From Iceland — Straumur: Tarnished

Straumur: Tarnished

Published May 20, 2016

Straumur: Tarnished
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'Stories' album cover

Musical recycling is a long and enduring tradition, kept alive this month by a gem of a remix, Einar’s Indra treatment of the song “Pikaia” by Magnús Leifur Sveinsson (former member of indie band Úlpa). Einar Indra is an electronic musician who resides at one of Iceland’s premier electronic labels, Möller Records, and released an LP, ‘Stories’, this month. His remix of “Pikaia” features thick-sounding retro synth pads, glitchy microbeats reminiscent of Boards of Canada and massively chopped-up and manipulated vocal treatments. It starts out quiet and serene but gradually picks up steam when bigger sounds join the mix; by the end the drums have wandered off into drum’n’bass territory and an adjective like “majestic” becomes unavoidable.

Right on the heels of the remix, a cover came our way. The IDM outfit Worm Is Green, who hail from Akranes, put out a wonderful take on “Close to Me,” one of The Cure’s most enduring song, a classic that refuses to become a cliché. Singer Guðríður Ringsted brings an effortless devil-may-care girlish charm to the vocal melody, putting a new spin on some of the lines. The bottom is all deep synth bass grinding up against crisp drum breaks, and on top of it a densely layered soup of keyboards and twinkly synthesizers.

But we also managed to pick up some non-reworked material this month, in the form of tarnished rock duo Skrattar (Devils), who just last week released a four-track EP titled ‘Hellraiser II’. They mix together psych rock, 60s surf and a drum machine, with great results. The band also put out a video for the song “Good Day,” which follows the members on a wicked car ride through the city of Reyjavík. Skrattar are Karl Torsten Ställborn (Muck/Fufanu) and Guðlaugur Halldór Einarsson (Fufanu/russian.girls); ‘Hellraiser II’ is their second output and hopefully not their last.

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