Keeping a finger on the pulse

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GYDA Q&A

Gyða Valtýsdóttir rose to prominence with electronic experimentalists múm, the lauded Icelandic group that led the charge in the country’s fertile underground scene in the early 2000s and rightfully gained international recognition. She left the band to pursue her studies as a cellist, and in 2017, she released the album Epicycle with her unique interpretations that reach into the core of music. Evolution, her sophomore solo album, released in 2018 and co-produced by Alex Somers, features original compositions and many remarkable collaborators. Bartek Wilk takes a look into the unique sonic landscape of GYDA’s Evolution. BW: To start, I would like to ask about your relationship with the cello. When did it appear in your life? Was it your first love? Was it a reciprocal one? GV: I started playing the cello at the age of 7. I knew nothing about it, but my older sister told me that it… Keep Reading

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(We) Made (God) in China

Iceland’s post-metal and post-rock veterans, We Made God, celebrated 15 years in the business last year. The band’s main man and songwriter, Magnús Bjarni Gröndal, and the band’s fresh blood, guitarist Rúnar Sveinsson, discuss their long history in the local music market and their tour in China in December 2018. I can’t deny that albums released on my birthday are kind of special to me. And Beyond the Pale by We Made God, the band’s third full-length recording that was released in May 2018, is no exception. Although they might not seem to have been very active on the local scene lately, their position in the Icelandic music scene has remained steady. We Made God are notable for infusing picturesque and spacious sonic landscapes with post-hardcore elements, soaring guitars and emotive vocals, as their China tour in December 2018 underlined. If you enjoy the melodic sensibilities of Deftones and the… Keep Reading

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Blóðmör – Líkþorn

Winning Músíktilraunir has served as the launching point for a number of outstanding performers. Mammút (2004), Agent Fresco (2008), Vök (2013) and a little folk ensemble you may have heard of called Of Monsters and Men (2010) are all prior winners who have gone on to give us some brilliant music. In 2019, it was a young metal trio that took top honours and found itself poised on the precipice of success. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves for the coming of Blóðmör. In June 2019, Blóðmör released their EP entitled Líkþorn, marking a return to metal’s roots. This EP consists of five songs of raw metal ore mined from deep within the earth, unrefined and unpolished, yet full of limitless promise. The riffs forced me to dust off my air guitar because you can’t sit still whilst listening to Líkþorn and these riffs beg to be imitated. The music demands… Keep Reading

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Ottoman

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Icelandic hard rock Ottoman comes back to hit the local rock scene with huge power. Famous for their explosive performances both in Iceland as well as abroad, the band still doesn’t lack energy. Their sound goes full-on rock’n’roll with vigorous and driving guitar riffs, tough and powerful basslines and massive drums. These sounds make Ottoman the purveyor of melodic and dynamic vibes that have the potential to become brainworms. This groove-infested material will pop up at the least expected moment during your daily routing, making you crave more Ottoman insanity. These guys sharpen their fangs with rough and heavy singles ‘Fire in a Hole’, ‘Perfect Way To Go’ and ‘Burn the witch’ that announce their promising full-length debut album coming soon. This band should truly be on your radar for their future releases. Photo by Marinó Flóvent Follow Ottoman: www: ottomanofficial.com Facebook: ottomanband… Keep Reading

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Thought Spun of Myrra Rós

The music of Icelandic singer-songwriter Myrra Rós calls for a proper deep listening while you are sinking into a comfortable armchair in front of a fireplace. Her soft voice has followed me for more than the last eight years and each time, her album reveals further atmospherical soundscapes. Establishing herself in the international market, the artist actually plays more often in European countries than in Iceland. As Myrra’s latest record was released in January 2019, the next opportunity to hear live those brand new seven soothing songs is getting closer. Pursuing her solo career, Myrra Rós creates cohesive albums, and Thought Spun spreads a hypnotic atmosphere. No wonder that with her previous involvement in post-rock bands as Andvari and VAR, enigmatic soundscapes are what she is deft at. The album opens with ‘Red thread’, quite a dark and simple intro which points out the emotionally-rich path of lyrics that delve… Keep Reading

