In an exclusive interview with the Grapevine, Georg Hólm (Goggi) and Jón Þór Birgisson (Jónsi) deny persistent rumors that Kjartan Sveinsson—who has been with the band since 1998—quit Sigur Rós. The bandmates likewise dismiss as “fabrication” the stories published in the Icelandic media that an already-complete second album will follow-up their sixth release—Valtari, out May 28. These rumors have been running rife around Reykjavík for the past months, going as far as prominent music critic Dr. Gunni publishing them as fact on his website, before issuing a retraction. Jónsi does confirm, however, that Kjartan will not be playing with the band on their world tour this summer, which begins in Philadelphia at the end of July. The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RÚV) released an excerpt from an interview this afternoon wherein Kjartan himself confirms that he will be replaced on the upcoming tour by Ólafur Björn Ólafsson on keyboard and oboe, and Kjartan Dagur Hólm—younger brother of Georg and member of celebrated post-rockers For A Minor Reflection—on guitar. Regarding his bandmate’s decision to bypass the summer tour, Jónsi told the Grapevine that he suspects that Kjartan is “tired of touring,” and that he wants to “spend his time doing something else.” Georg adds that the time consumed by touring is “not necessarily the most productive,” and Jónsi agrees that time spent on tour is not very “creative.” Kjartan was, as per usual, involved in the making of the band’s forthcoming album, and no comments have been made regarding the lineup on the band’s impending 2013 tour. Read the full Sigur Rós interview in the Grapevine‘s newest issue. You can also read more of our online coverage about the new Sigur Rós LP, or our track-by-track sneak preview ofValtari.
Bárðarbunga caldera continues to subside at the same rate as before, roughly half a metre per day, reports the Institute of Earth Sciences. Large earthquakes are still being detected in the Bárðarbunga caldera, several with a magnitudes over 3, some over 5. The lava production at the currently active Holuhraun eruption continues to be strong. The lava flow is now around the centre of the lava field, which has grown to around 37 square kilometres. As reported, scientists in the field estimate that around 90% of the SO2 gas coming from the eruption originates in the active craters and only 10%
The outlook for hedge funds caught in Iceland’s $85 billion banking failure may be looking up, reports Bloomberg. The administrators overseeing claims against one of the three banks that defaulted in 2008, Glitnir Bank hf, say recent talks with a government committee indicate that it will now be easier to complete creditor settlements. “My impression is that the government had until now not been ready,” Steinunn Guðbjartsdóttir, head of Glitnir’s winding-up committee, told Bloomberg. “Now that they’ve got their processes in place, it will be possible to complete this sooner rather than later.” The main obstacle to repaying creditors has
The Icelandic Met Office predicts sulphur dioxide (SO2) gas from the Holuhraun eruption will move north and east over the next 24 hours. As can be seen, the Met Office has two maps for predicted areas where significant levels of SO2 will be present. Egilsstaðir and Reyðarfjörður are expected to be hit the hardest by the gas, which continues to pour out of the Holuhraun eruption site. However, levels of SO2 will vary from region to region, and even from hour to hour. A more detailed map allows one to see the forecast movement of SO2 concentrations through Tuesday. Simply
A former employee of the Office of the Special Prosecutor says the office tapped phones of suspects illegally. The Minister of Justice believes the matter needs to be investigated. In an interview with Fréttablaðið, former Special Prosecutor’s Office employee Jón Óttar Ólafsson said that the office listened in on illegal taps of phone conversations of clients and lawyers alike. Both the Special Prosecutor (shown above) and the State Prosecutor have dismissed the allegations as completely untrue. However, RÚV reports that Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson – serving in his capacity as acting Justice Minister – believes the matter warrants further
The Minister of Foreign Affairs has received some backlash over his decision to close the Icelandic International Development Agency. While the Agency will be absorbed by the Foreign Ministry, Vísir reports, the move is not without its critics. Minister of Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson told reporters for RÚV that when his office examined the best way to continue developmental aid, they came to the conclusion that the best strategy would be to bring the Agency into the Ministry. However, this contention is not supported by a report done on the subject for the Ministry in 2008, when Ingibjörg Sólrún
The water consumption of Icelanders is so high, it corresponds to each Icelander using about 200 litres of water each day, reports RÚV. According to the UN Water, about 50-100 litres of water is needed per day for personal use, meaning that Icelanders are using two times more water per day than is necessary. Comparatively, the water resources available to each Icelander is roughly 530.000 cubic metres where are as Norwegians, for example, have 80.000 m3 and Danes only 3000 m3. Water usage in Iceland has increased considerably over the past few years. The UN states that 85% of the world population