Sigur Rós

Let’s talk about one of the greatest exponents of Post Rock and its exquisite collection, is an Icelandic post-rock band from Reykjavík, active since 1994. Known for their ethereal sound, frontman Jónsi’s falsetto vocals, and their use of bowed guitar, the band’s music incorporates classical and minimal aesthetic elements.

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Sigur Rós – Dvergmál (ffm.to)

About

1997–1998: Von and Von brigði

Main articles: Von (album) and Von brigði

Jón Þór “Jónsi” Birgisson (guitar and vocals), Georg Hólm (bass) and Ágúst Ævar Gunnarsson (drums) formed the group in Reykjavík in January 1994. The band’s name means Victory Rose. They took their name from Jónsi’s younger sister Sigurrós, who was born a few days before the band was formed. They soon won a record deal with the local Sugarcubes-owned record label Bad Taste, because they thought the falsetto vocals would appeal to teenage girls. In 1997, they released Von (pronounced [vɔːn], meaning “hope”) and in 1998 a remix collection named Von brigði ([vɔːn ˈprɪɣðɪ]). This name is also Icelandic wordplay: Vonbrigði means “disappointment”, but Von brigði means “variations on Von“. The band was joined by Kjartan Sveinsson on keyboards in 1998. He is the only member of Sigur Rós with musical training, and has contributed most of the orchestral and string arrangements for their later work.

1999–2001: Ágætis byrjun

Main article: Ágætis byrjun

International acclaim came with 1999’s Ágætis byrjun ([ˈaʊ̯kaɪ̯tɪs ˈpɪrjʏn] “A Good Beginning”). The album’s reputation spread by word of mouth over the following two years. Soon critics worldwide were praising it effusively, and the band was playing support to established acts such as Radiohead.

Three songs, “Ágætis byrjun”, “Svefn-g-englar“, and a live take, from a summer 2000 concert in Denmark, of the then-unreleased “Njósnavélin” (later ‘unnamed’ “Untitled #4”) appeared in the Cameron Crowe film Vanilla Sky. The former two also subsequently appeared in the US version of the television series Queer as Folk. Their music has also appeared in the TV series 24 with “Ný batterí”, and CSI with “Svefn-g-englar”. In 2004, Wes Anderson used “Starálfur” in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou as did the Emmy-winning 2005 TV film The Girl in the Café. In Enki Bilal‘s Immortel (Ad Vitam) the song “Hjartað hamast (bamm bamm bamm)” is used. The song “Svefn-g-englar” was also used on V on 24 November 2009, and features prominently in Café de Flore released in 2011.

After the release of Ágætis byrjun, the band became well known for Jónsi’s signature style of reverb accentuated guitar work using a cello‘s bow.

2001–2004: 

Main article: 

In 2001, Sigur Rós christened their newly completed studio by recording an EP titled Rímur with an Icelandic fisherman named Steindór Andersen. The EP contains six songs, all of which feature Steindór Andersen reciting traditional Icelandic rímur poetry. Sigur Rós accompany him on three songs. Two songs feature Steindór alone. The last song on the EP, “Lækurinn”, is a duet with Sigurður Sigurðarson. A thousand copies of the EP were printed and sold during the spring tour of 2001. The EP was sold in a blank-white-paper case. In 2001 the band toured in Canada, performing at Massey Hall in Toronto in September.

Drummer Ágúst left the band after the recording of Ágætis byrjun and was replaced by Orri Páll Dýrason. In 2002, their highly anticipated follow-up album  was released. Upon release all tracks on the album were untitled, though the band later published song names on their website. All of the lyrics on  are sung in Vonlenska, also known as Hopelandic, a language without semantic meaning, which resembles the phonology of the Icelandic language. It has also been said that the listener is supposed to interpret their own meanings of the lyrics which can then be written in the blank pages in the album booklet.

In 2002, the band also wrote an original score for the Bodyscript dance production by Wayne McGregor Random Dance in collaboration with Sadler’s Wells Theatre and the Arts Council England.

