The Grapevine Music Awards 2020 Shout Out award applauds two stellar projects this year. First off, we celebrate Halldór Eldjárn for his innovative approach to generative music and second, Hátiðni for their collective and Do It Together spirit in the production of their festival.
Shout Out: Halldór Eldjárn
When two seemingly opposite interests combine, the result is something out of this world. This year, programmer and musician Halldór Eldjárn—together with the help of his trusted computer and NASA’s infinite media library—gave us ‘Poco Apollo.’ To make the experimental album, the artist created a programming system that transformed pictures of the moon into musical notes, tones, and chords. The end result is Halldór’s interpretation of the sound of the moon.
“The system analyzes each image and looks for hardpoints in the picture,” Halldór explains. “So if there are certain changes in texture or colour, then the algorithm will set a point there.” The goal is then, as he emphasises, to “get the feelings out of the machine.”
“I’ve been a lunatic all my life,” he confesses, referring to his fascination of all things moon-related. This obsession led to him combing through NASA’s archives, where he became especially passionate about the release of the Apollo manned lunar landing mission photos in 2015. ”It was so fascinating when they released this library online of all the photos,” he says. “I always felt a really strong connection [to the moon landing], so getting to dive into the library of never-before-seen pictures was really fun for me.”
Shoot for the moon
Halldór admits to being a nostalgic person, he projects that nostalgia especially to 1969 moon landing and the movie “Apollo 13”, that he watched almost daily when he was a child. It was also at a young age that he started to dream of setting his own foot on Earth’s only natural satellite, he confesses to having not given up on the journey, promising to give the Grapevine the streaming right when he does.
In 2020, Halldór will participate in Reykjavík’s annual DesignMarch, where he will be working with generative plants in the basement of Ásmundarsalur. In the music department, he is planning to play some more gigs and continue working on a new album.
We interviewed Halldór before he was our Shout Out of the year, check it out here.
Shout Out: Hátíðni
In 2017, Post-dreifing member Snæbjörn Helgi Arnason Jack wanted to have a party, but his tiny, fruit fly-filed basement apartment proved to not be the most auspicious venue. Solution? Rent a community centre in the countryside, grab some friends, invite a few bands, and have fun.
“It ended up that only the bands showed up with a few people,” Snæbjörn reminisces, laughing. Nevertheless, it was at the fateful January soirée that the seeds were planted that would eventually flourish into the Hátiðni festival. In July 2019, the second iteration of the festival hosted a crowd of 300 in Borðeyri, cementing the Post-dreifing crew as party role models.
The beauty of Hátíðni—and the reason it garnered a Grapevine Music Awards Shout Out—comes from the modus operandi of the festival and of the Post-dreifing collective itself: Do It Together (D.I.T.).
“The way we view this festival is the same way we view every show, which is that the people are not just a passive audience but are active participants in the event,” explains fellow Post-dreifing-er Bjarni Daníel. “Everyone takes part. Random guests were doing the rounds in the campsites picking up trash or helping in the kitchen. Even though the music is great and the creative aspect is super important to all of us, the most important part is the community we’ve created collectively. That is what people will remember.”
The other pinnacles of Hátíðni are safeness and inclusivity. It’s an all-ages festival for those of all-incomes. While the ticket price was approximately 3,000 ISK, no one was turned away for being unable to pay. In fact, many chose to give more. Others resorted to, well, more creative means.
“A group of teenagers showed up from a nearby town. They only had coffee and were like, ‘We heard you needed coffee and we were wondering if we could use this to get into the festival,’” another member of the collective, Örlygur Steinar Arnalds, adds, laughing. “So then we had some coffee. It was a nice moment.”
“I’m getting goosebumps!” Snæbjörn says, thinking back to the many wholesome moments of the festival. He emphasises that while Post-dreifing did make some mistakes this iteration, they’re still learning, and hope that Hátíðni 2020 will be even better. “We want to be party role-models,” he concludes, though from where we’re sitting it seems they already are.
Here’s what happened when Grapevine was at the festival this summer.
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