sunnudagur, janúar 21, 2007

Worm Is Green

Arni Teitur Asgeirsson asked his longtime friends from his hometown of Akranes, Iceland (population 5,500) to flesh out his melodic soundscapes. Solidifying into a group, Worm Is Green began recording the songs that would become Automagic, released overseas last year on Iceland's Thule Musik (home of Mum and The Funerals) and now available in the U.S. on The Arena Rock Recording Co.

Critically praised throughout Europe, Automagic is a wondrous album that pairs Asgeirsson's intricate sound constructions with a potent rhythm section and the haunting, otherworldly vocals of Gudridur Ringsted. Her ethereal singing peppers a record that flits between ambient dream pop and slightly menacing electro-organic music with beats.

Ringsted shines brightest on a risky cover of Joy Division's beloved "Love Will Tear Us Apart," a dramatically different take on a classic that was recorded as a request from Thule Musik's owner. "He wanted to hear a chillout version with female vocals," Asgeirsson notes. "The result was very surprising, and everybody liked it, so we decided to put it alongside the other tracks we'd previously recorded for Automagic" Elsewhere, Worm Is Green focus on creating their own memorable songs, starting in Asgeirsson's bedroom, and in one case, at his grandfather's jewelry shop, where he recorded samples of Icelandic stones rubbing together and turned them into beats. Once the original ideas are in place, the musicians craft the songs in the studio. While the band's music has dark overtones, a sense of humor comes across in songs like "The Robot Has Got The Blues," and in the quirky melodic turns of the aquatic "Walk Thru."

"We take our work seriously, but the humor is what keeps us together," says Asgeirsson.

This playfulness carries over into the band's own description of its hard to peg sound. Jonsson once told a Finnish TV interviewer, "We are like Lionel Richie. Only newer. And not with the Commodores.

" Perhaps, but a more apt comparison is to British new wave and pop, Factory and 4AD bands, even Portishead. That's all for others to ponder, though, while Worm Is Green stay trained on the future. Automagic earned them a nomination for best new act in Iceland's music awards, and the band was still jelling as the record came together. Now with a few years of experience both in the studio and on stage, the musicians are on a mission to develop their sound further. Plans include adding more vocals and touring extensively.

"We consider our live show being our greatest aspect," says Asgeirsson. "We deliver electronic music in a new way, with a live drummer, vocals, bass player and two synth maniacs. It's very chilled out and laid back, but everything is possible. We've played shows more reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails than Worm Is Green.

" Until you get a chance to see Worm Is Green live, check out Automagic, a record that aligns the band with Iceland's skewed geniuses (Bjork, Sigur Ros) and incorporates sounds that conjure up images of purple sunsets, jagged cliffs and stark landscapes. However, as Asgeirsson puts it, "We aren't really walking on glaciers on an everyday basis."

Arni Teitur Asgeirsson: Programming & Synthesizer
Bjarni Thor Hannesson: Sampler & Synthesizer
Thorsteinn Hannesson: Drums
Vilberg Hafsteinn Jonsson: Bass
Gudridur Ringsted: Vocals

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