From Iceland — Grapevine New Music Picks: UMBRA, Ultraflex and Inga Björk

Photo by
Lilja Birgisdóttir

It’s Easter! But before you go off and gorge yourself on chocolate eggs laid by rabbits or whatever, we definitely recommend checking out these new tracks from Icelandic artists. That’s right, we’re swapping New Music Friday for…Cool Music Wednesday? Sure, that’ll work.

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.

​​Ultraflex – “Baby”


Ultraflex’s new track ‘Baby’ takes you back in time. It’s almost like closing your eyes and travelling to a disco party sometime in the 1980s, with an aerobics-inspired outfit and possibly even rollerblades. The collaboration between Icelandic and Norwegian artists is a modern take on electro and disco pop from that era. The music video for the track deserves a special mention. It was filmed in Cairo, Egypt, a place that wouldn’t be traditionally associated with disco pop! IZ

Inga Björk – “Sólarlag”

This latest single from Inga Björk was released on Youtube only on the 8th of April. This sombre, soft lullaby remains true to its title: ‘Sólarlag’ (Sunset), and is suggestive of something peacefully coming to an end, without any regrets or anger. The lyrics come from a poem by Hannes Hafstein (1861-1922), the subject of which appears to be a personified sun with golden hair, described as happily floating around, before it finds its way to a ‘happy bed’. The minimalistic approach to instruments allows for the delicate nuances of the voices to take centre stage and to be appreciated fully. Inga works in music therapy, and Sólarlag truly reflects this influence. AP

UMBRA – “Stóðum tvö í túni”

Exciting days for Early Music nerds! UMBRA have released a new track from their upcoming album BJARGRÚNIR and it’s a medieval bop. ‘Stóðum tvö í túni’ is an old Icelandic folk song about a couple who sadly must be parted, saying farewell in a meadow. You know, usual folk stuff. Umbra’s arrangement begins with an a cappella verse before bringing in winding fiddle melodies, clarsach, and vocal harmonies. The resulting production is dark, foreboding and exhilarating. JG

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