Sigur Rós collaborated with Radiohead in October 2003 to compose music for Merce Cunningham‘s dance piece Split Sides; Sigur Rós’s three tracks were released on the March 2004 EP Ba Ba Ti Ki Di Do. Radiohead’s contribution was not commercially released. Sigur Rós’ 1997 debut album Von found a US and UK release in October 2004.

“Untitled 3” (a.k.a. Samskeyti) from the album is used on the video 6AM by film maker Carmen Vidal, winner of the 2006 Student Academy Award. “Untitled 3” is also used at the end credits of the indie drama movie, Mysterious Skin. It can also be heard in Skins and CSI: Miami and the British TV Documentary Protecting Our Children as well as during a section of the London 2012 summer Olympics on the BBC. “Untitled 4” from the album (also called “Njósnavélin”) featured in the final scene of Vanilla Sky, and director Cameron Crowe commented, “We struggled to find an appropriate track to end the film with and then I went to see Sigur Rós perform in Los Angeles and they played this song, “Njósnavélin”, that was just perfect. I had to have it.” This track is also featured on Canadian TV series Orphan Black in episode 10 of season 3.

2005–2006: Takk…

Main article: Takk…Sigur Rós performing in Barcelona, 2005 Sigur Rós performing in Hong Kong, on 7 April 2006.

Their fourth album, Takk… ([ˈtʰaʰk]; “Thanks…”) employs the distinctive sound of their second album in a more rock oriented structure with greater use of the guitar, and was released in September 2005. “Hoppípolla” ([ˈhɔʰpiˌpʰɔtl̥a] “Hopping into puddles”), the second official single from Takk…, was released in November alongside a new studio remake of “Hafsól” ([ˈhafsoʊ̯l] “Ocean Sun”), a song that was previously released on the band’s 1997 debut, Von. “Hoppípolla” was used in the trailers for the BBC’s natural history series Planet Earth in 2006, as well as the closing credits for the 2006 FA Cup finalITV‘s coverage of the 2006 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, advertisements for the BBC’s coverage of England games during the 2006 FIFA World Cup, on television advertisements for RTÉ‘s Gaelic games coverage in Ireland, and on an advertisement for Oxfam. It was also used in the final scene of the movie Penelope, for the trailer of the film Children of Men and for the trailer of the film Slumdog Millionaire. Following this, demand for the single grew. It was made more widely available by EMI in consequence. This song is also used in the trailer for the Disney movie Earth as well as in the 2011 film We Bought a Zoo. Whilst it does not appear on the Films soundtrack Album, it is also featured in Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga.

An extended Sæglópur EP ([ˈsaɪ̯ˌkloʊ̯pʏr]) was released in July 2006 in most parts of the world and in August in the United States. Its original release was scheduled in May, but because of the sudden demand of “Hoppípolla” it was pushed back from that date. Sigur Rós recorded three new songs to appear on the EP (“Refur”, “Ó friður”, and “Kafari”). In July 2006, Sigur Rós finished a major world tour with stops in Europe, the United States (where they played a headline show at the Hollywood Bowl), CanadaAustraliaNew ZealandHong Kong and Japan. Upon return to their homeland, Sigur Rós provided a series of free surprise outdoor concerts throughout Iceland in July and August, playing in various venues such as abandoned bunkers and community coffee shops, all of which were included in the 2007 documentary film Heima. They also performed twice in the United States in February.

