Launching in Liverpool on 29th November until 2nd December, ICE 2007 or ICE07 promises four days when all things Icelandic will descend on the city, as part of Liverpool's year-long 800th birthday celebrations. A gift from the people of Iceland to mark the city's birthday, ICE07 is the UK's first multi-disciplinary festival of Icelandic culture, promising lots of fun for everyone.
The four day festival aims to strengthen Liverpool's centuries-old links to all ports north - especially those originally settled by the Vikings.
Icelandic music - Declare independence
Some of Liverpool's top venues, Including Barfly, Magnet are getting involved and staging gigs by fresh new Icelandic talent, and established, big name acts. Details to be announced very soon. Check back here for latest info, gig dates, and ticket information. These unique events promise to be highly charged, must-see events, showcasing some of the most exciting talent emerging on the world stage.
'Bands here are as diverse and unpredictable as the country...Iceland, and Reykjavik, and the people and musicians, are contradictory, wonderful, viciously embracingthe possibilities of the future'
Joe Shooman, Fly Magazine
'Icelandic Music Scene Ready to Erupt', said Music Week, in Jan 2007, 'Iceland's music scene ia as cool as a glacier: despite having a tiny poulation, the country's musicians are punching well above their weight.'
There's more to Icelandic music than Björk - although, as her last outing - Volta - proves, there's plenty of life left in the shape-shifting pixie.
Somehow, this jagged, isolated land is churning out a heck of a lot of great, important, thrilling music. And the rest of the world is listening. What's more astonishing is the breadth of this music. It is, frankly, amongst the most innovative on the planet. Stretching the boundaries of pop, electronica, alt.folk and thrash metal, Icelanders don't rip up the rule book. They simply make a new one.
Caught halfway between the US and Europe, Icelanders seem reluctant to embrace either musical tradition and, instead, re-invent rather than reinterpret.
This is the sound of a young country, locked in its bedroom, happily playing with itself.
There is no unified formula, though - each outburst is as unique and celebratory as the last. From the scratchy glitch-rock of Mugison, through to the cool blues of Lay Low, and deep techno of Gus Gus, Icelandic music is as twisted, raw and - yes - beautiful, as the landscape it came from. And we'll be bringing a selection of exciting new Icelandic favourites to Liverpool. Want to hear more? ICE2007 recommends the following artists.
GUS GUS http://www.gusgus.com/
Gus Gus were never going to be like any other band. A shape-shifting collective of artists, actors, musicians and filmmakers, they were like a mobile media studies course. But with better-looking students.
This year's 'Forever' continues to mine a Detroit techno vein, with DJ's such as Sasha and Digweed regularly playing it out, to ecstatic response, of course. Glorious, innovative, funky and eclectic - GusGus prove that techno doesn't need to be tedious.
iTunes might be big. It might even be considered clever. But it still can't quite categorize Trabant. Electronica? Rock? Disco? All three? None of the above? Classification issues aside, it's safe to say Trabant are - unlike their East German plastic-car namesake - a freewheeling, shiny and joyous experience, and the most dangerous thing to leave Icelandic shores since Erik the Red. Sexy, dirty, lo-fi and morally unstable - Trabant live is a glimpse into a world where, frankly, none of us could live for too long. But, for an hour or so, we guarantee it's the only place to be.
LAY LOW www.myspace.com/baralovisa
Lay Low's bluesy compositions and ballsy delivery belie the fact that this honest, original 24-year-old Icelandic songsmith is just one album into her hotly tipped career.
Nominated for four awards at the 2006 Iceland Music Awards, and with a gold disc awarded for debut CD 'Please Don't Hate Me' Lay Low's smoky, soulful dramas offer country blues with a dash of pop.
PETUR BEN www.myspace.com/peturben
Guitarist for Icelandic singer Mugison, Petur Ben is poised for greatness. A slight lad with an oversized guitar and similarly large knack with a tune, Ben's time in the sidelines is just about up. Wine for My Weakness is a stunningly mature debut CD, shot through with clever chords and achingly memorable tunes. Only fair, then, that it earned 'Album of the Year' by most of the in-the-know Icelandic publications. Melancholic pop doesn't have to mean James Blunt, you know.
When Lonely Mountain, Mugison's precociously smart-arsed debut announced its arrival a couple of years back, the music press was in a bit of a quandary. Cinematic, tantalising and fired through with enough ideas to fill a box set, it refused to be explained away in a 75 word review. Live, this ex-sailor presents a storm-lashed set which throws in raging guitars set against a sea of pre-programmed electronic washes. It's a thoroughly spine-tingling affair.
When ex-shouty Sugarcuber Einar Örn sets out on a mission to 'top that', you know you're in for something shape-shifting and special. With co-collaborator, Curver (less of a musician, more of a Sonic Screwdriver), the pair cut'n'paste comical raps, breaks and beats and strange, Icelandic tales woven through dreamy soundscapes. Which is why, when Damon's Gorillaz came to town, they hooked up to record a song together, the 'Stop the Damns', featuring the Reykjavik West End Brass Band. If there's a more eclectic musical mash-up in history, we want to hear it.