laugardagur, júní 30, 2007

Minus Videos - Icelandic Hardcore

Minus Videos
"Romantic Exorcism" (Album "Halldor Laxness")

"Flophouse Nightmares" (Album "Halldor Laxness")

"Insomniac" (Album "Halldor Laxness")

"Angel in disguise" (Album "Halldor Laxness")

"Long face"

Minus Live @ Nordurkjallaranum MH 2006

Minus Live @ The Social, Orlando (2003) (Source:

Minus @ Sjonvarpid (Icelandic TV), 2007

More Minus @

Biography of Bardi Johannsson aka Bang Gang

Bang Gang - Bardi Johannsson

Bardi Johannsson, tall and irregular stands as a man belonging to an Edward Gorey novel casting his shadow far too wide to fit his angular form. Maybe it is so that he is too foreign for even he himself to recognize that he just wasn’t made for these times.
However, the truth remains that he is nothing but a romantic disguised as a phantom lurking in and out of space just as the dead do to simply convince us into believing that sad songs could never feel so good. The love is in his voice and the innocent way he sings his sad songs, oh so forlorn, for happy days.
Bang Gang’s album, ‘Something Wrong’ is haunting, in the most beautifully possible way. The album is surrealistic and atmospheric with his use of pure instrumentation to transcend electronic synthesis. Like an absurd French existential novel Bardi as the orchestrated evil genius dares us to ‘Follow’ him through an oblivion of swirling melody in a hypnotically enchanting fashion where upon he guides us up some lost winding staircase to a place we fear. A place inside our every heartbeat. He makes music to satisfy his own desire and resembles an Icelandic Philip Glass mixed with Jarvis Cocker and Brian Wilson. He presents a pop sensibility juxtapose an avantguard compositional style tailor made to fit the rock n’ roll archetype and yet redefine it. These may be reasons why television producers choose Bang Gang to set the atmosphere in there shows like TV drama The O.C.
Bardi Johannsson defines psychedelic whimsy and evanescence in his side project the soundtrack opus ‘Haxan’ where upon he performs with the National Symphony of Bulgaria. Perhaps it’s the isolation of Iceland, alienated in the ocean like a lonely child standing awaiting reformation that gives its inhabitants such a pride in its individualism. Perhaps it’s the twenty hours a day of sunlight reciprocated against the twenty hours a day of darkness that make up the years reprise that blurs the conventions of dreaming and waking oh so unconvincingly that gives its musicians such an instinctual vigor. The Icelandic landscape reverberates a sound much like Bardi Johannsson’s music; beautifully severe and sublimely painful but nevertheless majestic. Bardi Johannsson illustrates a passion for music like a minister of a congregation yet where upon he baptizes his sound dirty with realism that helps people feel less ashamed of their loneliness.
The French ingénue Keren Ann teams with Johannsson in Bang Gang and yet again to create the dynamic duo known as Lady & Bird in the album Lady & Bird recently released on Yellow Tangerine in the US and on Labels/EMI in Europe. The two resemble a young Lou Reed and Nico and so it is only fitting that they would chose to remake ‘Stephanie Says’ with the drifting innocence in a way that echoed their predecessors.
He outfits as a producer, a fashion designer, director, musician, singer and composer.
In Milan he has a full size statue, in Iceland he is the dark prince who walks the nights alone and in France he is hailed as the next Phil Spector. He depicts the musical side of fashion house Emporio Armani, cosmetics brand Yves Rocher and carmaker Lancia in their television ads. A renaissance man in the truest form he is obsessive, narcissistic, hung-over, mad and romantic. Oceanic and limitless his songs sound much too real and much too beautiful. Bardi Johannsson is an anomaly that blends together Rock’n’Roll and sadness to create a sound that bellows through your body like a misremembered dream and for that he makes us stop in the name of love.

