Keeping a finger on the pulse

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Rokkað á Hvanneyri

(Pistillinn var skrifaður fyrir Tengivagninn á Rás1 og birtist þar, miðvikudaginn 14. ágúst 2019.) Falið í Borgarbyggð með tæplega 300 íbúa – sko, Hvanneyri hefur ekki haft mikið vægi í mínum huga, sérstaklega ekki þegar kemur að tónlist. En sjálfboðaliðasamtökin Stelpur Rokka! hafa svo sannarlega breytt þessari ímynd! Ásamt erlendum samstarfsaðilum völdu þau alþjóðlegum rokkbúðum stað í Landbúnaðarháskóla Íslands á Hvanneyri. Þann 10. águst náði þessi 98-manna hópur með fólki frá 10 löndum og 11 samtökum hæsta punkti með lokatónleikum í gömlu hlöðunni á Hvanneyri. Flestir þátttakendur spiluðu á hljóðfæri sem þeir höfðu ekki spilað á, áður en þeir tóku þátt í rokkbúðunum og voru varla viku að læra á þau. Bæði stigu þeir á svið í fyrsta skipti á ævinni og spiluðu fyrir rúmlega 100 áhorfendur, líka í fyrsta sinn. Hjarta mitt stækkaði um nokkur númer á meðan ég var að horfa á þessa epísku tónleika og vikan á… Keep Reading

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What 2019 has brought in

It is with a heavy heart that I have to inform you that the 5th issue of Reykjavík On Stage will not arrive in a printed form in 2019 and Reykjavík On Stage will stop functioning as a printed magazine. Due to personal reasons, the publication is no longer able to be secured. For the last 5 years, Reykjavík On Stage has been an ever-changing music space born of the passion for the Icelandic music scene. It had been a simple blog with live reviews. It had been a printed magazine. I have poured all my heart into this, no matter of various consequences. Now, Reykjavík On Stage is not walking off the stage. It is transforming again, this time into website dedicated to Icelandic music. Please do not hesitate to be in touch if you need any kind of information about the local scene or if you think you… Keep Reading

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Lucy In Blue – In Flight

Words by Andreas Schiffmann With regard to Lucy In Blue, you find yourself once again seeing practically all the confirmed stereotypes that accompany contemporary music from Iceland but in a good way. The group’s current album sounds far removed from the world (otherworldly in the truest sense of the word) with its chill overall aesthetics that seem to be aimed at the ever-growing audience for what is generally–and vaguely–called ‘post-rock’. By now, while one struggles to pinpoint what this term actually means, it’s safe to say that it encompasses a certain aloofness or distance, which is also palpable on In Flight. The band’s primary trademarks might be the androgynous lead vocals and often downright grandiose organ arrangements. In contrast, however, the band writes in a relatively straightforward way, resulting in songs which rarely surpass the five-minute mark. After the aptly named introduction ‘Alight, Pt. 1’, a rather tranquil take-off for… Keep Reading

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Airplanes, Spaceships, and Sparkling Poison, Oh My! – A Conversation with Steinunn Harðardóttir

Words by Jeff Obermeyer When you tell people you’re going to be interviewing Steinunn Harðardóttir, they immediately begin to sing her praises. Her partner in the Sparkle Poison musical experience, Guðlaug Mía Eyþórsdóttir, told me, ‘I’ve worked with all kinds of people but Steinunn is one of the most gentle and giving people I have ever gotten to know. She has a special way of seeing the positive sides of things and a unique quality of showing you sides of the world around you and yourself that you might be unaware of!’ Gunnar Lárus Hjálmarsson, a.k.a. Dr. Gunni, agreed. ‘I have nothing but praise for Steinunn,’ he told me. ‘She is just a wonderful human being and it was effortless and fun working with her. She lights up every room with her positivity.’ The common thread is that not only is she a talented musician, she’s also a pretty great… Keep Reading

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Mighty Bear

Mighty Bear has mastered the creation of eerie atmospheres throughout his entire (not that short) career, with other projects on the Icelandic music scene. It’s no surprise that his solo debut at Iceland Airwaves 2017 created a buzz all over town about this artist in a black cape and hidden behind a mysterious mask. Not more than a year after the festival, Mighty Bear released his gloomy EP debut Einn (translated as One or Alone) that lasts roughly 10 minutes. Known for his haunting abstract synth soundscapes and soft, melancholic vocals, Mighty Bear doesn’t refrain from rearranging his dark electronic sound into a heartbreakingly beautiful acoustic setting on the example of a stripped version of ‘Burt’, which also was accompanied by a video. That’s an artist who is as mysterious as he is glamorous while performing on stage and has already done shows abroad. If you love Icelandic sombreness and… Keep Reading

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Eitt og annað um öryggi og virðingu á tónleikum

