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Iceland Airwaves 2018 by Jeff Obermeyer

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I still remember our first Iceland Airwaves like it was yesterday. My wife and I landed at Keflavík in darkness after an overnight flight from Seattle, and when we stepped outside to board the bus to Reykjavík, we were greeted with rain attacking us at a 45-degree angle as the wind blew in off the Atlantic, half-soaking us before we could scramble on board. Welcome to Iceland in October! That was in 2009, and we’ve been back for every Airwaves since. Over the years, we’ve approached Airwaves in many different ways. We’ve rented cars so we could go do touristy stuff; we’ve done enough record shopping to get us on a first-name basis with more than one shop owner; and we’ve made a tradition of soaking at the Blue Lagoon on Sundays. But at the end of the day, Airwaves is about the music, and one of the things we’ve…

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Where have you been on the Culture Night?

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Trying my best to go back to a routine, I got sick right before the Culture Night. Right in time, isn’t it? But it reminds me the best memory from this annual festivity – gigs in the banana jungle in the backyard of Laugavegur 58b (shout out to Birgir of Godchilla and Antimony for organizing it!). Then I was half alive with sore throat and fever but who cares, how could I miss out such an event. This year I took the Culture Night way easily and experienced pure awesomeness. Whenever I want to get right in a party mood, I need to listen to Icelandic rap – Úlfur Úlfur – that I fell in love with thanks to my dear old flatmate Fríða. The Culture Night 2016 is officially their night. I had seen this duo three time out of their four performances of that day and, moreover, that…

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When in a lactose mood after a good show

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Summer vacation had come and gone so it has been a bit quiet here. The weekly overview of gigs hasn’t appeared yet and, to be honest, I’m not sure if will arrive this week. Easy to guess, I started feeling guilty for this. Like I owe you some explanation that I don’t forget about you. Yes, you. Luckily I got a sonic treatment in shape of OFF Festival in Poland where Kiasmos reminded me gently why the hell I am in Iceland and why I literally puke with love (a.k.a. admiration and respect) about Icelandic music and local artists. So now I have to share with you 3 (random) thoughts. First, it took me more than 3 years to find someone who plays bass in my favorite way (like my most favorite Polish band playing psycho jazz fusion) that actually makes me stand on tiptoes all the gig to not…

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CeaseTone – Two Strangers

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*Originally written for muzykaislandzka.pl – Polish website about Icelandic music, visit the website and share some love there! :) Lately reviewing albums happens rarely to me but while I was listening to something surprising from the Icelandic music shelf and completely fresh in its sound I couldn’t stop myself from sharing good news. A long-awaited debut album of the ambitious young team called CeaseTone has been released at the end of May 2016. When was the last time that you listened to something new that is a fusion of electronic pop and indie rock? Let me offer you something that you actually cannot refuse: put on your headphones or turn the sound up – 10 songs from Two Strangers will take you on a nice trip. This young team is an example of why I love to follow the Icelandic music scene. Three years ago, In 2013, the leader of…

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Walking down the street with Mínus

in Other/Wishlist by

Decluttering can be sometimes a good thing. Especially when you find a sheet of paper with 10 names of Icelandic bands that you must see some day and the first on this list is… Mínus. Once I read they were a separate chapter in the history of Icelandic rock music. Or maybe I should say they still are? The band was formed as a five-piece in the fall of 1998 and inspired by bands like Converge or Dillinger Escape Plan turned quickly into a giant of Icelandic hardcore music scene. Now, 18 years later I´m still waiting for their next (fifth in the career) album that was recorded at Kolsstaðir in 2010 and supposed to be released in November the same year but apparently karma didn´t allow this to happen. Maybe it´s hopeless since we have 2016 but I still believe that one day I will see them live for…

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God’s lonely man – Pétur Ben

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For actually a few years I haven’t celebrated Easter but Aldrei Fór Ég Suður festival in West Fjords instead. Of course, my luck hasn’t let me also last year to end up in Ísafjörður in person (maybe 2016?) but at least it reminded me how I discovered one of the most impressive and estimable artists of Iceland. Believe me, watching an annual broadcast of all the performances of Aldrei Fór Ég Suður while sitting in not too comfortable chair is probably not the best idea so it happened I had a nap. But can you imagine that you are waking up to the sounds that knock your socks off? Then I didn’t know who was performing with that entire band but I found out quite quick that his name is Pétur. Pétur Ben. After several years of following this artist I have to admit one thing – whatever Pétur Ben…

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Who´s that Sindri boy?

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Once upon a time I almost ended up learning Swedish instead of Icelandic but then turned out that my way is rather towards engineering. Six years later I was watching a Swedish movie and they were talking over and over again about some pojke. I had no clue what this word means and the only one thing that was coming to my mind then was name of Sindri Már Sigfússon, one of the most extraordinary Icelandic folk musicians in recent years. Well, seems like to fully understand Icelandic music you need a basic understandment of Swedish. A piece of cake when you are aware that he spent part of his childhood in Sweden. Apparently, I wasn’t one of the enlightened by that time. Just to make it clear, pojke means boy, I figured out eventually. About 3 years ago Sindri created his another side project called Pojke to indulge himself…

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1860 shelters me from daylight

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Brace yourself, winter is coming so we need cheerful music! That reminded me the way how my adventure with a merry folk band called 1860 started. Imagine that yesterday was an epic blizzard – even Strætó got totally stuck, seriously – and before that, as a beginner, you thought people were joking about this crazy wind in Iceland. It had been such a beautiful weather for the last 2 weeks, right? Oh, how naive I was… Such surprising conditions outside didn’t really convince you to go out but your friend did that. What can change your mind faster and in more fabulous way than music recommendation from your lovely friends that know Icelandic music scene like the back of their hand? So here’s rule no. 1: if your Icelandic friend that is involved into the local music scene tells you to check out some band, just do it! He or she knows probably…

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Snorri Helgason will make your morning coffee

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I was made in the mountains. I had spent there summer vacations for at least 13 years so when I close my eyes I can hear music that would suit perfectly to that surrounding. There, in my aunt’s garden at the end of the village are bushes of rose, raspberry and redcurrant. And two apple trees because the third one was knocked down by the storm once. So in my imagination I put on rain boots and with a cup of good coffee in my hand I walk to the garden and sit under the apple tree. And what can I hear? Music by folk singer-songwritter called Snorri Helgason. Look, morning dew is shining in a soft sunlight. I discovered works of Snorri Helgason a few years ago when he turned out to be a surprise guest at a student festival in Cracow. Almost nobody then heard about him in…

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Eistnaflug 2015

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Today it seems like Eistnaflug reality was actually in some other dimension long time ago. But it happened. So far, it’s my third festival season in Iceland and in a state of peace of mind I can tell you I’m satisfied for the rest of 2015. Finally, I´d observed the most famous Icelandic metal festival for a few years. It´d been rather like licking candy through the wrapper. So I packed my backpack and tent and went to the small fjord in eastern Iceland with a town called Neskaupstaður that has a population of 1500 people. The amount of festivalgoers this year reached up to 3000. We are powerful, aren’t we? (more…)

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