Keeping a finger on the pulse

Explore - page 3

Red stars, blues and vodka (on stage in Moscow)

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Words by Alexandra Tskhovrebova The career of Icelandic blues rock band Kaleo is skyrocketing. In a very short time, the band has gone from playing venues in Reykjavík to performing around the world. After being signed to the legendary Atlantic Records, the band moved out to Austin, Texas, and released the debut album A/B in 2016, which has sold over 800,000 copies worldwide. Unsurprisingly, Kaleo spent almost all of 2017 touring. Alexandra wrote about her impressions of Kaleo’s live show in Moscow. (more…)

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It Might Get Loud – Smells Like (Pink Street) Boys

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Words by Stína Satanía The review was originally printed in Reykjavík On Stage (Issue 3) If you have never listened to the self-proclaimed loudest band of Iceland, let me give you a littledirection on how to wake up your neighbours on a Saturday morning with their latest bunch offurious punk rock songs. In October 2017, Pink Street Boys released the explosive Smells Like Boys on vinyl. The band took the local music scene by storm when they emerged under this name in 2013, and their garage punk smell, indeed, wafted across Iceland’s borders, resulting in asuccessful tour of the UK and continental Europe last year. Smells Like Boys might get loud. The album proves that the Pink Street gang is no less vicious andrebellious than when they released their first cassette in 2014 (Trash from the Boys), and they won’t allow anyone to keep them down (try it at your…

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A Dream Within A Dream

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Words by Wim Van Hooste The review was originally printed in Reykjavík On Stage (Issue 3) It has been three years since Epic Rain released their debut album, Somber Air,on the Lucky Records label. The band is the outlet of vocalist Jóhannes Birgir Pálmason. The departure of male co-vocalist Bragi has left more space for the vocal chords of singer Ingunn Erla Sigurðardóttir. The music is rooted in underground and alternative hip-hop, but in more recent years, Epic Rain began including aspects of cabaret, dark folk, country and blues in their music. Epic Rain’s lyrics are evocative and haunting, describing in picturesque detail persons and their thoughts and actions in a menacing and mad world. Surprisingly, Dream Sequences  opens with the pumping instrumental track, ‘Dream Sequence 1’, driven by Maggi’s percussion. Magnús Trygvason Eliassen is without a doubt the most eruptive drummer boy of the island (collaborator/member of ADHD, amiina,…

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Mimra – Sinking Island

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Words by Stína Satanía The review was originally printed in Reykjavík On Stage (Issue 3) Sinking Island, a new album by MIMRA, is a fascinating treat on the subject of vocal experiences. Hidden under the name MIMRA, singer, producer and composer María Magnúsdóttir offers powerful and dramatic vibes. Her electro-acoustic folk pop arrangements are bold and rich, and her beautiful voice is indeed striking. María has been active on the local music scene – especially the jazz scene – for quite some time. Her previous experiences with electro-pop duo Early Late Twenties gave her a base to work on her own, more electro-acoustic, material. MIMRA’s solo debut, Not Your Housewife, was released in 2009 to rave reviews. The next album took her a few years to complete. Sinking Island, as it would ultimately be titled, took shape in the Netherlands and England, and eventually became her master’s thesis in popular…

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The Jazzy Queen of Spades

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Words by Stína Satanía Most Icelanders first heard about Sólrún Mjöll Kjartansdóttir in 2012. At the age of 16, she participated in a famous young talents contest called the Battle of the Bands (Músíktilraunir) in Reykjavík. In the 30-year-long history of the competition, it was the first time that a girl was crowned best drummer of the competition. (more…)

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Q&A w/Birgir Jón ‘Biggi’ Birgisson

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Words by Bartek Wilk Photo by Nadia Gottfried Birgir Jón ‘Biggi’ Birgisson – head sound engineer at Sundlaugin Studio Sundlaugin is one of the most famous recording studios in Iceland. How do you feel holding the responsibility for such a remarkable place in your hands? Do you feel any pressure? No pressure, no. I feel really proud about all the great music that has been made here in the past 15 years, I think we have managed to make a great place for musicians to create in so…. yeah. Proud would probably describe it pretty well. (more…)

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Funeral And Rebirth

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Words by Stína Satanía Photo by Sigga Ella (www.siggaella.com) HEIÐRIK first drew my attention in 2013 when the amazing Faroese artist Eivør released a video for her song True Love, directed by a certain Heiðrik á Heygum. I quickly learned that this Faroese citizen currently based in Reykjavík has many feathers in his cap – he’s a visual artist, film director and musician. After I discovered his incredible sense of fragility and the thrilling dark atmosphere of his previous works, I couldn’t wait for his album Funeral, released in Iceland last September. When he was signed on independent Polish label FONOBO this spring, I seized the opportunity to have a chat with Heiðrik about the sonic and visual aspects of his work. The interview was first published in Polish on the website MuzykaIslandzka.pl. When I say Poland, what comes to your mind? My crazy wonderful friends from Poland [laughter]. Then…

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The Icelandic Corner of Melodica Festival

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Words by Stína Satanía Photo by Sigurjón Már 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 Sigurðsson started Greenhouse Studios. And that is where it all began… During the next few years, Greenhouse Studios was where Valgeir began recording and collaborating with other great artists from different parts of the globe, like American composer Nico Muhly. They met in the New York studio where both were…

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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 It Yourself’ punk ethic approach was used in all of their leaflets, sound collages, albums and movies. So you could see CRASS as a sort of ‘art punk’, well known for their anti-war, anarchist, feminist and anti-consumerist graffiti. (more…)

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