Undanfarið hefur talsvert verið rætt um hvernig bæta megi upplifunina af íslenskri tónlist, sú umræða hefur að mestu snúist um að fjölga skuli tónleikastöðum í borginni. En það er önnur hlið á þessu máli, sem snýr að upplifun tónleikagesta, sem ætti að vera ógleymanleg á jákvæðan hátt, nefnilega að þeir upplifi sig örugga. Hér eru nokkur orð um öryggi. Öll viljum við fara á tónleika í rými sem er öruggt og þægilegt. Þess vegna ættu staðir sem hýsa tónleika að leggja áherslu á að sjá til þess að þeir séu ánægjulegir, bæði fyrir tónlistarfólk og tónleikagesti. Trúlega höfum við öll reynslu af því að ein drukkin manneskja hefur truflað tónleika á mjög leiðinlegan hátt. Ofbeldi og kynferðisleg áreitni á ekki að líðast á tónleikum. Um það eru allir sammála, þú líka, ekki satt? Það er á valdi starfsfólks tónleikastaða að sjá um að viðburðir fari vel fram og að óæskileg… Keep Reading

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A word or two on respect and safety during live shows

Lately, there has been an ongoing discussion about making the Icelandic music experience better, spinning mostly around the issue of how to make more space in town for live shows. But there is another side to this topic as well. It’s how to make the experience of live shows unforgettable in a positive way and, first and foremost, safe. So here’s a word about safety. Each of us would love to attend a show in a space free from any fear or discomfort. Therefore, venues that aim to host events should stand their ground in making the shows enjoyable for both musicians and guests. Though it surely happened to all of us that this one intoxicated person was interrupting the show in a very annoying way. There must be no space for violence or sexual harassment during live performances. Everyone agrees to that, you too, am I right? It’s in… Keep Reading

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Sumarpoppnostalgía

Pistillinn var skrifaður fyrir Tengivagninn á Rás1 og birtist þar, miðvikudaginn 28. ágúst 2019. Ég vaknaði með lag Snorra Helgasonar, „Summer Is Almost Gone“, á heilanum. Fyrir utan gluggann haustar og allt í einu vantar mig sárlega tónlist til að halda áfram andlega með sumarið. Þess vegna er ég í nostalgíukasti í dag og fjalla um þrjá íslenska tónlistarmenn sem vita alveg hvernig hægt er á örstuttum tíma að skapa sumarstemningu svo maður setur á sig sólgleraugun. TSS Fyrsti tónlistarmaðurinn samdi sumar-soundtrackið mitt árið 2013, í tvíeykinu Nolo, en Jón Gabríel Lorange er þekktastur fyrir að vera hluti af því. Jón Gabríel stendur líka að verkefninu TSS, sem er stytting á The Suburban Spaceman. Hann er ungur tónsmiður og undir nafninu TSS skapar hann sæta skynörvandi stemningu með blíðar gítarlínur. TSS á að baki þrjár breiðskífur með lo-fi indípopptónlist – „Meaningless Songs“ (2015), „Glimpse of Everything“ (2016) og „Moods“ (2018).… Keep Reading

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Reykjavík Pride

Here in Reykjavík more than anywhere else, the power of unity has grown to be embodied in the ultimate annual action for the Queer community since the first Pride Parade in 1999. Twenty years ago, Reykjavík Pride was attended by a tiny group of people who proudly showed their faces – themselves as who they really were – to the city for a weekend. Now, it’s ten days of pure energy, humour, respect, glowing enthusiasm and camaraderie, which mostly takes place within Reykjavík’s 101 postal code. 2019’s Pride included a variety of organised festivities, including but not limited to the opening ceremony, a cruise, educational events, the Icelandic Royal Drag Competition and, of course, the Reykjavík Pride Parade. Let’s not forget a couple of the wonderful hosting venues, Gaukurinn and Kiki Queer Bar, true staples of the Queer community that have been instrumental in bringing more and more people from… Keep Reading

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Iceland’s progressive rock, go on!

(This article was featured on “Tengivagninn” on Rás1 Icelandic National Public Radio on Tuesday, 2 July 2019.) I took part the other day in a discussion about Icelandic music in which I heard that Björk wasn’t particularly popular in Iceland when her music career was starting to take off abroad. At home, her music wasn’t described as ‘mainstream’. That made me think about how one’s perspective on Icelandic musicians depends on one’s vantage point – from abroad or from Iceland. Outside the island, Icelandic musicians are seen as a phenomenon, and many people believe that living and creating in Iceland must be a wonderful experience. I observed this and came to the conclusion that one of the most beautiful aspects of following the local music scene is witnessing how projects in Iceland sprout, grow and blossom and get well-deserved attention abroad – sometimes more often than in Iceland itself. To… Keep Reading

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