Óskar Þór Argrímsson—who performs as Z—is one of Reykjavík’s most eclectic DJs. His sets can contain anything from unfamiliar Eastern scales to brass band renditions, cover versions of classics, oddball curios and futuristic electronica. We asked him to line up a few of his all-time favourite Icelandic tracks.
Stonemilker – Björk
I hadn’t listened to Björk for a long time and found ‘Vulnicura’ when flying home from South Africa. I’d been travelling for 30-odd hours, and was at a weird place in my life. I ended up listening to this song on repeat, finding emotions that I had been escaping for years. The nice lady next to me handed over some tissues that came with her gin and tonic because my eyes were leaking. I will never forget how Björk spoke to my soul on that flight.
Bacalau – ADHD
ADHD is a phenomenon that I’ll never understand—and really don’t want to. To come close to understanding, you need to experience them live. They’ll take you on a journey unlike any other. Last time I saw them I had an out of body experience the whole time. I went from seeing colours not known to men, to a tractor driving in the Highlands in a blizzard. This song is somewhere in the mystic middle.
Ellý og Vilhjálmur Vilhjálms – Vegir Liggja til Allra Átta
There’s something in the drum groove of this song that’s so pleasing. Then, it breaks down to a violin and bass and everything becomes foggy. When we return to the song, Ellý comes on again. There have never been two voices that compliment each other so well. The perfect road trip song.
Megas & Spilverk Þjóðanna – Heimspekilegar Vangaveltur Um Þjóðfélagsstöðu
I’m not sure why there isn’t a statue of Megas in Reykjavík. It’s hard to pick just one of his songs, because they’re all so good. My friend, Siggi, and I often ended up after a long night listening to the album this one is from. It paints a beautiful picture of the darker side of Reykjavík, and gives life to the people on the streets.
Hildur Guðnadóttir – Pump Room
Hildur Guðnadóttir has become my favourite composer of the last few years. This song was made for the TV series ‘Chernobyl.’ I read somewhere that she sampled sounds from a nuclear power plant in Lithuania. She’s so clever in manipulating sound. I’ve listened to this album on repeat since I watched the show, and it has taken on a life on its own in my head.
Ben Frost – Venter
I have no clue what Ben Frost is saying with his songs—all I know is he always seems to please a strange part in me. This is my “get your shit together” song. Somehow there are no limits—the gods have an open line to you, and everything is possible. It’s like the Icelandic winter, dark and cold.
Æla – Your Head Is My Ground
Aggressive, strange and vulnerable is probably the best way to describe Æla. They’re my all time favorite live band, and they used to go berserk everywhere they went. There was something so charming about a man that started most shows in a tuxedo, got violently drunk, fell off his chair a few times and ended up in a snow white dress. I hope that they start playing again—the world needs more Æla.
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