Keeping a finger on the pulse

Issue #3

Big Ten

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Words by Wim Van Hooste The review was originally printed in Reykjavík On Stage (Issue 3) Hausi (Skull) is the tenth album by the band Stafrænn Hákon, once the alter ego, brainchild and playground of guitarist Ólafur Josephsson. Now, it has become a full four-piece band including guitarist Lárus Sigurðsson, bassist Árni Þór Árnason, and drummer Róbert Már Runólfsson. The album contains nine tracks composed by the band members between August 2016 and March 2017. The start of the album is reminiscent of 2016, when the band performed at Vinnslan in Tjarnarbíó and improvised 20 minutes of work based on melodies played on the harp by band member Lárus. Árni Þór plays the baritone bass in a tight way. The melodic layers of cello and trombone are incorporated in the sound, thanks to Þórður Hermannsson and Þröstur Sigurðsson, respectively. Track 1, ‘Rafall’, pops open like a wild flower on an…

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Stafrænn Hákon: Ólafur Josephsson In Da Hausi

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Words by Wim Van Hooste Photograph by Ómar Sverrisson He is a 42-year-old, 189-cm-tall man with dark hair that is naturally starting to turn grey. He lives in Reykjavík with his partner and their four kids. He works as a web designer in the travel industry, and has done so since moving back to Iceland from Denmark in 2010. This person is Ólafur Josephsson, who is the man behind Stafrænn Hákon, which started as a solo project and has since evolved into a full live band. Although he is not a formally educated musician, he makes music whenever he has some spare time, because he really enjoys it. He says it keeps him sane. Stafrænn Hákon has collaborated with a broad range of artists and musicians, and was aired on the late John Peel’s radio sessions, among others. This musical material has been released on the U.S based indie label…

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FM Belfast – Island Broadcast

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Words by Jeff Obermeyer The review was originally printed in Reykjavík On Stage (Issue 3) We stopped by FM Belfast’s Reykjavik office in November to pick up a copy of the band’s newest album, Island Broadcast. There to welcome us was artist and band member Lóa Hlín Hjálmtýsdóttir. During the course of our visit, we asked what she thought about all the construction cranes visible outside her window and the changes to the downtown cityscape. She compared it to living in the movie Dark City, where every morning you wake up to find that things have changed somehow overnight. She also noted, with a sigh, that she missed some of the buildings the same way she would an old friend. That mood can be found throughout Island Broadcast – its beats and chords seemingly slow down just a bit, giving the whole thing a certain languid quality, like being lost…

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Kira Kira – Alchemy & Friends

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Words by Bartek Wilk Photo by Therese Precht Vadum The review was originally printed in Reykjavík On Stage (Issue 3) The title of Kira Kira’s fourth studio album speaks volumes. Alchemy & Friends, for me, offers a way to pass through a magic door to a fairy-tale world, yet not an entirely unfamiliar one. The artist behind Kira Kira, Kristín Björk, has been creating unique compositions with a special atmosphere for a long time. However, I must admit, her new album is a step towards more affordable music. Personally, I find it a good direction. Kira Kira had made us accustomed to musical experiments, compositions that did not necessarily take the shape of songs, tracks based more on sounds than melodies. But things have changed. Alchemy & Friends is filled with melodies, and of course they are kept in the right atmosphere. In many places, they are filled in with…

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GlerAkur And Katla: Prophecy Productions Invades Iceland

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Words by Wim Van Hooste The German label Morr Music and the English label One Little Indian have signed numerous Icelandic artists and released a lot of music made in Iceland in recent decades. But there is a new label on the horizon releasing music by brand new Icelandic artists: GlerAkur’s wall of guitars and volcanic duo Katla. We had the opportunity to chat with members of both bands, Elvar and Gummi, respectively. But first, we will put the spotlight on the label. Prophecy Productions Prophecy Productions is a German record label, founded in 1996 by Martin Koller, as a mail order service. Proud of its unconventional and unique approach to music, ranging from black & dark metal, progressive rock, indie rock, shoegaze, electronica & ambient to neofolk & neoclassical. The label has also been publishing books since 2002. (more…)