föstudagur, júní 29, 2007

Best Songs by Björk Gudmundsdottir according to HUMO

Björk's Best Songs according to the Belgian Magazine HUMO (2007) as published in "HUMO presenteert Rock Werchter 2007"
(Festival Guide):
  • Hit (1991) with The Sugarcubes
  • Human behaviour (1993)
  • Venus as a boy (1993)
  • Big time sensuality (1993)
  • Crying (1993)
  • Army of me (1995)
  • It's oh so quiet (1995)
  • Hunter 51997)
  • Joga (1997)
  • Bachelorette (1997)
  • All is full of love (1998)
  • Hidden place (2001)
  • Oceania (2004)
  • Triumph of the heart (2005)
  • Earth intruders (2007)

Óðins Raven Magic

Óðins Raven Magic
Collaboration of Sigur Ros, HÖH (Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson), Steindor Andersen and an Icelandic Choir

miðvikudagur, júní 27, 2007

Rimur song by Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson

Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson performing Rimur, traditional Icelandic songs based on the Edda and the Icelandic Sagas.
According to Björk Gudmundsdottir the first "rap music"!
Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson (April 4, 1924 – December 24, 1993), a native of Iceland, was a goði, or Heathen priest. He was instrumental in helping to gain recognition by the Icelandic government for the pre-Christian Norse religion. The Íslenska Ásatrúarfélagið ("Icelandic fellowship of Æsir faith"), which he founded, was officially recognised as a religious body in 1972.

Sveinbjörn lived his entire life in West Iceland. From 1944 on, he was a sheep farmer while also pursuing literary interests on the side. He published a book of rímur in 1945, a textbook on the verse forms of rímur in 1953, two volumes of his own verse in 1957 and 1976, and edited several anthologies.

Sveinbjörn was regarded with much respect and affection amongst Ásatrú and Heathens. Not only was he a well known rímur singer, or kvæðamaður, in Iceland, he also gained an audience and followers in Europe and North America. Sveinbjörn can be heard performing Ásatrú marriage rites for Genesis and Paula P-Orridge (now Alaura O'Dell) on Psychic TV's LP Live in Reykjavik and on the double LP entitled Those who do not. Additionally, former Psychic TV member David Tibet (né David Michael Bunting) released a CD of Sveinbjörn performing his own rímur and reciting the traditional Poetic Edda under the title Current 93 presents Sveinbjörn 'Edda' in two editions through the now defunct World Serpent Distribution.

The Sugarcubes Documentary

A documentary about The Sugarcubes, the most famous Icelandic band and the start of Björk's international success.

Interview with Bardi Johannsson

My Town: Reykjavik
Bardi Johannsson
’s Icelandic Grand Tour

Alisa Gould-Simon, February the 9th, 2007

Perhaps it’s insomnia –-- an unfortunate by-product of Iceland’s seemingly endless dark winter days -- or the island’s inexhaustible supply of picturesque landscapes. Maybe it’s the elves – rumored to have inhabited Reykjavik, the country’s capital and its surrounding towns for centuries. Whatever the root, it’s safe to assume Reykjavik-based Bardi Johannsson – producer/composer/director - doesn’t sleep much.

In the last seven years, Johannsson has produced two widely acclaimed indie pop albums – via the porthole Bang Gang, a band Johansson founded and in which he sings the lead (think Beach Boys meets another Icelander, Björk). In 2004, he screened his surrealistic short film Red Death at the Centre Pompidou. Not to mention, Johansson has been working on a ‘side-project,’ Lady & Bird, with French female singer-songwriter Keren Ann, and has directed and produced scores of music videos and albums for fellow Icelandic artists.

Johannsson is not only a workhouse, but an artist heavily influenced by his surroundings. So, we figured, what better host to Iceland’s majestic landscapes, and its flourishing contemporary culture? In his own words:

What are you working on right now?
I’m currently promoting Something Wrong, working on songs for the next Bang Gang album [slated for release September 2007]. Also, I am having some exciting musical collaborations… no names dropped. Thinking about the next videos and a short film that will follow my next record.

