From Iceland — Artist Playlist: Lift Off With Plútó

Artist Playlist: Lift Off With Plútó

Published September 3, 2019

Artist Playlist: Lift Off With Plútó
Hannah Jane Cohen
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Eleven-member DJ group Plútó comprise the most comprehensive knowledge tank of dance and electronic music in Iceland, essentially like an art collective, but without the pretentiousness. Here, five members of Plútó disclose their favourite Icelandic track.

Subterranean – My Style Is Freaky

Because I started out as a Hip Hop DJ in the mid 90s, I needed to pick a track that impacted me the most when I was a teenager. Subterranean were the MVPs at that time, bringing that deep, quality East Coast sound that was ruling the scene in those days. I chose that track from the album ‘Central Magnetizm’ even though the whole album is fantastic. Still relevant, IMO.

Gunni Ewok
Mind in Motion – Bonnie

A song that never got an official release, but was spread around via cassette copies of a copy of a copy and so on and now on YouTube. I was around 12-years-old at the time and was just getting into rave/hardcore music and was really blown away that there were Icelandic artists actually doing this kind of music. Thanks to people like Aggi Agzilla, Biogen, Thor and loads others, Iceland picked up on the UK rave scene and even had a great all-Icelandic hardcore compilation called ‘Icerave’ that everyone intrested in the history of Icelandic dance music should check out.

COLD – Strobe Light Network

It’s such an awesome track that builds slowly over 15 minutes and ends in euphoric bliss. I remember hearing this record as a kid and being blown away by its unique sound. Importantly, it played a part in placing Icelandic ambient/techno on an international stage, and laid the foundation for a classic catalog of Reykjavík-made techno in the late 90s. For those interested, check out the Thule Records catalog.

Sigur Rós – Ágætis Byrjun

Man, if there is ever a song that really captures the Icelandic spirit and lays it out over a simple but hypnotizingly beautiful groove that just goes on and on dragging you further into its mindscape. Made while Kjartan Sveinsson still had a lot to bring to their sound, this title song of their second album is a pure cleansing for the ears and mind. The ‘Heima’ version is where it’s at.
Recommended listening: While driving in Icelandic nature to watch the sounds come to life.
Not recommended listening: As an Icelandic expat in a foreign country. It is guaranteed to make you homesick.

Björk – Army Of Me

I remember seeing this song when I was eight years old on MTV and thinking that this song was amazing without even knowing it was Icelandic. I watched it probably everyday on MTV for a whole year, mesmerised by the video and the song. It opened me up to all kinds of music. It was totally different than thing I was listening to at that time and moved me in directions more towards electronic/alternative music.

For more information about Plútó, check out their Facebook. You can also read a previous Grapevine article on them here.

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