From Iceland — Grapevine New Music Picks: Tómas R. Einarsson, Drengurinn Fengurinn & More

Grapevine New Music Picks: Tómas R. Einarsson, Drengurinn Fengurinn & More

Published December 29, 2023

Grapevine New Music Picks: Tómas R. Einarsson, Drengurinn Fengurinn & More
Photo by
Timothée Lambrecq

Welcome to the Grapevine’s last new music Friday roundup of the year. This time around, we’ve managed to steer entirely clear of holiday music, instead focusing on those souls deciding to release music during a turbulent season. We’re looking forward to covering new music next year. Don’t miss out on the 2024 Grapevine’s Music Awards, announced in the new year. Until then, follow our Spotify playlist and Icelandic music podcast, 66 Degrees Of Sound!

Tómas R. Einarsson – Shade of Blue
Released December 18

Musician Tómas R. Einarsson has long surpassed the status of legend. A pioneer in bringing Latin music to Iceland, Tómas has lived an adventurous life, as chronicled in his biography released before Christmas. In addition to his book, Tómas dropped his latest album Shade of Blue, which includes two tracks featuring the late, great Chet Baker. The songs in question were recorded during a concert in Reykjavík in 1985. Shade of Blue is a wonderful jazz album that will definitely lower your blood pressure between holiday meals. JB

Drengurinn Fengurinn – Engin ábyrgð
Released December 29
This has really been Drengurinn Fengurinn’s year. The Akureyri local has accomplished the impressive feat of releasing no more than 28 full-length albums in 2023 alone. Engin ábyrgð is his 28th, following a recipe similar to his previous works. An eclectic collection of disparate tracks and influences, Drengurinn Fengurinn’s oeuvre is perhaps most remarkable for his dedication to putting his work out there. JB

Aves feat. JFDR – Hunting Points
Released December 15

Finnish electronic trio Aves recently employed the services of Icelandic artist Jófríður Ákadóttir – moniker JFDR. “Hunting Points” is a positively upbeat track, featuring all the sounds which constitute a good electronic track. Arpeggiated synths, breathy vocals, dramatic chord progressions. You name it. Aves got it and JFDR brought it. JB

Eydís Kvaran – Lampinn
Released December 29

Following the series of releases by research group Intelligent Instruments Lab, “Lampinn” is the latest track where select artists discover and improvise with their latest invention, the proto-langspil. Here, Ólafur Kram’s Eydís Kvaran tests the limits of the brand-new instrument, resulting in a cacophony of droning and feedback loops. It’s almost 13 minutes long, so strap in for avant-garde goodness. JB

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