How has Iceland shaped your work – musically, visually, etc?
We are a very small nation. Only 300,000 people. Therefore... you sometimes become naive and don’t understand very well how big cities work. For example on my first trip to Paris, I was trying to get a bartender’s attention because I was thirsty. The queue was long so I gave my credit card to the next person and asked him to buy me a couple of beers.... he ran away with my card. In Iceland you can forget your card on the bar table and it’s there the day after.
Musically it can be good to be from Iceland, as you are quite isolated and you feel free. Not a lot of people buy indie music so you can feel free to make whatever you want. That helps when you go abroad where people are following trends too much.
Visually it does you bad. We are so used to the beautiful landscapes that it becomes claustrophobic to go to big cities.

Do you think that the island is really inhabited by elves?
Do you believe in Hobbits? Do you believe in Santa Claus? Do you believe that the stork brings the children and your parents never had sex? Do you belief that girls don't fart... I do.

How would you describe Iceland in five words or less?
Best place on earth.

What is the biggest drawback of living on an island amidst such a small population?
If you have an Icelandic girlfriend... you can be 90% sure that you are related to her at least 5 generations back. Sometimes less. Everybody is your uncle or cousin.

What is the greatest perk of living on an island amidst such a small population?
You are safe. For example, if someone breaks into your house, you can be sure it is your uncle or cousin... so crime is easy to solve.

What is one thing every first timer must do when visiting Iceland?
If you come during a weekend you should drop by the Blue Lagoon on the way from the airport. Then go directly to the next bar. If you come during the week, you should go to the Blue Lagoon, rent a car and drive around the Island. You can go the entire circle in 3 days, if you skip sleeping. Maybe you’ll see elves on the last day (if you don’t sleep).

If you could go anywhere on the island, where would you go?
I would go to Asbyrgi in the North of Iceland. It is indescribable beauty. Forest and lake surrounded by mountains shaped like a horseshoe. There is a nice lake, good echo in the cliffs if you shout; the weather is always still because the shape of the cliffs makes a shelter for wind.

What aspect of Iceland inspires you most?
The darkness all winter and brightness all summer.

Are porramaturs [traditional Icelandic dishes including picked ram’s testicles and singed sheep heads] a common dish? And, where would you recommend going to try a few?
Actually it’s the time of these delicacies now. Yesterday I was eating all these dishes. But don’t forget the Icelandic vodka, Brennivin. Goes well with the testicles.
I like to eat at a place called TAPAS BAR, also I like VEGAMOT. APOTEK is a very nice and "fancy" place and sometimes I go to have a burger at BSÍ (mostly hangover food though). I am not much of a snob. For me, food is just fuel to be able to make it through the day without feeling pain in my stomach.

Best local bands? And where do you go to see them live or buy their latest LP’s?
I would recommend Bang Gang, Singapore Sling and Dikta.

Places to see live music are not many in Reykjavik. The best place is the Reykjavik Museum of Art. It’s an outdoor venue in the middle of the museum. The sound is not always the best, but if the place is packed it is o.k. My favorite place to buy music is in the living room of my studio. There I sit with my laptop and buy from Icelandic record shops do not in 70% of cases have what I am looking for.

Reykjavik is starting to be recognized as a hub for innovative fashion design. Where’s the best place to snag pieces from local designers?
We are starting to have some really good designers here. Finally. 5 years ago it was a mess. Now, yes! There are some nice shops in the center. The designer Steinunn is quite good. Also I am impressed by Sruli Recht. Usually I don’t go shopping that much in Iceland. I stay in my studio and make music when I am there. More time to shop when I go abroad.

Where do all the best looking Icelandic youths go to party until the sun rises?
In Iceland we don’t drink during the week. If you have a beer during lunch, you are alcoholic. But if you are crawling on the bar floor and vomiting on yourself during the weekends... you’re having fun!
I go to Sirkus or Boston. Same owner; same people that hang out there. Nice music most of the time and people with similar interests... music & partying. Can write a book about my experiences from the Icelandic bars. Have no time to spend there anymore but was a local for a while.

Best hotel in town?
Since we are starting promo: 101 Reykjavik – it’s known for quality and good service; I’ve had some nice moments there... and by the way... don’t forget to fly with Icelandair.

