From Iceland — Straumur: High Quality House & Melting Hearts

Straumur: High Quality House & Melting Hearts

Published April 11, 2016

Straumur: High Quality House & Melting Hearts

The editorial board of Straumur travelled all the way to Ísafjörður over Easter to witness the always extremely chilled and awesome Aldrei Fór Ég Suður (I Never Went South) music festival. It was two nights of festive fun with loads of bands playing in an old storehouse down by the harbor, with beautiful gigantic mountains towering over both sides of the fjord. The bands were both new and old, local and Reykjavík-ian, so everybody got something for their taste.

Some of our favorite artists performing were atmospheric electronic composer Tonik; newcomer normcore rapper GKR; old-timers Risaeðlan (which coincidently translates as “Dinosaur”), who played Balkan-infused anarchic punk with sax and violins; and Emiliana Torrini, who melted our hearts like Greenland glaciers in the midst of global warming with an oh so delicate rendition of her classic song “Sunny Road.” Then Sykur closed the festival with monumental electronic power pop and invited a half a dozen audience members onstage for a dance session to their closing number and megahit, “Reykjavík,” for which songstress Agnes appropriately changed the lyrics from “Reykjavík þú vekur mig” (“Reykjavík You Wake Me Up”) to “Ísafjörður þú vekur mig.” Thank you Ísafjörður and Aldrei Fór Ég Suður!

Contradicting the the title of the music festival we’ve just finished reviewing, we go south from Ísafjörður to tell you about the Reykjavík musicians Halldór Ragnarsson and Sindri Már Sigfússon (Sin Fang), previously together in the band Seabear. They have a brand new musical project together called Spítali (“Hospital”). and last month released their first song under that moniker. The two friends say that they started to write house music jointly this winter, and the song “You” is first result of that collaboration. Mastered by electronic producer Oculus, and mixed by him and the band, “You” is a high-quality house number with a romantic ambience. It grinds and builds higher and higher over the course of its six minutes, with hard hitting drums, 80s-sounding synth pads and fractured vocal snippets that should hypnotize headphone listeners and late-night dance floors alike. Spítali also released a video for “You,” directed by Máni M. Sigfússon, that we encourage people to check out. It’s a dreamy concoction of aerial footage of big city skyscrapers at night interspersed with VHS-ish visual filters.

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