From Iceland — Grapevine Playlist: Wood/Work, Commander, Svartidauði, Sólveig Matthildur, Hugar & More!

Grapevine Playlist: Wood/Work, Commander, Svartidauði, Sólveig Matthildur, Hugar & More!

Published November 21, 2018

Grapevine Playlist: Wood/Work, Commander, Svartidauði, Sólveig Matthildur, Hugar & More!

Very much like a torrent of aurora glimpsed through the clouds, rippling the surface of our planet’s atmosphere like a pebble dropping into a puddle, here are the latest majestic plumes to erupt from the wonderous geysir we call the Icelandic music scene.

Ingibjörg Turchi – Wood/work
This intriguing release slipped by us upon its initial release, but we’re happy to have found it. Ingibjörg Turchi—known primarily as Iceland’s most kick-ass bass player—has released a startlingly beautiful, warm instrumental solo EP called ‘Wood/work.’ It hovers dreamily somewhere between gentle analogue post-rock and improvised composition. Check it out on Bandcamp now. JR

Commander – Blöðrusynthi
The Commander project is an unusual turn for Gunnlaugur Lárusson. “Blöðrusynthi” is the opening track off his debut solo, ‘Stephen’—a mesmerising soft techno outing that evokes 90s-era Carl Craig in its subtle mastery. You can dance to it or nap to it. Isn’t that most of what we want out of life? The entire album deserves a run-through; it’s a consistent, multifaceted, beautiful work. SP

Svartidauði – Burning Worlds of Excrement 
Just when you thought Svartidauði had retreated to the shadows, they’re back after a long hiatus with some fresh nightmare fuel. While the name might indicate otherwise, ‘Burning Worlds of Excrement’ is anything but a flaming pile of shit. The title actually refers to the Hebrew concept, and the song is just as apotheotic. Vile, uncomfortable, dissonant—it’s Svartidauði at their most awful, or rather, their most awe-inspiring. HJC

bagdad brothers – Brian Eno Says: Quit Your Job
On the opposite end of the spectrum you’ll find the halcyon good-time guitar-pop of bagdad brothers, who are fomenting a return for dreamy indie music. After the recent torrential downpour of Icelandic rap and RnB, it’s nice to hear something with a feel-good quality, for a change. JR

Árni Vil – Sides (trumpet edit)
The eccentric former frontman of FM Belfast, Árni Vil, has turned solo, and released two videos for the same song. There’s a vital difference though—one version was without the saxophone solo. How considerate of him. The song is like a Jim Jarmusch vision of the “krútt” generation, riding horses in the Highlands of Iceland, fighting off lonely elves and bitter trolls. See it live at Airwaves. VG

Sólveig Matthildur – Dystopian Boy
As Kælan Mikla blow up internationally, Sólveig Matthildur is also finding time to develop her solo project. “Dystopian Boy” is her first English language track and it’s her most catchy yet, bringing some guitars into the mix above the trademark electronic drums, synth pulses and Sólveig’s deep, powerful, one-off voice. JR

Hugar – Saga 
‘Saga’ by Hugar will sit well with fans of Ólafur Arnalds and the more muted Sigur Rós material. It’s a glossily produced instrumental composition with rainy-day brass, subtle string arrangements and a cinematic video by Máni Sigfússon. JR

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