Keeping a finger on the pulse

Issue #2

Don’t Leave Me This Way

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Words by Wim Van Hooste Reykjavík On Stage had a chat with Arnar Guðjónsson, a 39-year-old musician, producer and sound engineer based in Reykjavík. Arnar has been playing in various bands since the age of 13. In 2001, he formed a band called Leaves who released four albums over the next years. As of late, Arnar has been writing music for films, TV shows and commercials, all the while producing albums and songs for a bunch of other musicians and bands (Kaleo, Quarashi, Axel Flóvent, Dream Wife, Ensími, Pollapönk, Skálmöld and HAM to name a few). Hi Arnar! Your solo…

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Q&A w/Pan Thorarensen

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Words by Bartek Wilk Photo by Ómar Sverrisson Pan Thorarensen is a man who works on different musical fronts. Born in 1981, he has made history in Icelandic music with abundant album releases and various side projects. Along with his father Óskar Thorarensen and composer Þorkell Atlason, he created a significant electronic project called Stereo Hypnosis. This is just one example. Playing as Beatmakin Troopa, Pan Thorarensen combines slow, relaxing electro and energetic jazz in a unique way. Moreover, he is a co-founder of the fantastic project Ambátt that represents a marriage of the genres of jazz, rock, post-rock and…

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The Icelandic Corner of Melodica Festival

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Words by Stína Satanía The international Melodica Festival is a unique musical feast that gathers together emerging singer-songwriters from different parts of the world to expand the community and support the artistic network. Pete Uhlenbruch developed the concept of the festival in Melbourne, Australia, at the end of 2007, and it quickly spread overseas. Now, Melodica takes place in different cities around the world, such as Hamburg, Aarhus, Berlin, Paris, Vienna, New York and, of course, Reykjavík. This year, the festival celebrated its tenth Icelandic anniversary at Kex Hostel with three full days of music. (more…)

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Bedroom Community

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Words by Bartek Wilk Looking through Bedroom Community’s catalogue, you will simply find 30 releases. The first from the label was Nico Muhly’s Speaks Volumes, released on 25th November 2006. And the latest one is from Ben Frost — The Centre Cannot Hold (29th September 2017). But there is much more to the story of this world-renowned collective. The beginning We have to go back to 1997 to Breiðholt (literally ‘wide hill’) in the suburbs of Reykjavík, Iceland. Since the 1970s, Breiðholt has been a community full of youngsters, working class people and non-Icelandic immigrants. That’s the place where Valgeir…

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Crass, White Punks On Hope

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Words by Wim Van Hooste They said we were trash Well the name is Crass, not Clash They can stuff their punk credentials Cos it’s them that take the cash What’s the link between the label/band Crass and Iceland? Let me try to explain… What about Crass? No cult of personality In 1977, the English collective and punk rock band CRASS was formed. These ‘pur sang’ anarchists promoted anarchism as a political ideology, a way of life and a resistance movement. The anarcho-punk movement of CRASS was about the punk subculture, advocating direct action, animal rights and environmentalism. The ‘Do…

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Keep Your Finger On The Pulse! #02

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Words by Stína Satanía It’s that time of the year again: Iceland Airwaves is coming! It’s simply the biggest sonic feast for the Icelandic music scene, and us fans can feel our pulse rising to dangerous heights from sheer excitement. We’d all love to be able to clone ourselves just for this one week, just to be able to see all of our favorite artists. Here are a few acts that you absolutely shouldn’t miss in the on or off venues: (more…)

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Hildur: My 10 Most Influential Icelandic Albums Of All Time

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Photo by Saga Sig Singer, songwriter and producer Hildur is best known from the pop ensemble Rökkurró, where she played cello. She also toured a lot with pianist and composer Ólafur Arnalds. Hildur then decided to continue her vibrant, decade-long music career on her own and released a debut EP last May, entitled Heart to heart. Her positive music gained her a lot of attention both in her homeland and internationally. We are glad to present 10 of the most influential Icelandic albums of all time carefully chosen by Hildur. (more…)

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Sometimes Hearing Is Believing

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Words by Wim Van Hooste The review was originally printed in Reykjavík On Stage (Issue 2) Ruddinn was once a solo project of einzelgänger Bertel Ólafsson. Today he teams up with vocalist Heiða Eiríksdóttir (Unun, Hellvar, heidatrubador) to produce some more electronic music in his studio in suburbia Hafnarfjörður. On this fourth Ruddinn album, More music than music (Möller Records), every song is dominantly driven by the crystal clear vocals of Heiða. The long player has a more mature feel than the previous releases, Ruddinn (2006), 2 (2008) and I need a vacation (2012). The latest sounded like Unun was…

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All The Kinder Versions Of Mammút

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Words by Stína Satanía The review was originally printed in Reykjavík On Stage (Issue 2) The Icelandic five-piece Mammút mix a high emotional depth with a thick and dark rock sound on their fourth album Kinder Versions, released on 14 July via the London-based Bella Union. The band signed to the foreign label last year, making Kinder Versions their long-awaited international breakout. This release also brings another change, with only English lyrics on the album, a first for the band. Mammút sprang to life in 2003. The band evolved into a quintet and quickly became a fixture of the local…

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I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass

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Words by Wim Van Hooste The review was originally printed in Reykjavík On Stage (Issue 2) Especially when I’m lonely, I need the noises of destruction (Nick Lowe, 1978) GlerAkur (Glass Field) is the moniker of Elvar Geir Sævarsson, the sound designer at the National Theatre of Iceland. Down in the basement bar of the theatre, composer Elvar and friends (the longplayer was recorded with 4 guitarists, 2 drummers and 1 bassist) blended a full album featuring fierce and cinematic music. The hypnotic drone, metal riffs, eery ambient and post-rock make up a quadripoint where quality quantums meet. The album…

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All I Have To Do Is Dream

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Words by Wim Van Hooste The latest release by Sólstafir, Berdreyminn (The dreamer of forthcoming events), is the band’s sixth release in 15 years. On the previous releases, Í Blóði og Anda (2002), Masterpiece of Bitterness (2005), Köld (2009), Svartir Sandar (2011), and Ótta (2014), they ignored all genre borders, both metal and mental ones, and pushed the boundaries. The album was produced by Birgir Birgisson (Sigur Rós, Alcest) and Jaime Gomez Arellano (Ghost, Paradise Lost, Oranssi Pazuzu) at the former swimming pool Sundlaugin on the borders of Reykjavík. (more…)

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