2007: Heima and Hvarf/Heim

Main articles: Heima and Hvarf/HeimAt UCLA in 2008, playing an acoustic set before screening Heima

In August 2007, a limited DVD+CD edition of the 2002 soundtrack to the documentary Hlemmur was released. Hvarf/Heim ([ˈkʰvarf], [ˈhɛɪ̯m]) was released on 5 November (6 November in the U.S.), a double compilation album containing studio versions of previously unreleased songs — “Salka” [ˈsalka], “Hljómalind” [ˈ l̥joʊ̯maˌlɪnt] (formerly known as “Rokklagið”), “Í Gær” [i ˈcaɪ̯r] and “Von” on Hvarf, and acoustic studio versions of the songs: “Samskeyti” ([ˈsamˌscɛɪ̯tɪ]), “Starálfur” [ˈstarˌaʊ̯lvʏr], “Vaka” [ˈvaːka], “Ágætis Byrjun”, “Heysátan” [ˈhɛɪ̯saʊ̯tan] and “Von”, on Heim. On the same day (20 November in the U.S.) Heima, a live DVD of the previous summer’s Iceland tour, was released. Just prior to the release of Hvarf/Heim, on 29 October, a single named “Hljómalind” was released.

The 2007 feature-length documentary from Sigur Rós’s summer tour in Iceland, which occurred in 2006, attempts to shed light on the band’s homeland. Therefore, the film is called “Heima“, which means “at home”. In the movie, the band members express their interpretation of “Iceland”. The film revolves around three main elements; the band playing live, the Icelandic nature shaping their music, along with interviews, where they tell the viewers what it was like to play at home in addition to sharing their overall experience of the tour.

To promote their film Heima, the band scheduled a series of premiere screenings throughout the world, featuring a short acoustic set before the film and a question-and-answer session afterwards.

2008: Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

Main article: Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

The band’s fifth regular studio album (pronounced [mɛð sʏð i ˈeiːrʏm vɪð ˈspɪːlʏm ˈɛntaløyst], “with a buzz in our ears we play endlessly”), recorded with producer Flood in downtown Reykjavík, was released in June 2008 to generally positive reviews. Stylistically different from their earlier releases, it featured fewer strings and more guitar, and had more pop-oriented songs, making it “the group’s most accessible effort” while maintaining the “majestic beauty that defines the band’s music.” The final track “All Alright” is the band’s first to be sung in English, though all the other lyrics are in Icelandic.Sigur Rós performing in Bournemouth, United Kingdom, 2008

The band were announced as a headlining act for the 2008 Splendour in the Grass Festival in Byron Bay, Australia Latitude Festival 2008, and the 2008 La Route du Rock Festival in St Malo, France. In addition, the band performed a late-night set at the 2008 Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, where they blew a speaker at the end of their second song. Jónsi Birgisson commented, “The piano is exploding, I think,” one of the few things spoken in English.

The band released the first song from the album titled “Gobbledigook” for free on their website, along with a music video.

On 8 June, the whole album was made available for free streaming on their website and Last.fm.

In autumn 2008 Sigur Rós embarked on a world tour supporting their newly released album. The band played as a four-piece without Amiina and the brass band, the first time the band had played as a four-piece in seven years. The tour started on 17 September 2008 in the United States, at the United Palace Theater in New York City, and finished with a concert in Reykjavík at Laugardalshöll on 23 November 2008. The majority of the tour was European with the exception of concerts in the United States, Australia, Canada and Japan.

The track “Festival” from the album features in the score of the 2010 film 127 Hours, providing the euphoric backing to the climax of the movie. It is also featured at the end of HBO mini-series “24/7 – Flyers-Rangers”.

The track “Untitled #7 (Dauðalagið)” was also featured in the launch trailer for Dead Space (2008 video game).

2009–2012: Hiatus, InniValtari

In 2009, Jónsi embarked on a solo adventure with his first solo album “Go” (released in 2010).

On 28 May 2009, Sigur Rós announced that they had almost completed recording their latest album. The band said the album was taking form as a slower and more ambient record than both Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust and Takk…. The music was also described as melodic but much less noisy and more “out there” than previous albums. The unnamed album was expected to be released sometime in 2010. However, the band later revealed that the recordings had been scrapped. In a 2010 interview, Jónsi confirmed “We haven’t got another album ready”, he said. “It was just a rumour. We started to record something, but then we chucked it all away. So I think we are going to have to start it all again”. Without further word on the new album, Sigur Rós were rumoured to be on indefinite hiatus as of January 2010. However, before taking the stage at Coachella in April 2010, Jónsi commented that Sigur Rós would be getting back to work that year: “I’m gonna record some other stuff with Sigur Rós when I’m home”, between a series of shows during his solo tour in summer 2010. On 1 February 2011, Jónsi’s official website announced that he would be back in the studio with the band over the spring.

