Pétur og Úlfurinn started their set with a long minimal drone intro, later layered with smokey vocals. A solid song with minimum compositional effort but works perfectly. Sadly this was also the best song of their set. This bands forte is be in the realm of texture since the only instruments are a vintage organ and a guitar that they created their sound-scape with but all was somewhat ruined by the pre-set beat programs such as ‘samba beat’ and the like that were questionable at best but usually downright annoying.
The interesting thing about Arnljótur was how he sometimes sounded like he was losing control of the whole thing but managed to come down on his both feet. It’s like a drunk-style Kung-Fu scene, the fighter looks like he might be in trouble but really he’s just kicking ass. On occasion his sound could stand to have a little more substantial to it but those moments were rare. Often enough he hit the sonic sweet spot to convince every one in there that he had everything under control. He was simply kicking ass.
Vindva Mei are the sort of veterans in electronica that continue to surprise at every turn. They started their set with confident driving beats and juicy bass lines that made you either wanna do the hustle or headbang. Towards the end of their set, everything went crazy. Selvhenter, the following act came on stage joining them in chaotic pandemonium of brass with pedals and two drumkits while Rúnar Magnússon of Vindva Mei screamed for dear life until they packed their gear and left the stage while Selvhenter assaulted on. They then proceeded to deliver a monster show that was easily the highlight of the night. In short their delivery of both sound and performance was airtight. Jazz turned to metal and metal to incomprehensible sonic war that sometimes got honed down to a perfect rhythmic dronealicioussnes. What a mix of genres! What masterful presentation! What a great show!
I have to take my hat off for the curators of this night. After all this ruthless raw sonic assault I was getting ready to relax a little, and that’s were Stereo Hypnosis come in. Masters of smooth. At times the bass ventured a bit out of proportion but it didn’t hurt. In fact it tingled nicely on the skin while a well crafted melody lingered playfully in the still aching eardrums. Refreshed and energised we were ready for Reptilicus.
Anyone who claims to know anything about Icelandic experimental electronic music is lying if he doesn’t know this band. They are the veterans that all the other veterans are influenced by. And despite a somewhat of a rough start, they took us all on a journey through the land of drone. And in that land we felt the beat trembling in the soles of our feet, on our skin and in our hair. When the set ended I realised I hadn’t taken a single breath.
Evil Madness & Jóhann Jóhannsson are another set of veterans. They have about twenty years of experimental noise experience and now they wanna give people a chance to dance. Put on some white rimmed sunglasses and air hump along to the beat while winking at the chicks. “Italian seventies horror film soundtrack” someone utters and hurries to the bathroom. Probably to do some blow. Comes back and buys a couple of shots for the ladies and continues the thrust. He is never going to stop and we don’t want him to.
Hunk of a Man is a beautiful man with a sensational sex appeal to match the music he plays. Where the coke fiend thrusts for Evil Madness he now grinds for Hunk of a Man. We all grind for the Hunk of a Man.
The sound guy did a fantastic job. Bands like these are bound to throw a some sonic curve balls but Sveinn Halldórsson hit them all with confidence and delivered smooth and balanced sound enjoyed by all.