þriðjudagur, júní 26, 2007

Amiina Interview

Amiina - No More Learning Kurrves

Nick Pickles, 5/2007

The four girls of Amiina began playing together 10 years ago, after meeting at the Reykjavík College of Music.

Playing as a string quartet, the band only began to spread their wings into its current multi-instrumental incarnation in 2004.

Since then they have released two EPs and continued to work on the array of songs now being readied for release as debut long player Kurr, in between touring with long standing collaborators Sigur Rós.

The recording of the album was by no means a simple process, and was held back by a gruelling tour schedule, as chief viola player Edda Rún Ólafsdóttir explained when we caught up with her for a chat.
"The album took a long time to record, because we were always on tour. But I don’t think that matters, because we are so young, as a band. But we're really happy with it - it turned out exactly how we imagined it."

There is undoubtedly an element of innocence in Amiina's sound, surprising given their seven years on the road with Sigur Rós. Recorded in Iceland "little by little," Kurr is a remarkable record in many ways, if not only for the array of instruments featured. Alongside guitars, keyboards and mandolins, Kurr features a saw, Celtic harps, metalophones, singing wine glasses, xylophones, glockenspiels, harmoniums, kalimbas, a Rhodes piano, synthesisers and tubas.

"We played pretty much everything ourselves," continues Edda. "Orri from Sigur Rós played drums on Lori, but the rest was us."

"It's a nice feeling to think the people at our shows have come to see us.."
- Edda Rún Ólafsdóttir on Amiina stepping out of Sigur Rós' shadow.

However, such a setup doesn't come without its problems. "It can be pretty crazy - live it's sometimes difficult to get everything ready!" And with the live shows comes the need to recreate as much of the song fabric as possible, with each band member changing instruments and adopting a certain role within the band. This is not without its challenges. "We have to practice more on certain instruments - the harp is kind of tricky!"

The Sigur Rós collaboration saw them playing huge sell-out concerts and could easily have overshadowed their own music. Amiina don't see it like that. They first played alongside Sigur Rós in 1999, and joined them on their recent Takk tour as both the support act and as a part of the main set, but for Amiina it's all part of the experience.

"We've been working with them for seven years and it's been a really good experience. But now it's a nice feeling to think the people at our shows have come to see us." And come they have. With recent dates up and down the UK selling out, and a packed showcase set at the Great Escape festival in Brighton for UK label Ever Records bringing more critical acclaim, it's clear that Amiina are not without a following.

And now the band are ready to take on the world with Kurr, a record they're are excited with, and a mastery of all things harp related. You might not hear Amiina's quiet, reflective textures from miles away, but when they approach you'd be well advised to listen closely.


Hafdis Huld Interview

Hafdis Huld - On Blueberries, Balls and Bands

Matt Dyson, 6/2007

Hafdis Huld, sometime member of Gus Gus and Icelandic indie film actress, quietly released her debut album Dirty Paper Cup in 2006. caught up with her at Brighton's Great Escape to hear how Dolly Parton is amongst her influences, that she can do an upper-crust English accent to hilarious effect and that her British band are being taken blueberry-picking in Iceland...

There are as many British guitar bands as there are pebbles on the beach at Brighton's Great Escape Festival. So it would be easy to miss Hafdis Huld, hunched outside a café, squeezing her tiny frame into a chair and under a hat.
Yet the acclaimed Icelandic pop-folk chanteuse's music stands out like a marooned Viking ship. Full of sharp wit, assured melodies and enough charm to melt a glacier, it is music as beguilingly unique as Hafdis' native Iceland. And, no, she sounds nothing like Björk.

"It doesn't fit in at all but that's the way I like it. I decided to go with the music and arrangements that supported the stories I was telling in my songs rather than something that made me look trendy and fashionable, because I'm not anyway," says Hafdis.

Having immersed herself in dance culture at the turn of the century, Hafdis was keen to bring her character to the forefront.

"When I did this first album I really didn't have any plans other than to tell my story. I did electronica with Gus Gus and I really just wanted to go back to basics and write songs with a start, middle and end. I've been in bands where it is all about a good groove but with the songwriters I like its all very personal. You know, like Dolly Parton? Back to basics."