On 11 August 2011 Sigur Rós’s official website unveiled a trailer for a project called Inní, a DVD and double CD of the band’s live performances in London, directed by Vincent Morisset. It was screened at the 68th Venice International Film Festival, and saw official release in November 2011. On 16 September 2011, the Inni album and live video became available to pre-order from the band’s site in a variety of formats. Additionally, the band made the video for the song “Festival” available to watch online, as well as offering a free download of the audio from a live performance of the song.

On 3 November 2011, following the UK premiere of Inni at the British Film Institute in London, the band members participated in a Q&A session during which Georg promised that 2012 would be a “very busy” year for Sigur Rós. The band hinted at a new album and tour in the second half of 2012. The Q&A session was curtailed when a stage light began to emit smoke and the room was evacuated.

After a four-year hiatus, an interview with the band in the March 2012 issue of Q magazine confirmed the completion of a new album, titled Valtari, scheduling its release on 28 May 2012. On 26 March 2012, the band released the first official single from the album, “Ekki múkk.” On 14 April 2012, a lower quality version of the complete album leaked out on the internet. On 10 May 2012, Sigur Rós’s new track “Dauðalogn” was premiered on “The Departed“, the season 3 finale of The Vampire Diaries.

It was rumored that an already-complete additional album would follow-up their sixth release, Valtari. However, the band has dismissed the rumor as a “fabrication”.

On 2 November 2012, Georg Hólm confirmed that the band had already started work on a new album, due to be released some time in 2013. He described it as a dramatic change of direction, “an anti-Valtari”. The band performed a new song, entitled “Brennisteinn” (‘brimstone’), in Reykjavik on 4 November at the Iceland Airwaves 2012 festival, to favourable reception. On 12 November 2012, the band announced a new North American tour, to take place in March and April 2013. The band also announced that every ticket purchased will include a new digital copy of a three-track EP, containing new and unreleased music, made available to ticket holders on 22 March 2013.

2013–present: Kveikur and departures of Sveinsson and Dýrason

Sigur Rós performing live at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall, England, in 2013

On 24 January 2013, Sigur Rós announced in a Q&A on Reddit that Sveinsson had left the band, feeling it was time “to do something different”. They announced their seventh studio album, Kveikur, on 22 March. On the same day, they also released the album’s first single: “Brennisteinn”. The album itself was finally released on 14 June (releasing two days earlier in Japan, and four days later in the US) and marked both a musical and thematic change for the band, providing a more aggressive sound, compared to their previous albums. The album was well received by critics, scoring 80 on Metacritic, with several reviewers praising for the band’s new musical approach, as well as a lack of commercialism. The release was marked, by the band, with a new tour, as well as an interactive musical experience, where fans could live stream a concert, taking control of the camera. The band later performed at the iTunes Festival, on 2 September 2013, where selected portions of their concert were later released on 21 October.

The band provided original music and a rendition of “The Simpsons Theme“, as well as a brief cameo, for The Simpsons episode “The Saga of Carl“, which aired on 19 May 2013.

The band appeared in the HBO TV series Game of Thrones episode “The Lion and the Rose” on 13 April 2014. They also covered the song “The Rains of Castamere“, which was originally recorded by The National for the earlier episode “Blackwater“.

Holm and Dýrason worked with Holm’s brother Kjartan Holm and the composer Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson on the soundtrack to The Show of Shows: 100 Years of Vaudeville, Circuses and Carnivals. This was released as an album, Circe – Music Composed for The Show of Shows, on the Krunk label in the UK on 28 August 2015.

A reissue of the band’s second album, Ágætis byrjun, was announced by the band in early 2015. It was announced to feature previously unheard studio and live recordings as well as photographic and documentary material from their personal archives.

