From Iceland — French Masters Do Distortion Justice

French Masters Do Distortion Justice

French Masters Do Distortion Justice

Published August 23, 2017

Photo by
Nanna Dís

In our last column we wrote about ‘Take Me Down,’ the first single from the upcoming EP ‘Unravel,’ by electronic singer-songwriter Einar Indra. The EP is now out and it is his third release on Möller Records–one of Iceland’s premium electronic labels– and it definitely lives up to expectations. The first track, ‘Ripples,’ starts out with warm synth pads and the sound of flowing water, before Einar’s soothing voice, along with a handclap beat, joins the mix. Einar Indra has an ear for sound building, song writing- and structuring. His compositions are densely layered concoctions where elements of sound are gradually piled on. However, they are never overtly dense, with each element getting its own space within the song, and never turning into an unfocused muddle. You can listen to or buy the EP through Einar’s bandcamp/soundcloud/spotify pages.

We usually only write about Icelandic music, but this one time we’re gonna make an exception, because The Straumur editorial board just got back from a pilgrimage to Montreal—one of the Indie capitals of the world. We were there for the three day music festival, Osheaga, enjoying tons of excellence. Just during the first day we saw The Shins, Car Seat Headrest, Belle and Sebastian, MGMT, Justice and Lorde–all back-to-back. The Shins put on good show and Belle and Sebastian never disappoint, but what really stood out that night was the French distortion-maestro duo, Justice. Justice member Gaspard Augé possesses more rock in his pinky than most prominent rock bands of recent years have in their collective mass. He and his other half, Xavier de Rosnay, hammered synthesizers, guitars, mixers and whatever gadget they could lay their hands on, while the only things visible on the pitch black stage were their silhouettes, lit by a minimal backlight and huge neon crosses.

Nasally-voiced Detroit rapper Danny Brown also astounded us at the festival, with his boundless energy, and Nicolas Jaar’s live set proved that he is one of the most eclectic electronic musicians on the planet right now. But the lineup also included one Icelandic musician, Bjarki. His booming techno tracks have received widespread acclaim and have starred in sets by some of the most respected DJ’s in the world, such as Nina Kravitz. He was really good, but rather disappointingly scheduled at 2pm on a Sunday, which was kind of awkward. Other highlights were the punk-rappers Flatbush Zombies, San Francisco hippie hipsters Foxygen and South-African rave-aliens Die Antwoord.

Speaking of festivals, Iceland Airwaves just announced 33 more artists in its lineup, some of them among our favorite Icelandic acts, including Gusgus, Aron Can, TSS and Joey Christ. Bam!

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