Published December 3, 2004
Mugison is one of Iceland’s most celebrated live musicians at the moment, and rightfully so. His live gigs at the Iceland Airwaves festival as well as the recent release party for his new full-length album have been energetic and quite simply a lot of good fun.
2001’s Lonely Mountain earned comparisons to everything from múm through classical singer/songwriters to country-music, The Beatles and things just plain weird. Mugimama is this monkey music? is no less diverse; on it we’ve got everything from filmic atmospheres to catchy refrains, manic groaning and groovy guitars. How he fits things together without losing focus is nothing short of a miracle. However, without in any way coming to his senses, Mugison’s matured. Mugimama is richer sounding, better looking and even more fun, which is what it’s essentially about.
But then again, Mugison’s music isn’t just schizophrenic rock attacks and getting intellectual about T&A. On highlights such as the duet “2 birds” or the magnificent “Salt”, he presents a more melancholic, poetic dimension to his creativity. “Salt” starts off with a reading of a simple but suggestive poem about a girl being drowned by her mother, recited over shy sounding guitar playing and brass. After a while, eastern flavoured strings take over; Mugison at his best and most beautifully absurd.
Mugison’s second full-length effort has got more of an acoustic feel to it than earlier works. And indeed, anyone who’s witnessed an unplugged Mugison gig will know that the songs stand well on their own, without electronic backup. That’s not to say that Mugimama is more simplistic than earlier accomplishments. Instead, she’s more organic and intimate, with more flesh on her than anything else that’s so far come out of the Mugiwomb.