One of the darkest and dullest months of every year is unquestionably February. But, rejoice! We now have something to look forward to: The Sónar Reykjavík Music Festival, set to blow up Harpa on February 12-14 (check out Grapevine’s special Sónar pullout in this very issue!). An impressive roaster of international and domestic acts is set to perform, with a wide focus on electronic music and multimedia projections.
The line-up’s good. We are psyched to see Norwegian space-disco maestro Todd Terje, who made one of our favorite albums of last year, ‘It’s Album Time’. And there’s more! We can all look forward to partaking in performances by folks like British electro act SBTRKT, American indie stalwarts TV On The Radio, PC Music enigma Sophie, and Skrillex with his maximalist dubstep stylings. Also performing are some of the strongest names on the domestic dance scene: M-Band, who in our opinion (and the Grapevine’s!) made the best Icelandic album of 2014, Tonik Ensemble, Samaris and Fufanu, to name but a few. Celebrating its third Reykjavík edition, Sónar has in a remarkably short time become on of the highlights of the annual musical calendar (to borrow a phrase).
More on festivals. Living legend Iggy Pop will return to Iceland this year, slated to perform at the embattled Icelandic edition of All Tomorrow’s Parties, which will take place in Ásbrú on July 2-4. We were lucky enough to see him play here in Reykjavík alongside The Stooges back in 2006, a show we’ll never forget. Pure raw power.
Lovely shoogazing dreampopsters Oyama just released a new song. Culled from last year’s début, “Another Day” is available as a free download on their Bandcamp site. The song itself is a hazy slowburner with interlocking male and female vocals and a larger than life echoing guitar riff that doubles as a chorus. The band will perform their first concert of 2015 at Húrra on February 6, playing with local indie band Tilbury.
Right at the beginning of the New Year, Reykjavík musician Stefán Páll Ívarsson (working under the alias MSTRO) released the first single of what will be his first LP, slated for release in late February. The song “So In Love With U” came accompanied by a video that was directed by the artist and his brother Magnús Thoroddsen Ívarsson. Both song and video have a fresh feel—MSTRO is definitely one to watch.
Local electronic wizard Anton Kaldal is set to release his first album as Tonik Ensemble on February 10 (he has previously gone by Tonik). The forthcoming ‘Snapshots’ is a colorful blend of electronic beats, live and electronic instruments and beautiful vocals. Check out the latest single “Imprints” with its brilliant underwater techno feel.
And oh yeah, Björk apparently released her new album—anybody heard about that? As many have mentioned: it’s Björk, and she can do no wrong. It’s a breakup album like nobody else would have made. The string arrangements alone are a majestic piece of work, always moving forwards and in circles around Björk’s force-of-nature voice, and the beats are minimal and glitchy. Opener “Stonemilker” sets the tone perfectly, managing to be close, intimate and grand in scope at the same time.
She’s still got it.
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