Straumur: Joyful Dark Love - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Straumur: Joyful Dark Love

Straumur: Joyful Dark Love

Published March 15, 2017

Another month, another collaboration from Sin Fang, múm’s Örvar Smárason, and their Morr labelmate Sóley. After January’s “Random Haiku Generator,” they released a new track, “Love Will Leave You Cold,” at the end of last month. It’s a beautiful piano-driven song, equally melancholic and hopeful, perfect for the cold winter nights of March in Iceland (particularly for those suffering from a heartache).

Dark-wave electro trio aYia floored us last September with their first official release, “Water Plant.” Since then they’ve been declared “Band To Watch” by this prestigious publication, and their most recent song sure has us watching. You might even say we’re staring with our ears. aYia’s “Ruins” starts with low drum thump gradually upping tempo and volume until the first vocal line, and then the bass drops. Not a drop in the Skrillex way—more of a subdued, darkly menacing bassline of the kind that the likes of Trentemöller have been know to produce. Then ghostly whispering vocals are layered atop of the beat; the ethereality is palpable as the song builds to a twist where the vocals are taken to a satanic extreme: “You dye your hair in hiding colours child. Bone liquid. Been all day, been all day,“ the scrambled voice sings, before everything returns to a 4/4 thump and clattering percussion and atmospheric synth stabs rise and fall for the remainder of the song. It’s Scandinavian electronic dark-wave with an extra twist that you can’t quite put your finger on—but its presence is unmistakable.

Hermigervill has long been one of the mainstays of the Icelandic electronic scene and his latest venture, the song “Solitaire,” is the most joyful thing we’ve heard this year. The synths are bright and sparkly and the melodies hop around from brain cell to brain cell screaming at the muscles in your face to smile. The beat is micro and skittering and some of the synths sound liquid enough for your eardrums to swim in. The prestigious Belgian label Eskimo Recordings is putting out the song, alongside a roster including space disco maestros Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas, and Aeroplane.

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