On 31 January 2017 it was announced that the band would be touring later in 2017, playing concerts in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Croatia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil.

The band, in collaboration with Alex Somers, produced two instrumental pieces, “End” and “Match”, for the Black Mirror season four episode “Hang the DJ“, aired on 29 December 2017.

On 8 May 2018, the band released a new multimedia project called Liminal, which they described as an “endless mixtape” of ambient music which will be continuously added to over time. In addition, Jónsi, Somers, and frequent collaborator Paul Corley announced a series of “live soundbaths,” where the music would be played in front of an audience.

In September 2018, Dýrason was accused of sexual assault by artist Meagan Boyd. On 1 October 2018, he announced that he had decided to leave the band “in light of the scale of this matter”. In March 2019, Sigur Rós were charged with tax evasion, accused of having submitted incorrect tax returns from 2011 to 2014, evading 151m Icelandic krona. The band members blamed their former accountant and said they were co-operating with the authorities. The case was dismissed in early October 2019.

Composed in the 14th or 15th century Odin’s Raven Magic is an Icelandic poem in the ancient Edda tradition (Edda – a term that describes two Icelandic manuscripts which together are the main sources of Norse mythology and Skáldic poetry) its anonymous author clearly had an intimate knowledge of the Edda literature and mythology which alludes to a number of pagan motifs which are now lost. The poem recounts a great banquet held by the gods in Valhalla while they were absorbed in their feasting, ominous… signs appeared that could foretell the end of the worlds of the gods and men.

The album ‘Odin’s Raven Magic’ is an orchestral collaboration between Sigur Rós, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, Steindór Andersen and Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir which premiered 18 years ago at the Barbican Centre in London and is now finally almost two decades later being released. The performance honours the poem, dramatic and beautiful, classical and contemporary. A stone marimba was built especially for the performance by Páll Guðmundsson.

Odin’s Raven Magic – the poem – had been relegated from mainstream ancient literature ever since 1867, when Norwegian scholar Sophus Bugge claimed it was a 17th century fabrication. This theory has since been toppled with literary and linguistic arguments and new research has concluded that Odin’s Raven Magic was indeed authentic and has finally been reintroduced to the Edda.

Vonlenska

Vonlenska (Eng: Hopelandic) is a term coined by the band to refer to the vocalizations that Jónsi sings on ( ) in lieu of lyrics in Icelandic or English. It takes its name from “Von”, a song on Sigur Rós’s debut album Von where it was first used. However, not all Sigur Rós songs are in Hopelandic; many are sung in Icelandic.

Vonlenska differs from both natural and constructed languages used for human communication. It consists of strings of meaningless syllables containing non-lexical vocables and phonemes. There is no grammatical relation between or among syllables, nor are they accompanied by clearly defined word boundaries. Vonlenska emphasizes the phonological and emotive qualities of human vocalizations, and it uses the melodic and rhythmic elements of singing without the conceptual content of language. In this way, it is similar to the use of scat singing in vocal jazz and puirt à beul in traditional Scottish and Irish folk music. The band’s website describes it as “a form of gibberish vocals that fits to the music”. It is similar in concept to the ethereal vocals used by Cocteau Twins singer Elizabeth Fraser in the 1980s and 1990s. Many of the syllable strings sung by Jónsi are repeated many times throughout each song, and in the case of ( ), throughout the whole album.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigur_R

Members
Current
Former
Touring musicians
  • Ólafur Björn “Óbó” Ólafsson – keyboard, oboe, backing vocals (2012–2013)
  • Kjartan Dagur “KD” Hólm – guitar (2012–2013)
Ensembles
  • Amiina – strings (1999–2008)
  • Brassgat í bala (The Horny Brasstards) – brass (2005–2008)
  • The Okkur Ensemble (2012–2013)
    • Sigrún Jónsdóttir – trombone
    • Laufey Jensdóttir – violin
    • Ingrid Karlsdóttir – viola
    • Guðbjörg Hlín “Guggý” Guðmundsdóttir – violin
    • Eiríkur Orri Ólafsson – trumpet
    • Bergrún Snæbjörnsdóttir – French horn

