”
Autumn is a time for heartbreak if there ever was one, and “Tvær stjörnur,” a song about lost love and the inevitable passing of time, is Megas at his most romantic and bittersweet. Megas, whose vocals are usually raspy and indistinct, has never sung as beautifully in a traditional sense. The only instrumentation is bright jazzy piano chords, which follow his voice closely. Megas is Iceland’s provocative musical poet numero uno, but “Tvær Stjörnur” really shows off his sentimental side.
Sprengjuhöllin: “Verum í sambandi”
This song was one of the most popular hits in Iceland in the summer of 2007, but we’ve always thought it was far better suited for autumn. It begins with acoustic guitar strumming and the fragile and lonely sounding voice of Snorri Helgason. Then come soft drum fills and brass in a chorus which roughly translates to: “Now leaves fall from trees/forging a pale path/that I walk away from you/autumn is back again.” It’s an articulate tale of regret and romance gone wrong for complicated reasons.
Emiliana Torrini: “Nothing Brings Me Down”
If we were sent to a desert island in a state of continual autumn, ‘Fisherman’s Woman,’ Emilíana Torrini’s album from 2005, would probably be our desired soundtrack. The album’s opener consists of richly textured acoustic guitar riffs, Emilíana’s impeccable vocals and a smattering of piano. The sound and lyrics are so warm that you want to hug them. “Home alone and happy/nothing brings me down/Full of wine and steady/nothing brings me down.”
Mugison: “I’d Ask”
“She loves me/And I love her back.” What else do you need when darkness is taking over and the weather is getting worse by the day” “I’d Ask” appears on the 2004 album ‘Mugimama Is This Monkey Music,’ and it has a warm autumnal feel to it. “I pan, I peddle/Paperwork, chill” sings Mugison with a hint of uncertainty in his voice, the uncertainty that comes with winter.
M-Band’s recent album ‘Haust’ (“Autumn”) was almost entirely written two autumns ago. The title track perfectly captures the feel of fall and the coming of winter. It starts with acoustic instruments, develops into a beautiful harmony between synths and vocal, and ends with disarranged noise that leaves the listener with total emptiness.
Straumur has been active since last summer, with writers Óli Dóri and Davíð Roach documenting the local music scene and helping people discover new music at their website. It is associated with the radio show Straumur on X977, which Óli Dóri airs every Monday evening at 23:00.