The idea of Dolly Parton being a key influence, seems as unlikely as a seal in a Stetson. It is also the sort of surreal comic image that wouldn't be out of place during her live show. As well as turning music on its head, Hafdis is becoming as well known for having the audience rolling in the aisles. Her between song banter could rival most working stand-ups.

"My mum said she was really excited when I said my first words at eight months but that was before they realised that I wasn't going to stop after that point..." - Hafdis Huld, in chatty mood

"My mum said she was really excited when I said my first words at eight months but that was before they realised that I wasn't going to stop after that point. Thing is, these songs are so personal to me and I'm talking to a room full of people. So of course, I have to explain a lot of things and try and lighten the mood with jokes."

It makes sense but must be a struggle, back home on those cold, daylight starved winter nights in Iceland.

"I wouldn't know as I've not played there. My album was released in England, than France and Spain, then it came out in Iceland. I'm playing my first gig in Iceland in a month's time, which is weird as the album has been getting most awards and recognition there."

So what does the returning local heroine have planned?

"I'm taking the whole band to stay with mum and dad. They are all Brits, by the way. We'll pick blueberries, go swimming and grandmother will knit them woolly mittens and hopefully they'll never want to leave. So we'll play loads of gigs in Iceland. That's my plan."

Having spent so much time away, it is little wonder that Hafdis is eager to reconnect with her motherland. Does she feel anglicised from her time on this grey and cack coated island?

"Well Sarah (guitarist) is teaching me to be an English rose (adopts her best posh English) 'that went absolutely swimmingly' and 'what a ghastly idea'. As you know Icelandic girls don't have that reputation. The thing that I still find funny is that real people say whoops-a-daisy. They actually do!"

What about the people of London, those that Pete Doherty and that gummy-toothed Jamie T sing about?

"Cockney rhyming slang is weird. Someone came up to me and said 'those pears are doing me 'ed in. Oh wait, I did learn something yesterday from Mark Riley, the radio guy. He did a dance with a puppet and taught me 'jobs a good 'en'."

And how would the Brits get by in Iceland?

"It's actually a sheep's face, cooked so the hair goes off and it's black and burnt, then they cut it in half. So you have half of the head and half of the tongue and the eye is looking at you..." - Hafdis Huld on Iceland's national dish

"Say (insert an unpronouncable sentence). You just said: Can I have one with everything on it. And that is what you need to know. So you're going to be starving, in need of a hot dog in downtown Reykjavik at 6am and will think 'thank you Hafdis'. They have these little picnic seats in January and it's like minus 15 and you're still sitting there, pissed out of your head, going 'mmm I'm well cool because of my Viking blood'."

You heard it here first - even in most northernly outposts of the globe, people get drunk and eat crap.

"It is universal. Besides, our national dish scares everybody and make us seems freaky because it's actually a sheep's face, cooked so the hair goes off and it's black and burnt, then they cut it in half. So you have half of the head and half of the tongue and the eye is looking at you. And they eat the eye. And they have pickled sheeps' testicles." Lovely! "It is not that they want to scare people when doing interviews in Brighton, it is just because the country was very poor and they had to eat whatever they could."

So does this mean that we're to expect a second album full of cockney rhyming slang electro-folk, penned drunk and fuelled by hotdogs?

"No. After this we are going to France with Paolo Nutini where there will be lots of French girls screaming 'Paolo, we want your babies!' then I'm going to make a film in Iceland and then I'm just going to sit in my mum's kitchen and speak Icelandic."

Disappointing. Still, it sounds a hundred times more interesting than what local Brighton boys The Kooks have got planned.