Albums

Odin’s Raven Magic

Pre-order of Odin’s Raven Magic. You get 1 track now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it’s released.
releases December 4, 2020
Pre-order Digital Album
  £7 GBP  or more
Send as Gift 
 Odin’s Raven Magic – Standard Edition Heavyweight Double LPRecord/Vinyl + Digital Album

***’Odin’s Raven Magic – Standard Edition Heavyweight Double LP’ will start shipping in December. If you place an order with multiple items including ‘Odin’s Raven Magic – Limited edition 2LP’ your entire order will ship in December***

Composed in the 14th or 15th century Odin’s Raven Magic is an Icelandic poem in the ancient Edda tradition (Edda – a term that describes two Icelandic manuscripts which together are the main sources of Norse mythology and Skáldic poetry) its anonymous author clearly had an intimate knowledge of the Edda literature and mythology which alludes to a number of pagan motifs which are now lost. The poem recounts a great banquet held by the gods in Valhalla while they were absorbed in their feasting, ominous…
 signs appeared that could foretell the end of the worlds of the gods and men.

The album ‘Odin’s Raven Magic’ is an orchestral collaboration between Sigur Rós, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, Steindór Andersen and Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir which premiered 18 years ago at the Barbican Centre in London and is now finally almost two decades later being released. The performance honours the poem, dramatic and beautiful, classical and contemporary. A stone marimba was built especially for the performance by Páll Guðmundsson.

Odin’s Raven Magic – the poem – had been relegated from mainstream ancient literature ever since 1867, when Norwegian scholar Sophus Bugge claimed it was a 17th century fabrication. This theory has since been toppled with literary and linguistic arguments and new research has concluded that Odin’s Raven Magic was indeed authentic and has finally been reintroduced to the Edda.

Includes digital pre-order of Odin’s Raven Magic. You get 1 track now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more), plus the complete album the moment it’s released. 
   less
digital album releases December 4, 2020
item ships out within 1 day
Pre-order Record/Vinyl
  £25 GBP or more 
Send as Gift 
 Odin’s Raven Magic – CDCompact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

***’Odin’s Raven Magic – CD’ will start shipping in December. If you place an order with multiple items including ‘Odin’s Raven Magic – CD’ your entire order will ship in December***

Composed in the 14th or 15th century Odin’s Raven Magic is an Icelandic poem in the ancient Edda tradition (Edda – a term that describes two Icelandic manuscripts which together are the main sources of Norse mythology and Skáldic poetry) its anonymous author clearly had an intimate knowledge of the Edda literature and mythology which alludes to a number of pagan motifs which are now lost. The poem recounts a great banquet held by the gods in Valhalla while they were absorbed in their feasting, ominous signs appeared that could foretell the end of the worlds of the…
  more
digital album releases December 4, 2020
item ships out within 1 day
Pre-order Compact Disc
  £12 GBP or more 
Send as Gift 
 Odin’s Raven Magic – Limited Edition 2LPRecord/Vinyl + Digital Album

Limited edition heavyweight white vinyl available exclusively from the Krunk Bandcamp store.

***’Odin’s Raven Magic – Limited Edition 2LP’ will start shipping in December. If you place an order with multiple items including ‘Odin’s Raven Magic – Limited edition 2LP’ your entire order will ship in December***

Composed in the 14th or 15th century Odin’s Raven Magic is an Icelandic poem in the ancient Edda tradition (Edda – a term that describes two Icelandic manuscripts which together are the main sources of Norse mythology and Skáldic poetry) its anonymous author clearly had an intimate knowledge of the Edda literature and mythology which alludes to a number of pagan motifs…
  more
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1.Prologus
2.Alföður orkar
3.Dvergmál 07:37
4.Stendur æva
5.Áss hinn hvíti
6.Hvert stefnir
7.Spár eða spakmál
8.Dagrenning
about
***’Odin’s Raven Magic’ will start shipping in December. If you place an order with multiple items including ‘Odin’s Raven Magic’ your entire order will ship in December***

