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REVIEWS

Blóðmör – Líkþorn

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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…

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Thought Spun of Myrra Rós

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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…

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Rauður – Semilunar

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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…

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

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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…

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Lucy In Blue – In Flight

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Words by Andreas Schiffmann With regard to Lucy In Blue, you find yourself once again seeing practically all the confirmed stereotypes that accompany contemporary music from Iceland but in a good way. The group’s current album sounds far removed from the world (otherworldly in the truest sense of the word) with its chill overall aesthetics that seem to be aimed at the ever-growing audience for what is generally–and vaguely–called ‘post-rock’. By now, while one struggles to pinpoint what this term actually means, it’s safe to say that it encompasses a certain aloofness or distance, which is also palpable on In Flight. The band’s primary trademarks might be the androgynous lead vocals and often downright grandiose organ arrangements. In contrast, however, the band writes in a relatively straightforward way, resulting in songs which rarely surpass the five-minute mark. After the aptly named introduction ‘Alight, Pt. 1’, a rather tranquil take-off for…

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Paint it bold – Ahoy Side A by Svavar Knútur

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Words by Stína Satanía What defines the Icelandic music scene, in my opinion, is community. With his wonderful recent album – 2018’s Ahoy Side A – gifted local legend Svavar Knútur has proven that the greatest strength of a project lies in the musical friendship that grows around it. Although he is known for his acoustic and intimate song-writing, built around ukulele and guitar, and his soft voice, Svavar Knútur has explored a more band-oriented soundscape this time. Several years ago, he was performing at Aldrei Fór Ég Suður festival in West Fjords, and I was watching the broadcast from 4,000 km away. He needed only his warm, resounding vocals and a ukulele. So, I dare say that Iceland has no better entertainer and storyteller than Mr Knútur. He has been an important voice on the local scene, which has built up from his skyrocketing band, Hraun, in the 2000s,…

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When Old Becomes New Again: The Vintage Caravan

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Words by Eric van Reem Many new bands from across the world seem to have discovered their parents’ – or perhaps even their grandparents’ – record collections! It is no coincidence that the revival of vinyl in recent years has resulted in a revival of rock bands from the late sixties and early seventies that played psychedelic blues rock. Isn’t it great that young musicians are rummaging through old record collections and uncovering and listening to the music of bands like Cream, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin or King Crimson? Right now, bands throughout the world seem to be gaining inspiration from the seventies. Kadavar from Germany, Blues Pills and Graveyard from Sweden, Birth of Joy from the Netherlands and the Rival Sons from the USA, to name a few, have listened carefully to those old records. In this maze of bands and music going retro, Iceland is represented by The…

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Where will Marteinn Sindri’s Atlas lead you?

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A few years back, Marteinn Sindri’s performance at the Melodica Festival in Reykjavík gave me massive goosebumps. This classically trained pianist from Iceland can easily cast a spell on the audience with the delicateness of his touching and heartfelt singer-songwriter performances. After four years of careful sound-sculpturing, the full-length solo debut from Marteinn Sindri, entitled Atlas, finally landed in our hands on 16 May 2019. The album reveals minimalistic yet wide and elegant arrangements. On Atlas, everything seems to be in its place with a cast of no fewer than twelve exceptional contributing musicians, amongst them the world-renowned composer and instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily. Lyrically, Atlas muses over the lot of humanity, which is never stagnant and has highs and lows. The album demands that one be in a constant state of searching and even more problematically, of reflection. Atlas is not only inspired by the figure of the mythical giant…

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He wants to alter your every ego trip

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Words by Wim Van Hooste The review was originally printed in Reykjavík On Stage (Issue 4) After being introduced to synths and drum machines by Icelandic icon and producer Hermigervill, Davíð Berndsen developed a groovy pump-up-the-jam, retro sound. His debut album, Lover in the Dark (Borgin 2009), gave him some international exposure, and it was re-released in 2011 by 101berlin in Germany and in Japan on the Donuts Pop label, and in 2012 by Geertruida in the Netherlands. His second release, Planet Earth (2013), is the perfect music to strut around to, dressed to kill in your fishnet gloves, shoulder pads, leopard leggings and slouch socks. The third album by this ginger-bearded redhead, Alter Ego (OX Records), also mines the 1980s for inspiration for his electropop music. The longplayer was funded by a successful Karolina Fund campaign. The record is driven by the Dutch connection, as all three studied in…

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The World Is Not Enough

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Words by Stína Satanía The review was originally printed in Reykjavík On Stage (Issue 4) Since 2003, the Reykjavík-based English–Icelandic musician, producer and singer-songwriter Joseph Cosmo Muscat has funnelled his music through different aesthetics, and now has had several projects under his belt, from metal (Celestine, formed in 2007) to hardcore punk (I Adapt), from electro to hip hop (Rímnariki). Last summer he dropped his third dreamy electronic solo album, entitled The World Is Not Enough, under the name Seint. On this album Seint was influenced by the sudden passing of his life-long friend IngólfurBjarni Kristinsson in 2017, to whom The World Is Not Enough is dedicated. Their sonic closeness is mirrored in ‘Guð’ (‘God’), where Joseph Cosmo Muscat honours his friend’s memory in the most accurate way, by letting his late friend’s voice be heard in the chorus. Though still a bit melancholic and with a thread of heartbreak,…

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