Track By Track: Laser Life’s ‘Polyhedron’ - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Track By Track: Laser Life’s ‘Polyhedron’

Track By Track: Laser Life’s ‘Polyhedron’

Published May 19, 2016

Hrefna Björg Gylfadóttir
Main photo by
Art Bicnick

Breki Steinn Mánason is the electronic mastermind behind Laser Life. He recently released his first album, ‘Polyhedron’, inspired by punk, post-rock, drum’n’bass and Nintendo.

Breki played guitar in a band a while ago. The band split up when members moved away. He didn’t create any music at all for about two years, but instead started to play indie video games. He found it interesting that what the games lacked in graphics, they made up for in great storylines and soundtracks. He became inspired and started learning about the technology behind the sounds of old console games.

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Breki says that when video game composers created soundtracks in earlier years, they had few channels to work with, because of the limited capabilities of their sound chips. Therefore, they used tricks like fast arpeggiators to make the music sound more complex. Breki used those same tricks in a multi-track recording environment, as well as recording guitar to introduce acoustic elements into the very electronic-sounding mix.

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“These old-school production methods struck a creative chord in my brain and I made a whole bunch of songs,” Breki says. I picked a few to work on further for my debut album. Then I started looking for someone to help me with the mixing. Curver Thoroddsen was nice enough to offer to help me out. I figured that my music lands somewhere in the middle between Ghostigital and Mínus so I was sure that working with Curver was the way to go. He did an amazing job!”

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Castle
This song has a chorus. Most of the other ones don’t, which makes it the pop track of the album. However, it is a little bit dark as well. When I was writing it I imagined running around in a scary castle. I still do when I listen to it now.

Nissan Sunny
“Nissan Sunny” is my favourite song to perform live. The guitar parts sound very heroic. The track is named after my car, a red 1995 Nissan Sunny with the license plate YR-522, which got stolen a few weeks ago, for the second time. This time I am starting to think I won’t be getting it back. If you know where it is please contact me!

Shark
The rhythm part of “Shark” is a sort of glitch-Aphex Twin type of beat with cosy feel-good synth lines on top. It is the happiest-sounding track of the album and my mom’s favourite. A guy once told me, after a show, that if my live set were a computer game, this track would be the underwater level. I agree with him.

Mindfuck
“Mindfuck” is the shortest track of the album and by far the most intense one. It has a weird time signature. I almost cut it from the album but I’m glad I didn’t because a lot of people really like it. Plus, some of my favourite albums of all time have at least one really short track so I wanted to do the same.

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Dazed And Focused
This track has a weird combination of an electronic music build and distorted guitar power chords, but I think the songs pulls it off. I grew up in Egilsstaðir in East Iceland so I drive the eight-hour haul a few times a year. This song reminds me of driving across the country and blasting music. I will most definitely do that this summer, if I get my car back.

End Of The World
This was the last song that I made for the album and currently my favourite, probably because it’s the newest one and the newest one is always the favourite. When I listen to it I imagine a world where the machines have taken over.

Third Dimension
This song is actually me trying to rip off a track by a musician named Richard Vreeland, who I later found out was trying to rip off a band called Boards of Canada. Therefore, this song is a ripoff of another ripoff, which I think is hilarious. The song has a Miri reference in it. Miri is a band from East Iceland and Curver produced their debut album as well, back in 2010.

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Dream Machine
This one is frenetic and full of chaos. It is also about the world ending. It has a drum’n’bass beat, explosions and a guitar solo. It is Curver’s son Hrafnkell’s favourite track of the album.

N̶̢͇͉̤͇͔̗̗͚̝̥͓̰͘͟S̵͍͕̦̕Ś̢̹̻͎Ņ̹͖̗̝̳̠̱͕̳̗̪̕͜ ͏̴̵̶͚͉̦͙͕̝̭͓̫̝̜̤S̢̹̳̦͈͙̱͈̦̩̜̣̲̯N̴͈͇̫̟̞̭̞͓͡͠͞N̸̵͉͕͇̲

 

The last song of the album came as a result of a good accident. As Curver and I were doing the final mixing of the album, Curver’s computer’s battery was running low and glitches came up in the songs. This track is actually created from a part of the song “Nissan Sunny,” only with lots of glitches. We thought it sounded good and decided to use it as an outro for the album. This one is my mom’s least favourite track.

For more on Breki, check out Laser Life’s website here.

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