From ambient soundscapes to aggressive metal to spacious electronica to a Frank Ocean cover, here are the latest juicy fruits to fall from the branches of the giant, mythical Icelandic music tree. It’s time for another Grapevine Playlist.
Sacha Bernardson – Heat Wave (Rockall Japanese Edition)
Reykjavík-based Belgian Sacha Bernardson released his ambitious new album ‘Rockall’ in 2017. An eclectic mixture of electronica and pop, it’s a thrilling and creative listen. A Japanese edition followed in 2018, and included this largely instrumental ambient gem, streaming now on his Soundcloud. JR
PASHN – Warnings
PASHN are Ása Bjartmarz and Ragnhildur Veigarsdóttir, a simmering R&B duo you might recognise from the cover of our 2017 Iceland Airwaves magazine. Their new track ‘Warnings’ picks up the pace with a pounding 4×4 house rhythm and an echoing, catchy chorus. JR
Une Misère – Wounds
Une Misère always brings something unexpected to their hardcore, which is one of the things that makes the band so compelling. ‘Wounds’ is no exception—without the traditional hardcore vocals, the track is pure black metal. It’s a combo you wouldn’t expect to work, but damn, it works. HJC
JFDR – White Ferrari
JFDR has an Enya-were-she-cool aura that vibes pretty well in this Frank Ocean cover. With her emotive voice left bare, the song pleads at the listener; this viscerality gives the song a deeper layer that feels more profound than the original. Sorry, Frank. HJC
aYia – Sparkle
Electronica trio aYia continue to develop a style that’s all their own, mixing slow, spacious, catchy compositions with a welcome sense of imagination and creativity. In “Sparkle,” with gothic synth sounds that flex and wobble throughout, the production really shines. JR
Hildur – Water
Pop princess Hildur goes pure emotional ballad here. It’s a pretty standard one but still undeniably affecting. Think a little bit Birdy, a little bit Celine, a little bit modern musical and a dash of Eurovision. If that’s your thing, you won’t be disappointed. HJC
GKR – Geimvera
“Geimvera” marks a new direction for rapper GKR. The song is trappier and more toned down than the manic bangers he’s well known for. So if you like your songs with a touch of autotune and 808, give it a click. HJC
Read more about Icelandic music here.