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Sólstafir – the Autumn Tour

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Words by Bartek Wilk Photograph by Falk-Hagen Bernshausen Sólstafir’s autumn tour encompassed 31 shows in almost all corners of Europe. In Cracow, the only gig in Poland, the band gathered a room full of people, who knew not only the titles of all their songs but also all the lyrics. The interactions between the band and the audience were phenomenal! It created an amazing atmosphere! It turns out that not only Sigur Rós or Kaleo can sell out a concert a few weeks in advance. Sólstafir is the undisputed star of Icelandic music abroad. Happily, I went for my first meeting with the band – and it will certainly not be the last! Warm-up Before discussing the headliner, I must pay homage to those who opened the show in Cracow. Unfortunately, despite driving on the highway as fast as I could, I missed part of Árstíðir’s performance. I did, however,…

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Finger On The Pulse #03

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Words by Stína Satanía Warmland As the Warmland duo is a combo of such experienced musicians and producers as Arnar Guðjónsson (Leaves) and Hrafn Thoroddsen (Ensími), the band sets the bar of expectations quite high. They have played together in Bang Gang, but with their new project, these partners in crime bring to the world warm and sunny music in a pop style which in an elegant way blends 70s pop, 80s mood and elements of drum and bass. The silky vocals of Arnar add lightness to this package. The duo promises to release a debut album pretty soon and we can already enjoy three tracks: ‘Lyda’, ‘Unison’ and ‘Overboard’. Facebook: warmlandofficial www.warmlandofficial.com (more…)

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Bella Donna Elíza Newman from Lavaland

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Words by Wim Van Hoose Photo by Gísli Kristjánsson Among the many distinct qualities of Icelandic music, the greatest is diversity. This is embodied in Eliza Geirsdóttir Newman, who is a singer-songwriter, violinist, ukulele player extraordinaire (!!), music teacher and dreamer from the Reykjanes peninsula of Iceland. She conquered the local music scene 26 years ago with Kolrassa Krókríðandi/Bellatrix. So far, she has immersed herself in different projects including four solo albums, and she shared with us some of her stories. When did music come into your life, and when did you start to sing? For as long as I can remember, there was always a lot of music playing in my house; either my dad would be playing the guitar or there would be records playing. I started attending music school in Keflavík when I was six years old, first playing the recorder and then moving on to the…

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Var In The Land Of Cherry Blossoms

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Post-rock band VAR’s debut album, which is filled with sonic, emotional and delicate musical landscapes, was actually released first in Japan and subsequently in their homeland. Therefore, it is not surprising that the band travelled almost 9,000 kilometres one way to greet their Japanese fans. In the following, bass player Egill Björgvinsson talks about the adventure in the Land of Cherry Blossoms and the feedback that Japanese listeners gave to the band. How did you get the opportunity to go on tour in Japan? We had released our album Vetur in Japan on Rimeout Recordings in December 2016, and we were asked the following autumn if we would be interested in coming over for a tour at the end of 2017. When an opportunity like that knocks on the door, it’s really hard to say no, and for us it was a no-brainer. (more…)

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Q&A w/Mosi Musik

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Words by Bartek Wilk Mosi Musik is an independent band from Reykjavík, Iceland. Their electronic music combines a stylish mix of electro beats with soul, hip hop, pop and R&B. It began in 2013 as a one-man project by Mosi (whose real name is Ingi Þór Tryggvason), who is not only a musician but also a music producer, writer, graphic designer and event planner. Mosi Musik released their debut album, I Am You Are Me, on 25 April 2015 and soon followed that up with an EP, I Am You Are Remix, on 17 June 2015. Three music videos were released along with the album. In 2016, they released a single called ‘Weekend Out’. Their new album is slated for release, and we can expect more live shows from Mosi Musik this year, as they have confirmed their participation in Secret Solstice 2018. First of all, I wanted to ask,…

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