From Iceland — Grapevine New Music Picks: Bubbi Morthens, Ásgeir, Elín Hall & More

Grapevine New Music Picks: Bubbi Morthens, Ásgeir, Elín Hall & More

Published October 13, 2023

Grapevine New Music Picks: Bubbi Morthens, Ásgeir, Elín Hall & More
Photo by
Anna Maggý

We celebrate this Friday, like every Friday, with a brand new list of the best new Icelandic releases. We’ve also published a fresh new issue of the Reykjavík Grapevine floating around the streets of the capital. Our cover story this time around focuses on Iceland’s hidden society – immigrants, who are the backbone of the country’s economy. While you peruse the newly printed paper, have a listen to the following tracks. Oh, and if you want to stay on top of the best new Icelandic releases, check out our podcast 66 Degrees of Sound. New episodes are released following the week after a print issue. While you’re at it, subscribe to our playlist which compiles every track featured in our Friday roundups.

tatjana, Young Nazareth, Joey Christ – Gufunes
Released September 29

Starting out with a two-week-old track that totally escaped me during its release, “Gufunes” is a wonderful, moody electronic track. Gathering clubber tatjana (ex.girls), rapper Joey Christ, and producer Young Nazareth, this trio will make you pump your fist and start dancing before you can say ‘Prikið’. Referencing my old stomping grounds, I always knew it was a matter of time until Grafarvogur entered the cultural discourse. Go check this stuff out. JB

Ásgeir & Iceland Symphony Orchestra – Heimförin
Released October 6

It’s incredible how much of Ásgeir’s seminal 2012 debut album Dýrð í dauðaþögn, can be revisited and presented anew. 2013 saw the album released with English lyrics; in 2022, One Little Independent released a compilation of Ásgeir covers; 2023 has Ásgeir collaborating with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. For this year’s Iceland Airwaves, Ásgeir joins the ISO for a two-night performance of his work. In the build-up to the concert, they released “Heimförin”, an 11-year-old song off – you guessed it – Dýrð í dauðaþögn. It certainly shows the power and longevity of Ásgeir’s music. JB

Keli & EstHer – Gufunes
Released October 13

Wow, here’s another track about Gufunes. Seems to be the hottest place in town. A collaborative effort between artists Hrafnkell Örn Guðjónsson and Esther Þorvaldsdóttir, this track is off a compilation album released by the Intelligent Instruments Label. An offshoot of the interdisciplinary research laboratory Intelligent Instruments Lab (IIL), the forthcoming album features diverse artists. But there’s a catch. All of the songs feature a completely new musical instrument, the proto-Langspil. Developed by IIL, their newest musical creation is based on the traditional Icelandic langspil – imbued with electronic features. JB

Elín Hall & Una Torfa – Bankastræti
Released October 13

What happens when you get two extremely skilled songwriters and performers together in a room? Well for starters, you get an excellent pop song. Una Torfa and Elín Hall are names that need no introduction, having been very prevalent in Icelandic music these recent years. Now, they join forces on the recent “Bankastræti”. An exquisite production of alternative pop, featuring brass-like synth lines, and a date at Café Mokka. JB

Bubbi Morthens – Ljós og skuggar
Released October 13

Whatever your opinion on Bubbi Morthens, the man is perpetually adept at keeping himself relevant. By teaming up with young musicians, Bubbi is metaphorically able to drink from the fountain of youth. Here, Mr Morthens is joined by musicians Magnús Jóhann Ragnarsson and Hafsteinn Þráinsson (Ceasetone) to produce Bubbi’s 49th studio album. His writing inspirations for Ljós og skuggar (Light and shadows) include the opioid epidemic and climate change. Heavy stuff for a heavyweight of Icelandic music. JB

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