From Iceland — Track By Track: Green Beans And Catfish Sprinkled With Ambient

Track By Track: Green Beans And Catfish Sprinkled With Ambient

Published September 6, 2022

Track By Track: Green Beans And Catfish Sprinkled With Ambient
Valur Grettisson
Photo by
Provided by Futuregrapher

The visionary tech-nerd and electro musical genius Futuregrapher has released not one, but two world class ambient and electronic albums. “Geirþjófsfjörður” (Fjord of Geirþjófur) and “Grænar Baunir” (green beans) may not seem the obvious choice of names for cutting-edge experimental electronic albums, but Futuregrapher is always full of surprises—even after two decades on the frontlines of the genre in Iceland. We asked Futuregrapher, a.k.a Árni Grétar, to walk us through the albums track by track.

Geirþjófsfjörður Released on Neotantra

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I’m sometimes lonely. I sometimes miss people/places when I’m writing a sad song. It’s only in the moment, so it’s not bringing me down afterwards. It’s good to miss something.

I always have strong feelings about the countryside in Iceland, but the name Gufudalur, might be translated as a steam valley in English. And my girl Perla was there also when she was young because her grandmother was working there. Magical place.

I love sleeping/dreaming. My dreams are vivid. And many times I sleep with music on and they help me to create the mood.

I believe I have a soul that lives in my body. My body is like a machine or a temple. And I believe our souls can travel without the body.

I have made many DX7 tracks and this is the longest. And it contains field recordings from the shore in Drangsnes where Tjaldur, the bird, comes visiting me. You hear him in the track.

Grænar Baunir Released on Móatún 7

Gular Baunir
My friend from the US laughed when he saw these in a can and it says ‘Yellow Beans’. “It’s just maize, man!” But those cans are vivid in my memory from my family kitchen in Móatún 7 in Tálknafjörður.

Beauty of Trill
Contains a sample of Worf talking to Jadzia Dax. Jadzia Dax was a joined Trill and I, like Worf, had a crush on her. I watch Star Trek every week.

When I was working in Þórsberg (a fishing factory) or as a seaman on a boat, my life was a catfish. It’s a song written for them—all the catfish.

Patreksfjörður DX7
It’s my other fjord. There is my family’s land, which I inherited from my mother. She grew up there. DX7 is one of my favourite synthesizers. I’ve had many throughout the years.

Ránargata 23
This is the place where my friend and mentor Bjössi “Biogen” lived. We had many great nights there. I miss him dearly, but I know he is here with us and he lives in our world with his music. That’s forever. I recorded this track when my brother Gunnar Smári was sleeping at my place. He was talking to my boy Jói and I just recorded this when they were chatting.

This was a piece written on the TX81Z synth. The title comes because I had just watched my team Arsenal beat Valencia in a European semi-final game and I recorded the track after it. Sometimes emotions and feelings are high after a sports match so it’s good to transform it into music or art.

S3200 Ghost
When you are working on a sample in a hardware sampler you begin to hear the ghost in the machine. The soul of the sample becomes alive. This is the title. My main sampler is Akai S3200 and this was recorded on it.

Grænar Baunir
My favourite. I can eat grænar baunir with a spoon. Great stuff. Important in my youth as a side dish with my mom’s steak. The artwork is an artistic ode to one of my favourite bands, Can.

Written after re-watching Star Trek DS9. Bajor was the homeworld of the Bajoran people and one of my favourite characters is Bajoran. I empathise with them in many ways.

Contains a sample taken from a radio interview with my great-grandfather Sveinn Jónsson where he and my great-grandmother were talking about elves and ghosts. He lived on the land I own now with my family. I never met him. But he loved Icelandic tobacco as I do.

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Skjaldborg Calling

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