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Straumur: East Of My Berlin—Icelandic Synth Stars On The Move

Straumur: East Of My Berlin—Icelandic Synth Stars On The Move

Published October 9, 2017

Electro-pop duo East of My Youth have been making international rounds in the past years. In the middle of September they released a brand new song and video. The Berlin-based project is comprised of Thelma Marín Jónsdóttir and Herdís Stefánsdóttir, who earlier this year put out their first EP of glossy, expertly-produced songs. Their latest offering is a chic slice of Scandi-core electro-pop in the vein of Lykke Le, Robyn and Bat for Lashes. It has airy vocals, shimmering layers of synths, and a rhythmic structure that keeps on building for the duration of the song.

The video is beautifully shot and has four girls in red swimsuits with swimming caps doing choreographed dance routines on the side of an old-school swimming pool. The quirky colours and Wes Anderson-esque symmetry match the mood of the song perfectly. It was premiered on Clash Magazine and for the upcoming EP ‘EOMY,’ out in January 2018.

Talking about Icelanders in Berlin, one of the things we apparently missed in August was the release of ‘Swim,’ an EP by the one man band Laser Life, who we’ve mentioned before in this very column. The one man in question is Breki Steinn Mánason, a 25-year-old guitarist with roots in East Iceland, and hardcore rock acts such as Gunslinger. He now resides in Berlin where he studies electronic music production. On his first LP as Laser Life, Breki mixed the classical synth/organ antics of Apparat with the guitar hero leanings of Ratatat and naive melodies reminiscent of old Nintendo games, with impressive results.

On his latest six-song EP, the guitar doesn’t take the centre stage as much as on his last album, but gigantic layers of thick icy synths and complex beat programming steal the show. He even sings on one song, ‘Stundum’ (‘Sometimes’), a gorgeous and dreamy down-tempo electro-cut, that edges its way into your brain.

Our favorite cut though is strangely titled ‘Mogwai.’ Its repeated synth motif sounds both sci-fi and Bach-y—retro-futurism of the best kind. It reminds us of ‘Verdis Quo’ by peak-era Daft Punk. The EP is released as cassette which you can purchase through Laser Life’s Bandcamp site, or you can stream the album or buy it digitally.

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