Samantha Shay is a multi-disciplinary artist, among other things, who’s been making waves since she arrived in Iceland from the U.S. a couple of years ago. Here are her picks from the festival lineup.
I saw her play at R6013 last spring and it was one of the most exciting concerts I’ve seen in Reykjavík in a while. The coalescing qualities of her experimental loops and beats, coupled with mystical and soft lyrics, creates a witch power that takes me to the higher realms. I am obsessed with her song “The Empress.”
Many artists abroad are aware of Sóley’s music, but right now she’s working on some ambient drone stuff that I’m so excited about. It seems like lately she’s just like YOLO and getting weirder and weirder—it’s as if the dark fairytale lyrics she’s always written are stretched out into these emotional sonic environments with powerful new sounds we haven’t heard from her. I hope she plays some new stuff at Airwaves.
I love this project from Katrín. It’s so clever—more than a music project, it feels like performance art. She is exploring an archetype of a hyper-privileged millennial. It’s brutally honest in a way I find admirable, and a breath of fresh air in the scene. Her first single “I Thought I’d Be More Famous By Now” captures this perfectly.
A few years ago all I listened to was Mr. Silla’s self-titled album as I walked through different cities, but I specifically remember walking through New York and Berlin. The glowy synths and playful rhythms made me feel like I had a crush on someone, or maybe had just had a break up, but everything was slow motion and romantic. Mr. Silla’s music has a sweet melancholy, and somehow through the way the music develops and emerges, there is a kind of ecstasy and revelation—and you are enveloped.
A few years ago, I met this wonder girl as she was making her first solo album. I was set to make a music video for her, so she sent me all the mixes. I was bowled over by the musical diversity, sophistication and subtle, durational way in which Jófríður lets her honesty and emotional interior emerge in her music. I knew this album “Brazil” would be extremely successful. Her new material is increasingly honest, unapologetically taking up more transgressive yet graceful space. A mix of soft guitar loops, dreamy jazzy vibes, and subterranean electronics that loom below her voice, and hyper-poetic lyrics that merely hint at a world beneath our skin. She’s low-key prolific.
Gyða Valtýsdóttir emerges from between the worlds. She’s like a creature transmitting her musings from the in between, without apology or pretension, just a subtle ease and divine power. Sometimes at her shows I wonder if we are just witnessing a spiritual transmission, but I guess thats music at its best. I could stay stuff about what she sounds like, but it doesn’t really matter, just see it for yourself.
Ugh. Her music is this kind of epic melancholy that emerges from the corners of a room into the centre, like a tunnel that dissolves into wide open space. Her music is a longing swell, a delicate dreamscape, a costume drama. Easy to subtly cry to on your headphones while you wait for a coffee in public.