Straumur: Autotuned Crooning & Organic Machines - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Straumur: Autotuned Crooning & Organic Machines

Straumur: Autotuned Crooning & Organic Machines

Published March 29, 2017

Photos by
Nanna Dis

Everybody’s favorite autotune teenage crooner, Aron Can, just released the first single from his debut LP, ‘ÍNÓTT’ (“TONIGHT,” in English), expected to drop later this year. The song “Fullir Vasar” (“Deep Pockets”), is a melancholic banger about romantic love and selling drugs in the after-hours. In the video, the aforementioned Aron strolls around a huge penthouse with a view all over Reykjavík, while lamenting all the hard work and long hours he has to put up with to fill those deep pockets. Not to mention his constantly ringing phone. No wonder: Aron Can’s mixtape, which came out last year, contained the most streamed song in Iceland in 2016, “Enginn Mórall,” which racked up almost million plays on Spotify.

This month also saw the release of a six-song EP, ‘Ljóstillífun’ (“Photosynthesis”), by Icelandic electronic musician Án, aka Elvar S. Júlíusson. It combines minimalist neo-classical piano compositions with rumbling bass and all sorts of scrambled noises, resulting in beautiful headphone soundscapes reminiscent of ambient-techno maestro Jon Hopkins. There’s an abundance of melodies on the album, often more subdued than grand, gradually morphing and bleeding into each other. It’s highly functional music that gets your brain moving without screaming loudly for your full attention, so it seems like an ideal enhancer for other creative endeavors.

Jófríður Ákadóttir just released her debut solo LP, ‘Brazil’, under the moniker JFDR. Some kind of a wunderkind, Jófríður was first noted for the band Pascal Pinon—a duo with her twin sister—at only fourteen years of age. Since than, she has gained international attention with Samaris, and the Icelandic sort-of-supergroup Gangly. Her first solo offering is unlike anything she has made before—or anything that‘s going on right now, for that matter. The texture is electronic, yet organically produced, like beautiful flowers growing out of old decaying machines.

“Higher State” starts with a lullaby piano and Jófríður’s delicate voice, than all of a sudden, a wave of a scrambled radio signal washes over the track, threatening to take over, before receding like an ocean wave. Her voice has grown in both range and emotion—it’s both fragile and unbreakable, and can tower over a track, or supplement the music. It might be the best thing she’s recorded. At the very least, it’s a very strong LP, and will probably end up among the year’s best Icelandic albums.

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