Björk performing "Oceania" Live @ Olympic Games

Björk performing the song "Oceania" (written by Sjon) at the opening of the Olympic Games, Athens, 2004

Song of the 15. Week Dyrdin with "Hunangdropar"

Dyrdin performing "Hunangdropar" is Song of the 15. Week.

mánudagur, júní 25, 2007

Asatru Meeting featuring Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson & Steindor Andersen

Icelandic Musicians involved in Asatru
Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson (HÖH), former member of Psychic TV, now film score composer, collaborated with Sigur Ros, Einar Örn Benediktsson and many others

Movie on Asatru

Rimur Singer: Steindor Andersen, collaborated with Sigur Ros
Source of Asatru Movie:
Iceland Review online

Sigur Ros Beautiful Video

Sigur Ros

laugardagur, júní 23, 2007

7oi - Album for free on MySpace

What says 7oi on his MySpace and on Iceland Airwaves website:
Jói. (\701 is the digitalization of my name)
I was born and raised in Ísafjörður, where I also made my first steps in music. It started around 1995 when my parents gave me a programmable keyboard. From there I moved on to a computer about a year later, using various small programs to construct small songs. Since the year 2000 I’ve made three albums, which I released by myself. The last one, “Þið eruð ekki að taka mig nógu bókstaflega” is the only one currently available through My fourth album is in the works and is planned for release in the UK soon. I’m currently studying music composition at the Iceland academy of the arts.
As an electronic musician, I enjoy the various strange noises I can squeeze out of my equipment. I love making the noises fight each other and work together, to stack them up and strip them down, speed them up or screw up their rhythm. But those noises can never replace a good melody. Melodies are the most important in music. What’s a song without a good melody?
Yup, a video

I Adapt - Sleepless in Reykjavik (Episode # 6)

Episode #6 of "Sleepless in Reykjavik" featuring the band I Adapt:

Live Video of I Adapt On Tour, concert in Souderton (PA):

More on I Adapt:
More "Sleepless in Reykjavik" episodes by director SirGussi:

þriðjudagur, júní 19, 2007

Song of the 14. Week: Benni Hemm Hemm with "Snjór Ljós Snjór"

14. Week: Benni Hemm Hemm with "Snjór Ljós Snjór"
Lyrics of Snjór Ljós Snjór

Snjór ljós snjór ljós
ljós snjór ljós snjór

Bylgjast upp fjallið og verður að steini

Snjór ljós snjór ljós
ljós snjór ljós snjór

Ég sé ekki neitt
ég sé ekki neitt
en ég veit að hér er snjór
og ég veit að hér er ljós

More on BHH @

Song of the 13. Week

Þór (Thor) Eldon and Dagur Sigurdarson with "Daudaskammtur" was Song of the 13. Week.

laugardagur, júní 16, 2007

Grýlurnar performing “Gulluríð” - Movie Rokk i Reykjavik (1982)

Icelandic band Grýlurnar performing “Gulluríð” on Rokk í Reykjavík, a documentary directed by Friðrik Þór Friðriksson and premiered in 1982.
Band members
Vocals and keyboard: Ragnhildur Gísladótir.
Guitar: Inga Rún Palmadóttir.
Bass: Herdís Hallvarðsdóttir.
Drums: Linda Björk Hreiðarsdóttir.

Grýlurnar - "Gulluríð"

"Nature is ancient" - a Video by a fan

Björk's "Nature is ancient" Video

Björk Live @ Coachella Festival (2007)

Björk Live @ Coachella Festival (2007)
"Earth Intruders"

"Declare Independence"




"Pleasure is all mine"

"Army of me"


"All is full of love"


"Pagan Poetry"




"Hyperballad" and "Pluto"

Björk Live @ Later with Jools Holland (2007)

Björk @ Later with Jools Holland, 8th of June 2007
"Earth Intruders"

"Declare Independence"

"The Anchor Song"

Interview of Jools Holland with Björk

fimmtudagur, júní 14, 2007

Amiina Album "Kurr" - A mini Website

The site of Ever Records presents the first album by Amiina "Kurr"
You can listen to some sound bits and see a short documentary about Amiina.
More information @

