Keeping a finger on the pulse

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Lost And Found In The Wormhole

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Words by Wim Van Hooste The review was originally printed in Reykjavík On Stage (Issue 1) If you think about the Icelandic trip-hop scene, Worm Is Green is a name that comes immediately to mind. Hailing from Akranes and formed in 2002, Worm Is Green is still around in the ground. The band was responsible for Automagic (Thule, 2003), Push Play (Mikrolux, 2007), Glow (Kilk Records, 2012), To them we are only shadows (ata:digital, 2014), Loops, Cuts and Lost Clues Vol. 1 (ata:empire, 2016), and numerous EPs and singles in the past. Who needs a trip to Bristol, if you can drive to Akranes through the tunnel made by Worm Is Green?! Loop, Cuts and Lost Clues Vol. 2: One could say ‘more the best of the rest’. DVD lovers would call it “The Extras”. Anyhow, Worm Is Green offers a look inside the kitchen of quartet Árni, Bjarni, Steini…

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East End Grrrls

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Words by Wim Van Hooste The review was originally printed in Reykjavík On Stage (Issue 4) One thing is clear about East Of My Youth: they have an impeccable literary taste. Their name comes from Jack Kerouac’s novel On The Road: I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future. The lyrics of ‘Lemonstars’ (a song unfortunately not featured on this début EP), were also inspired by a novel, Worldlight, by Halldór Laxness, Iceland’s Nobel Prize author. East of My Youth is a ladies’ duo consisting of lifelong friends Thelma Marín Jónsdóttir and Herdís Stefánsdóttir. Finding themselves in Berlin after both finishing the Icelandic Academy of Arts (IAA), the grrrls decided to make music together, for our great pleasure. Their eponymous EP features six electropop songs, mostly built on luscious lyrics driven by Thelma’s angelic vocals. The opening…

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JFDR – Brazil

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Words by Bartek Wilk The review was originally printed in Reykjavík On Stage (Issue 4) I don’t know any other Icelandic artist who has been involved in so many different projects in the span of a year. Let’s see – first of all there was a new Samaris album. Although musically different from their previous releases and overtaken by Doddi, Black Lights couldn’t have been done without her lyrics and her very special voice (a voice that won her the 2016 Icelandic Music Award for best electronic album and best female singer). The trio is still one of the most important electronic bands of the younger generation of Icelandic music. There was also Sundur – a new Pascal Pinon album Jófríður recorded with her sister Ásthildur. This one was really digging to the roots of the Ákadóttir sisters’ music. So simple and honest in the folk-influenced singer-songwriter form, but deep…

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Sigur Rós Norður

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by Bartek Wilk Every musical fascination, like a distant journey, starts with a small step – an impulse that opens your eyes. You probably have your own story about such a musical journey. This is mine. It was 2 AM. The local radio station was about to finish its musical broadcast. The last song started. I heard sounds. I heard words, but I didn’t understand them; I didn’t even know what language I was hearing. I grabbed a pen and wrote down – not without errors – Svefn-g-englar. In the Internet search engine, I typed ‘Sigur Rós’ (this was years ago, so it was going through the telephone modem). Luckily, they shared music on their website. I was thrilled. I just had to share my discovery with my music authority, my elder brother. What I had unearthed was nothing new to him; he gave me a CD comprising songs without…

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Get ready for Mammút’s tornado

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Words by Stína Satanía The lights in the huge concert hall turned off. Five people dressed in black began their last show of the week at Iceland’s biggest music festival. The band on stage, Mammút, has been known on the local scene for their dark, melodic, post-punk style for over a decade. On that last night of Iceland Airwaves 2016, Mammút had the privilege of warming up for one of the biggest acts of the festival, PJ Harvey, and they presented brand new material from their upcoming (at the time) fourth album, Kinder Versions. The very first sounds I heard on the stage suggested that the new album was going to be something special. Some months later, I had the honour of speaking with guitarist Alexandra Baldursdóttir and frontwoman Katrína Mogensen about the new album. (more…)

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Wanna get tickets? Set up a band!

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Words by Bartek Wilk Photo by Magnús Andersen (www.magnusandersen.co.uk) It was 2006. Finnish band Lordi won the 51st Eurovision contest in Athens with their song ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’. A few months later, 15-year-old Unnsteinn Manuel Stefánsson heard about a music competition that would take place in his school. The main prize for the winning band was a free invitation to the Musiktilraunir festival. Uni couldn’t give up such opportunity. The only chance to get the tickets was to participate in the competition as a band. So, with a little help of his school teachers – Árni from FM Belfast and Bóas, singer of Reykjavík! he made a quick decision to set up the band. Unnsteinn gathered his friends from junior high school: Þórður Jörundsson, Jon Seljeseth, Þorbjörg Gunnarsdóttir, Haraldur Stefánsson and Gylfi Sigurðsson and together with his younger brother Logi Pedro they wrote a song. Although ‘Papa Paolo’ didn’t manage…

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The many sonic faces of Ragnar Ólafsson

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Words by Stína Satanía I’m always amazed by the ease with which Icelandic musicians can deliver their creativity by several channels at the same time. Often those channels are not even genre-related. When I first met Ragnar Ólafsson during his tour with Árstíðir in 2012 I asked how he managed to find time to work on three different bands simultaneously. He replied humbly: I just don’t watch TV. Five years later, Ragnar is taking his first steps into a solo career and is working on another three albums and a movie soundtrack. Although his adventure in Iceland started in the metal scene, his most famous project so far is an indie-folk band, Árstíðir. They are currently recording their 4th album and have already performed in over 30 countries, conquered the hearts of the Russian audience and supported Pain Of Salvation on their European tour in 2013. Moreover, Árstíðir is the…

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