Words by Wim Van Hooste
The review was originally printed in Reykjavík On Stage (Issue 2)
Especially when I’m lonely, I need the noises of destruction (Nick Lowe, 1978)
GlerAkur (Glass Field) is the moniker of Elvar Geir Sævarsson, the sound designer at the National Theatre of Iceland. Down in the basement bar of the theatre, composer Elvar and friends (the longplayer was recorded with 4 guitarists, 2 drummers and 1 bassist) blended a full album featuring fierce and cinematic music. The hypnotic drone, metal riffs, eery ambient and post-rock make up a quadripoint where quality quantums meet. The album was released by the German label Prophecy Productions on 21. July 2017. One year earlier, GlerAkur’s debut EP, Can’t You Wait, saw the light of day. The EP was nominated for a Kraumur Award, one of the few Icelandic music prizes.
A Rolling Stone magazine journalist, attending Iceland Airwaves Festival ‘16, hailed GlerAkur’s music as ‘brutally irresistible’, calling for comparison to ‘Metallica covering the live half of Pink Floyd’s 1969 album Ummagumma.’ Furthermore, he added:
‘What seemed at first to be huge, gray slabs of unrelenting distortion proved, over a full set’s exposure, to be four guitarists issuing multiple, weaving strands of sustain and harmonic feedback, resolving into slow-motion melodies hammered into the air by two drummers.’
You have to open your eyes (and ears) in track I, ‘Augin Opin’. No Snow Patrol and Guano Apes needed to stop the R.E.M. The magnificent guitar play will get you out of your lazy bed, and after 6 minutes a breakfast with bacon & scrambled eggs is served. ‘Can’t you wait’ got an album version make-over, but keeping the hypnotizing drums and a gloomy and doomy atmosphere. Waiting for World War III… Track n°3, ‘HallAlone’, is opening like an Amorphophallus titanium, only once a year you can get this Giant Arum experience. ‘Strings’ is moving any mountain after 15 minutes. The fifth track is the title track, as beautiful as the mountains, probably dedicated to the church mountain Kirkjufell Or was it Esja? Or the Queen of Mountains, Iceland’s own table mountain ‘Herðubreið’? Fifty minutes encores, track VI-X, you’ll get with the 2CD. More ‘Strings’ attached in this apocalyptic apotheosis.
The eclectic epos The mountains are beautiful now is an experimental run up the hills with Elvar and his crew. No music for the masses, but definitely a master(of puppets)piece. I just can’t get enough after almost 2 hours on the dark side of the moon.
GlerAkur – The Mountains Are Beautiful Now
1. Augun Opin
2. Can’t You Wait
5. Fagurt er á fjöllunum núna