Composed in the 14th or 15th century Odin’s Raven Magic is an Icelandic poem in the ancient Edda tradition (Edda – a term that describes two Icelandic manuscripts which together are the main sources of Norse mythology and Skáldic poetry) its anonymous author clearly had an intimate knowledge of the Edda literature and mythology which alludes to a number of pagan motifs which are now lost. The poem recounts a great banquet held by the gods in Valhalla while they were absorbed in their feasting, ominous signs appeared that could foretell the end of the worlds of the gods and men.

The album ‘Odin’s Raven Magic’ is an orchestral collaboration between Sigur Rós, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, Steindór Andersen and Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir which premiered 18 years ago at the Barbican Centre in London and is now finally almost two decades later being released. The performance honours the poem, dramatic and beautiful, classical and contemporary. A stone marimba was built especially for the performance by Páll Guðmundsson.

Odin’s Raven Magic – the poem – had been relegated from…
  more
credits
releases December 4, 2020

Ágætis Byrjun – A Good Beginning (20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) 2019

Kveikur 2013

Valtari 2012

Inni 2011

Með suð i eyrum við spilum endalaust 2008

Hvarf/Heim 2007

Takk… 2005

( ) 2002


Ágætis Byrjun 1999

Von Brigði 1998

Von 1997


Hlemmur 2003


Rímur 2001


Untitled 1 (Vaka) 2003


https://sigurros.com/music

Sigur Rós – Ágætis Byrjun

Por: Lucas Gabriel

Sigur Rós’ discography is magnificent! From Von to Kveikur we go through a sensory adventure where we are taken to unknown sound places and that put us, several times, in a state of mental shipwreck. Ágætis Byrjun, the band’s second album, is their great classic and led Sigur Rós in a musical, poetic and, as many like to say, metaphysical direction, with no return. It is here that we find the touching vocals of Jónsi for the first time, classical instrumentation by Kjartan Sveinsson and carried travelers from Georg Hólm’s bass and Orri Dýrason’s drums.

Before any review about Sigur Rós, I always say that it is complicated to review any work of the band. I believe that any Sigur Rós album deserves a book to explain so much important information and innovative details that his works provide – imagine how beautiful an entire encyclopedia on Sigur Rós albums would be? For now, I will try to follow the style of the other content here on the site, highlighting the sound of the album and its creative aspects.

Usually my reviews are not those in the “track-by-track” style, but I think that today it will be almost that.

The Intro of the album may go unnoticed, but it is a relevant point on the album, because there we heard for the first time the still and distant voice that Jónsi would produce throughout the entire album. Right after that, we heard the wonderful “Tyoohooo”, or, better, Svefn-g-englar, one of the greatest classics of the band. For those who already know the music, they know that anxiety hits hard when the sound of “sonar” echoes at the beginning of the song. In the first 20 seconds we heard Jónsi’s voice modulations and the “spiral” effects (small details), something that Sigur Rós loves to do in his works. The guitar in this track comes strong, with its unique distortion and reverberation, created from the friction of the bow (cello) with the guitar. Jónsi’s voice sounds soft and condensed, singing in a way that absorbs us into the song until taking us to the enigmatic “tyooohooo”, from then on we are sucked once and for all by the famous metaphysical sensation produced by Sigur Rós.

It is incredible to see how Sigur Rós managed to expand his sonority in a significant and productive way in such a short space of time, between Von and Ágætis Byrjun, and the exponent for this transformation was Kjartan Sveinsson who, with his entry in the band, increased classical bases, with a lot of piano, violins and other complementary instruments, making the songs more solid and fluid. Starálfur is an example of this, a song that sounds simple, orderly and well conducted, with plenty of violin and piano.

