Like six hidden people pirouetting out of a weird misty summer moss-scape, here are the latest mythical emergences from the Icelandic music scene in a brand new edition of Grapevine playlist.
ROKKY – deux
A bit like a less goth and silly Miss Kittin, Rokky presents a groovy electronic dance hit that’ll no doubt do well in the Berlin club scene. The video presents two simultaneous views of the singer—a rather literal interpretation of “deux,” sure, but one that’s done beautifully. HJC
East Of My Youth – By Blue
‘By Blue’ sounds eerily like a Lana Del Rey b-side. Soulful, harmonic, tragic and rife with Americana vocals, it’s the perfect holdout for those eagerly looking for a less-filled-with-Daddy-issues compliment to Miss Rey. This’ll cure our summertime sadness. HJC
Hildur & Teitur Magnússon – Mónika
A charmingly dulcet duet, ‘Mónika’ feels like the musical equivalent of a late summer evening. Magnusson’s soft, confidential voice is very beguiling and Icelandic has never sounded so beautiful, but it’s Hildur’s etherial tones that really carries the piece off. It’s surprisingly old-fashioned and so sweet it deserves a calorie count. Consume in pleasant moderation. FR
Gyðjan Uxi – Litli Selur
Part of an experimental R&B/ hip hop solo project by Aron Bjarklind, Litli Selur is mesmerizingly hypnotic, with heavily distorted vocals blending into the highly minimalist electronic backing. A beat keeps time in a lazy sort of way when it remembers, but the overall form, such as there is, comes mostly from the brutally stark pauses interspersed throughout. FR
Bára Gísladóttir – Orf
Composed by Bára Gísladóttir and performed by Marco Fusi on viola d’amore and Alessandro Perini on live electronics, ‘Orf’ is a typically surprising Bára piece. Scissor snips, rhythmic clicks, weird bangs, and barely-audible feedback are occasionally punctuated by hair-raisingly loud viola groans and screeches. Be afraid. JR
Sigur Rós – Svefn í englar (Live at Íslenska Óperan, 1999)
From the deep, rumbling intro to that first iconic sonar ping, the insistent organ melody, the groaning, soaring bowed guitar, and Jónsi’s glorious falsetto, the 20th anniversary release of ‘Ágætis Byrjun’ presents a welcome chance to bathe once more in the immersive, empathic sound that would make Sigur Rós an international phenomenon. What do we find? A light undimmed. JR
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