þriðjudagur, júní 12, 2007

Biggi Website

This week Biggi put his website online:
Biggi is Birgir Örn Steinarsson, singer/guitarist of influencial Icelandic indie rock band Maus. After Maus went on hiatus late 2004 he moved from his hometown of Reykjavik, Iceland, to London late 2004, to focus on the birth of his first solo effort, “id”. A beautiful meloncholic album produced by Tim Simenon and Geoff Smith. Released by 12 tónar in Iceland and Scandinavia in mid October 2006 and is scheduled for release in the Uk and Germany through 12 tónar via Cargo records later this year.
Biggi just moved back to Reykjavik where he is currently working on his second solo effort. Even though the process is going swiftly there are no plans on releasing it this year.
Maus has also a website:
12 Tonar Label website:

Song of the 13. Week by Thor Eldon and Dagur Sigurdarson

Þór Eldon Þórsson (aka Thor Eldon) and Dagur Sigurdarson "Daudaskammtur" is song of the 13. Week.

Song of the 12. Week

Olöf Arnalds' song "I nyju husi" was Song of the 12. Week.

laugardagur, júní 09, 2007

Clubbing in Reykjavik Anno 2003

Reykjavik, Iceland: The King of Clubs
By Seth Hamblin
Washington Post, May 4th, 2003

Pounding dance beats outside my hotel window woke me from a deep disco nap. I was confused. It was only 10 p.m., way too early for the action to begin in downtown Reykjavik.
I threw open the old wooden shutters that held back the near constant daylight of the Icelandic summer. In the courtyard behind the Hotel Borg, teenage models accessorized with electrical tape and painted with raccoon-style eye makeup were strutting down a catwalk to clattery electro music while trying not to shiver in the cold weather. They flashed bored looks to photographers and voyeurs wearing light parkas before heading back to shelter.
While I had come to Reykjavik to check out the city's notorious party scene, it turned out I was at ground zero of Iceland Fashion Week, an annual summer event. I took a quick shower in the eggy-smelling geyser water that flowed through the hotel's plumbing and headed downstairs. I felt relieved when models I encountered in the elevator smelled as eggy as me.
It may be rugged, typically chilly, remote and reeking of sulfuric geysers, but Reykjavik has managed to find a spot next to such beach wonderlands as Goa and Ibiza as one of the world's renowned party destinations. The legendary beauty and free-spiritedness of the Icelanders have captured the imagination of young Americans and Brits, and inexpensive stopovers have made the world's northernmost capital an easy hop away.
The buzz over Iceland's music scene began in the late 1980s, when Bjork's band, the Sugarcubes, hit the airwaves with its charmingly awkward pop music. A string of other Icelandic bands, including Gus Gus and Sigur Ros, followed over the next decade. To top it off, Damon Albarn of the British band Blur bought into a Reykjavik nightclub, and Pulp's lead singer, Jarvis Cocker, began hanging out in the city.
The music press caught on, and the jet set arrived in droves. Soon the land of the midnight sun became a regular backdrop for music festivals and fashion shows, and a stop for touring deejays.
Beeing a deejay myself, I had always wanted to experience the dance floors in Iceland, so I booked a stopover in Reykjavik on my way to London. The fare, including my Iceland leg, was about the same as what other airlines were charging for direct Washington-London flights. The Icelandair package included a stay at the Hotel Borg, which I chose for its 1930s art deco style and its location, within stumbling distance of Reykjavik's night life.
At 10:30 p.m. near Hotel Borg, dozens of tall, thin, graceful people were lounging at sidewalk cafes drinking beer or coffee and contemplating dinner. I headed into Apotek, a restaurant a few doors down from my hotel. Though the room was nearly empty, I was seated next to a young German tourist so I'd have someone to talk with.
By 11 p.m., the stylish restaurant was filling with large groups of Icelanders in leather pants or suits eating salmon carpaccio, the tables cluttered with cell phones as party preparations began.
Reykjavik's night life clusters on a short span of the main street Laugavegur and its offshoots. The first club I hit on the strip was Astro, a long, squat building around the corner from the hotel. A hulking blond doorman with a headset was checking IDs to make sure patrons were at least 20, Iceland's drinking age. I asked him for advice on night life.
"Find yourself a drunk chick and she'll show you all the best places in town," he said. This turned out to be easy, as a minute later a girl stumbling into the club off the street offered me the rest of her half-finished bottle of beer.
Astro's lush interior, conceived by British designer Michael Young, has little to do with the structure's dumpy exterior shell. Resin-coated walls give the main room an icy feel, and the glowing wall behind the bar slowly changes color, evoking Iceland's frequent natural light show, the northern lights. Spiky-haired club kids in suits or fitted outfits were drinking top-shelf liquor and chatting freely as if they all knew one another. Around a corner, a half-full dance floor throbbed to Young MC's "Bust a Move." When I pulled out my camera, dancers eagerly posed and showed off their grinding moves.
Travelers used to big-city venues like Nation in Washington or Ministry of Sound in London might be disappointed by the often radio-friendly music and small size of the Reykjavik clubs. Located on the same square as the Hotel Borg, NASA is as close as you'll get to a super-club in Reykjavik. A wee door on an unadorned building lets you into a room a touch larger than a basketball court.
It has all the normal club trappings: several bars, balconies, flashing lights and a stage for exhibitionists. Video images of the dancers are projected onto the back wall, making the club look a lot deeper than it really is. Club anthems from the past 10 years throb from gargantuan speakers. Vats of ice with bottles of beer tucked into them lie at the edge of the dance floor for those who are too in-the-moment to leave for the bar.
Hanging out on a balcony, I tried to reconcile how this Armani-clad mass shimmying to Kylie Minogue could have descended from fierce Viking raiders. Soon a girl came up to me and started talking in Viking gibberish. I told her I didn't speak Icelandic. She effortlessly switched to English and brought me over to meet her friends gyrating near the deejay booth.
I left NASA sometime after 2 a.m. and continued exploring Reykjavik in the eerie twilight. A steady stream of cars and motorcycles rolled lazily along, the Icelanders hollering and waving to packs of friends on the sidewalk. Eventually the main street deposited them onto a square at the edge of downtown. There a tough-looking pack of a few dozen tattooed, leather-clad bikers hung out and occasionally rode back into the parade.
Along the route, dance music spilled out of many of the restaurants and cafes, which transform by night into dozens of mini-discotheques. I popped into Kaffibarrin, which was also hopping. The red, corrugated metal pub looks quaint from the outside, but it's famous for its use in the classic independent film "101 Reykjavik," a bawdy story about a young Icelandic slacker, and for its rock-star part-owner, Albarn. Inside, tourists and locals were doing their best to re-create the frenzied party scene depicted in the movie.
I made it back to the hotel by 5 a.m. London remained ahead with its far-flung, cavernous clubs that would be a challenge to get to, let alone get into. I crawled beneath the thick down comforter and listened to the Viking-speak from the parade of happy Icelanders outside who seemed determined to last as long as the summer sunlight.