The core of the album is composed of the 03 heaviest tracks, with influences and traces of Von, in an obscure and melancholic content:

Flugufrelsarinn is composed by a melody without progression, in a “forced” tempo and pushed by the voice of Jónsi. Perhaps this is the most indigestible song on the album, but after good listening, when its essence is understood, it is possible to taste its instrumental peculiarity and its strong choruses.
Ný Batterí is one of Sigur Rós’ favorite songs, being played in practically all of his shows; also, it is one of the most beloved among fans. The song contains one of the most emblematic introductions of Sigur Rós, with wind instruments sounding disconnected, which together produce a timbre to give chills; the bass joins this dark beginning with a striking “riff” that runs through the entire track. The fine vocal combined with a calm tempo produces a sinister atmosphere that, after a silent break, from the middle to the end, everything gains strength and an instrumental explosion appears to fill our soul with energy.
Hjartað hamast (Bamm Bamm Bamm), a track that closes the heavy crack of the record, is my favorite and, for me, the most wronged of the record, because hardly anyone pays attention and the importance that this song deserves. All its melancholic, dark and obscure content makes it the heaviest music by Sigur Rós. At the beginning, we contemplated its post-funeral tone, with the organ, drums and bass played in the same rhythm; in the middle of this uniform tempo, a harmonica emerges to reinforce its macabre and dark sense. All these layers prepare the bed for the guitar, which I believe to be the most powerful of all Sigur Rós discography, to emerge with its weight, distortion, reverb, delays and modulations that resonate widely. One of Jónsi’s voices in this song is whispered and low (where we can hear the lusciousness of his throat in each syllable sung) and another voice sounds thinner and stretched, which seems to be the contrast of two thoughts: a lucid and conformed and , the other, emotional and irrational. All this distressing madness culminates in a very strong chorus, with expansive instruments, a sharp violin and a vocal that borders on despair, thus forming a dense and somber sound mass! (detail for the final duet between the piano and the violin).

After the dark center of Ágætis Byrjun, we are thrown into the most beautiful construction of Sigur Rós, a poetic odyssey that we have to be prepared to hear, otherwise we are ended in feelings so heavy that tears are usually inevitable. If there is perfection in music, Viðrar Vel Til Loftárása is an example of that! In all senses, this track reaches a very high level of quality: sound, production, instrumentation, voice, concept, feeling, lyrics and any other aspect. Its beginning is filled with echo effects and a bass that is in an extremely low frequency, almost imperceptible, so that Kjartan Sveinsson plays his pianissimo in an untouchable way, where he builds a melody strengthened by the violins – these two instruments set the emotional tone for the music. With a spatial, distant and delicate voice, Jónsi transforms the song into a sound object that simulates a dream. The final short break is a plunge into the creative and immersive atmosphere that only Sigur Rós is capable of creating – here we have everything the band does best: its striking guitar, elements and sound effects, piano, classical bases and drums-driven travelers is low.

Ágætis Byrjun is such a dense work that it is difficult to not praise praise on each track of the disc, as it carries with it several great songs. Arriving at the end of the album we still have Olsen Olsen, a calm song that comforts all the senses, and Ágætis Byrjun, a track that bears the name of the album and that brings a more intimate Sigur Rós, with a captivating guitar arpeggio and a melody loving.

The album closes with Avalon, a song that consists of a passage from Starálfur played 4x slower. This conclusion is beautiful, it comes like a calm wind at the end of a day that we had everything: sun, clouds, fog, darkness, storm, drizzle and rainbow. A song that serves as a rest and reflection for everything we feel during the incredible, moving and impactful Ágætis Byrjun – an album of dreamlike sound that puts us in a dystopian trance state.

Main songs: Svefn-g-englar, Ny Baterry, Viðrar Vel Til Loftárása
Favorite music: Hjartað hamast (Bamm Bamm Bamm), Viðrar Vel Til Loftárása

https://musicasemtitulo.com.br/resenhas/sigur-ros-agaetis-byrjun

Publicado por Aryon Maiden

Aficionado pela música em todos os momentos.

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