From Iceland — Grapevine New Music Picks: BSÍ Video Premiere, Ólafur Arnalds and MIMRA

Grapevine New Music Picks: BSÍ Video Premiere, Ólafur Arnalds and MIMRA

Published March 29, 2022

Grapevine New Music Picks: BSÍ Video Premiere, Ólafur Arnalds and MIMRA
John Pearson
Photo by
Erlendur Sveinsson

This week we get a sneak peek at the striking new video from BSÍ which comes out tomorrow, some pure neo-classical class from Ólafur Arnalds, and a gorgeous album foretaster from MIMRA.

All these tracks—and so many more brought to you by The Grapevine over the past twelve months—are available in our New Music Picks 2021-22 playlist.

BSÍ​​ – “TAL 11”

The BSÍ track “TAL 11” isn’t new, appearing as it did on last year’s ‘Sometimes Depressed… But Always Antifascist’ album. However Erlendur Sveinsson’s video for the track—in which the band highlight a cause close to their hearts—is brand new. It’s released tomorrow, but we have a pre-release viewing for you.

It follows a Reykjavík family with young children through the routine of a standard day: the kids getting dressed, and brushing their teeth; a rainy bus ride, a visit to the dentist. But the cosy domestic mundanity depicted masks an unsettling truth for the family. They are Palestinian refugees who undertook a perilous journey to Iceland seeking safety, but have no idea if the authorities will allow them to stay or not. Any attempt at a normal family life is undermined by a gnawing uncertainty, the feel of which pervades both the track and the visuals.

A new bill to amend laws governing foreigners in Iceland, on which we reported last month, will be discussed in Parliament again soon. The current proposals will further reduce the possibility of Icelandic society being able to extend a helping hand to families in crisis such as this one, and have been broadly criticised by organisations such as The Red Cross and Amnesty International.

Ólafur Arnalds – “Drifter”

Piano Day is an international celebration of the instrument which takes place on the 88th day of every year, due the fact that a piano keyboard has 88 keys. This year that day falls on March 29th and—since Ólafur Arnalds would naturally make a contribution—today he released this gorgeous piece.

A slow, simple lament within which piano and strings call and respond to each other, its sadness seems to reflect our world at the moment. Yet somehow the feeling is, overall, still optimistic. Maybe music will save us after all.

MIMRA – “Finding Place”

MIMRA is the solo project of composer and vocalist María Magnúsdóttir, and “Finding Place” is a taster of her second album which comes out on Friday. The song is a lilting ballad which spirals around María’s pure and precise vocal, the sparse production allowing her voice to fill the space which it does quite comfortably. Horns and splashes of electronica punctuate the arrangement, and add some edge to the muted cyclical waltz-time keyboard motif. It’s evident that the album, also called ‘Finding Place’, will be well worth checking out.

The Icelandic Easter Box! How about it? Easter—that beautiful celebration of resurrection and the beginning of spring— is drawing closer. Icelanders love Easter, and particularly the part where chocolate is involved. As always, to keep supporting our journalism and getting some sweet perks, join our High Five Club today.

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