Like waking up with nine extra arms that have been tidying up your house and doing your taxes while you were asleep, here are the nine new tracks from the Icelandic music scene that caught our attention—for better, or for worse—this month.
Hrím – Ástarnetið
This first release from Hrím is deeply atmospheric, with soaring vocals and an edgy build which, while not quite delivering on its promise, is still darkly satisfying. Marrying traditional folk singing with electronic beats and synthy goodness is a tried and tested recipe. They’re definitely not to be missed at Airwaves this year. JG
Countess Malaise – Veskið Mitt
Countess Malaise is back with her particular brand of relentless, atonal trip hop, accompanied by a music video featuring her running around a dystopian, video-game version of Iceland. “Veskið Mitt” is the song you want to hear when you finally hit the club after day drinking in this ridiculous weather. JG
Janus Rasmussen – 14
A lethargic and chilled house track from Janus Rasmussen, one half of breakout house-pop-techno duo Kiasmos. It’s a slow burner, only really gaining depth and momentum in the second half. But that doesn’t really matter—the value is in the journey. This track is on part two of a remix EP series, slated for release on August 23rd. Part one is out now. FR
SiGRÚN – Exhale Your Song
If Biophilia is your favourite Björk era, “Exhale Your Song” will not disappoint. Dark, pounding, haunting and at all times unexpected, it’ll either make you relive your days as a latex-clad witch shaman, or look over your shoulder to see if one is following you. HJC
Sideproject – sandinista release party / ætli fara godmode
Post-dreifing is a thriving subset of the new Icelandic music scene. One of its mainstays is sideproject, a seemingly renewable resource of surprising, playful, mischievous ADHD electronica. With a powerfully effervescent thrust and an eccentric aesthetic, these 19 tracks barrel along like a Mad Max franken-vehicle, zig-zagging wildly, barely under control. JR
Bára Gísladóttir – The Worlds Within Our Petty Voids
I don’t like it, as such, but there’s no denying the genius of this pathologically disturbing track. It sounds like a microphone has been dropped into a hornets nest which is then torched with dragonfire, but somehow even more traumatic than that. I can’t really imagine a context where this would be appropriate listening, but find one anyway. It’s genuinely brilliant. FR
Biggi Hilmars – Ephemeral Dream
Lurking somewhere between Steve Reich and a nature documentary soundtrack, ‘Ephemeral Dream’ has gushing, ebullient chords and suspiciously electronic-sounding choirs. It doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny, but add David Attenborough expounding on the tenacity of the blue-footed booby and you’ve got a winner. FR
Eydis Evensen – Stormasamt Kvöld
It’s not the most interesting piece, and violin and piano has… been done before. Nevertheless, there’s an undeniable charm to this work, helped by an arty but slightly smug monochrome video of NYC. It’s a fun, if forgettable, listen. Put it on while working on something absorbing, and the time will fly by. FR
Flavor Fox – Coroner
Perfectly formed, perfectly forgettable pop/rock. 2003 called, they want their vibe back. That said… well. It’s totally fine. Like bread. Or beige. Or an episode of Friends you’ve seen five times. JG
Read about more new Icelandic music here.
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