Seth Hamblin deejays in Washington at Spy Lounge and Kingpin.

Bang Gang "Find what you get" - The Acoustic version

Indigo TV

Tonvis - An Icelandic investment fund for musicians

FL Group launches Tonvis an investment fund for musicians

FL Group has set up Tonvis, a new investment fund which will finance the entry of Icelandic musicians into foreign markets. The fund is the first of its kind in Iceland and has a starting capital is ISK 200 million. The aim is to be hands-on, monitoring carefully the musicians and their development. The fund will accordingly put its efforts into few but rather large projects, but unlike most funds that invest in culture, it will both share the risks with the artists and also possible profits. Future profit will be used to enlarge the fund and strengthen its operations.

The board of Directors of Tonvis has already decided upon the funds two first projects which include operatenor Gardar Thor Cortes and musician, composer and performer Bardi Johannsson of Bang Gang.

Gardar Thor Cortes started his solo carrier in Iceland as late as last year with one of Iceland’s best selling albums ever and will tour Britain in the autum with Katherine Jenkins, a multiple Brit Award winner.
He will release his first album in Britain on February 5th 2007.
Bardi Johannsson has already made a name for himself and Bang Gang in Europe, especially in France and is currently working on his first album for the US market.
The Managing Director of Tonvis will be Tryggvi Jonsson.