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Rauður – Semilunar

Semilunar is a very conscious solo debut of Rauður, an artist present on the Icelandic scene for many years. The album is filled with Scandinavian melancholy, coherent but not lacking in experimental trips. It displays a rich diversity of emotions, and although it sounds dreamy and gentle (most of it), it radiates with great power, awesome in vocals, composition and timbre. It premiered on the 11th of October. Rauður (Icelandic for ‘red’ or ‘ginger’) is a stage alias of Auður Viðarsdóttir. The artist lived until recently in a little town in southern Sweden. There, in her domestic studio, she worked on compositions that eventually came together into a whole album. The pieces, composed through the last few years, were recorded in various places throughout Sweden and in Iceland, where she lives at the moment, at the Dungeon Studio in Reykjavik, where Auður returned this year. Auður recalls starting up her… Keep Reading

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Is anybody listening? Interview with Cell7

Words by Stína Satanía Photo by Arnþór Birkisson Ragna Kjartansdóttir, who creates music under the name Cell7, is a well-known rapper in her country of Iceland, far away in the windy north. With her sophomore solo album, Is Anybody Listening?, she doesn’t come back from a break. She’s been on this battlefield for 20 years. She owns it, from being in Iceland’s history-changing band Subterranean, to doing her sound engineering job, and last but not least, to being a non-compromising solo artist. Stína talked to her about her Icelandic rap roots and stepping out of her comfort zone in music. From Kriss Kross to Subterranean ‘I think I was twelve when I started to listen to Michael Jackson. Back then, there was also this band called Kris Kross. Do you remember them?’ she asks. She wanted to be like them, so that’s how she got into rap and hip hop.… Keep Reading

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New release: Sunna Margrét

December 17th, the Icelandic producer, singer and visual artist Sunna Margrét has released her 5-track experimental-ambient-braindance-electronica Kraumur Awards winning EP Art of History. The EP is available exclusively through Reykjavík Record Shop and No Salad Records, and finally from today on you can give it a listen on the streaming services (check it out on Spotify). Co-released between her oceanic hometown of Reykjavik, Iceland, and her current alpine home base in Lausanne, Switzerland, Art of History brings together distant dreams of elvish druids and lo-fi beats of a contemporary urban woman. Sunna Margrét brings to the stage the narrative of distant dreams filled with the echoes of contemporary female superheroes and crooked talking mushrooms. She is known for her sensorial, atmospheric and emotive live shows, pinned together with her passion for performance art. Her shows encompass installation and visual projections, mapping the stage with stimulating images that reflect the mood… Keep Reading

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Love (lust and greed) in the time of Great Grief

Words by Stína Satanía There are albums that smack you straight in the face. It felt like that the first time I listened to Love, Lust and Greed by Icelandic hardcore quartet Great Grief. They have been out there since 2013 and are one of those bands that, despite touring all over Iceland, might deliver it even better abroad than in their own backyard. Since they have spread their energy across the Atlantic, it should come as no surprise that the band dropped their long-awaited debut album on 7 December 2018 under the banner of Los Angeles based No Sleep Records. The album starts off at high speed and goes full throttle with emotion. This is what Great Grief have become known for in the local music scene. They deliver intense, profound live performances that translate into impassioned albums that almost push them over the top. The band touches on… Keep Reading

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Skaði

Photo by Gustavo Marcelo Blanco If there’s one artist in Reykjavík who, with her stage performance, can wake me up better than a triple espresso and in less time than one song, it’s Skaði. Dipping her toes in Nordic mythology from where she took her name (a goddess associated with winter), Skaði is a music producer, an outstanding and captivating performer and a visual artist. Whatever she does in any art field, she pours her entire heart and soul into it. She dropped her debut album in November 2018 in the form of an old-school cassette as befits the underground FALK (Fuck Art Let’s Kill) label that released it. On Jammið, the message is strong, and Skaði plays all the instruments by herself. The album reveals expected grime electro-punk beats that dissolve into a mesmerizing bass as well as the somewhat avant-garde guitar lines that wind around the song’s cores.… Keep Reading

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