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REVIEWS

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Grúska Babúska – Tor

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Words by Stína Satanía The review was originally printed in Reykjavík On Stage (Issue 4) Grúska Babúska, a folk pop female collective with a melodic, other-worldly sound, released their self-titled debut album in 2013 and B-Sides Grúska Babúska in 2015. Their authentic fairy-tale style immediately drew attention. The band´s latest release, five-track EP Tor, was mostly written in 2016 during a week long residency in Glastonbury, UK, and dropped on the market on 1 September 2018. On the album, the band captures the influences of the historical, mythical and spiritual heritage of the town of Glastonbury, UK. Here, Amiina meets…

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Ólafur Arnalds´ revolution of sound

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Words by Stína Satanía The review was originally printed in Reykjavík On Stage (Issue 4) Over the years, Ólafur Arnalds has earned acclaim in both the contemporary and classical fields. His fourth solo album, re:member, was released in August on the new post-classical British label Mercury KX, which had already published his 2017 Island Songs as the first album under their umbrella. This time the BAFTA-winning multi-instrumentalist pushed himself out of the comfort zone and managed on just one album, to synchronise all the directions he has been spreading into – it has the classic sound of Ólafur Arnalds, with…

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Catching snowflakes with Árstíðir – Nivalis

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Words by Stína Satanía The review was originally printed in Reykjavík On Stage (Issue 4) As befits the English name of the band, the world of Árstíðir changes with every album – literally, like seasons. Three years have passed since this pop chamber outfit last released an album, Hvel. Much has changed along the way, but from the very beginning of their career, the band performed in a very high gear, which is now deepened with the maturity of their ten years’ experience as performers. One thing remains sure – Árstíðir don’t disappoint despite the quite high degree of my…

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Kontinuum – No Need To Reason

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Words by Andreas Schiffmann The review was originally printed in Reykjavík On Stage (Issue 4) This is dark music that dodges the usual traps, coming across as neither pseudo-evil nor faux melancholy. Kontinuum’s weightless yet substantial sound has always revolved around the voice of multi-instrumentalist and musical director Birgir Þorgeirsson, whose vocal chords arguably rival those of Ulver’s Kristoffer Rygg and Wovenhand’s David Eugene Edwards – both of whom are in their creative prime, like him and his troupe. On No Need to Reason, the frontman’s dominance is perhaps more obvious than ever before as he puts a different stamp…

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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…

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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…

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