föstudagur, nóvember 30, 2007

Making of "Declare Independence" Video by Michel Gondry for Björk

French Academy Award-winning director Michel Gondry continues his rich music video history with Björk, with the Icelandic singer's epic anthem, Declare Independence. Inspired by Björk's electricifying live show, the video was filmed in Long Island City, NY, and features an unusual and elaborate set, not to mention a mid-air suspended bassist in Mark Bell. Björk, meanwhile, sings through a megaphone, transforming her voice into endless flowing colors. "Björk and I's work together is based on trust and friendship," Gondry, who's now directed seven of her videos, explains.
Have an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the making of 'Declare Independence.' Come back on December 6 for the premiere of the full video, exclusively on Spinner:


þriðjudagur, nóvember 27, 2007

BBC Longlist The Next Big Thing 2007 with 1 Icelandic band "Hraun"

The BBC The Next Big Thing 2007 Longlist
The following bands and artists have got through to the next round of The Next Big Thing 2007.
They are currently being judged by our global panel of music lovers and experts.
Listen to the songs below and tell us what you think of the tracks at www.myspace.com/bbcbigthing
Beatrice Moses
Ha Ha Orchestra
J Cee
Jeremie Johnson
King Tut
Maya McCallum
Noam Faingold Orchestra
*Penny Broadhurst*
Sherieta Lewis
Shortcut Therapy
Tshila & The Ecclectics
Wicked Aura Batucada

About Hraun (English: Lava)
"Astarsaga ur fjöllunum"
Hraun prefer to call their musical genre "mood swing", as it reflects the ebb and flow of singer/songwriter Svavar Knútur's emotional tides. Ranging from melancholy to alcohol-fuelled rage, Hraun travel far and wide in their quest to explore the human condition.
More Hraun @ www.myspace.com/hraunhraun and www.hraun.tk and Svavar Knútur Kristinsson www.myspace.com/mrknutur

mánudagur, nóvember 26, 2007

Song of the 37. Week: Motion Boys "Hold me closer to your heart"

"Hold me closer to your heart": Motion Boys' Song of the 37. Week.

Motion Boys @ NASA @ Iceland Airwaves '07 Slidehow
All photographs by Wim Van Hooste.
More Motion Boys @ www.myspace.com/motionboys

sunnudagur, nóvember 25, 2007

Seabear Video "I Sing I Swim"

The Video for Seabear's song "I Sing I Swim" was directed by Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir & Sindri Már Sigfússon.
This is a song of Sebear's Debut Album "The Ghost That Carried Us Away"


7oi Videos


"Yup, a Video"


Iceland Airwaves '07 by Icelandair Director

Part 1

Part 2

FM Belfast Video & Live @ Cakeshop @ New York City

FM Belfast
Kasper Bjørke (DK) of Filur
& FM Belfast "Back and Spine" Video


With Örvar of mum


Benni Hemm Hemm "Beygja of Beygja" Unofficial Video

Unofficial Video for Benni Hemm Hemm's song "Beygja og Beygja"


laugardagur, nóvember 24, 2007

Voxpop @ Iceland Airwaves '07

Part 1 featuring Icelandair Opening Party @ Kjarval Museum

Part 2

Part 3 featuring Hafdis Huld Performance, Retro Stefson & Hangover Blue Lagoon Party

Part 4 featuring Clothing Shop downtown Reykjavik

Hafdis Huld Videos

Hafdis Huld @ Eurovision Song Contest
"Boys and Perfume" (Semi Final 1)

"Á gleymdum stað" (Semi Final 7)

Sometime "Heart of Spades" Live in Kastljós

Sometime did perform the song "Heart of Spades" Live in Kastljós, Icelandic TV program

Sigur Rós DVD "Heima"

DVD "Heima" of the Tour around Iceland of Sigur Rós

Heima: Bonus - Interview

Interview by the BBC anno October 2007

Hljomalind - Unofficial Video

Gong - Unofficial Video

föstudagur, nóvember 23, 2007

Jóhann G. Jóhannsson

Johann G. Jóhannsson
Born 22. February 1947 in Keflavík, Iceland.
Musical Education: Mostly self-taught.
In 1995 he began his studies at Kópavogur School of Music (TTK) of utilizing computer and electronic media in the composing process.
A member of following bands: Straumar (1995), Óðmenn (1966-68), Musica Prima (1968-69), Óðmenn II (1969-70), Náttúra (1972) and Póker (1978).
In the relatively obscure tradition of Icelandic songwriters, Jóhann G. Jóhannsson is emerging as one of the country’s best kept secrets. He is revered by his prodigious Icelandic composers come international contemporaries such as Daniel Agust of Gus Gus and Emiliana Torrini, and artists from Björk to Sigur Rós could surely recall his number one hits on Icelandic radio throughout the years. In 1988, he received an Icelandic gold record for his song “Help Them” or “Hjálpum theim” which he performed with a chorus of the country’s premier artists as Iceland’s contribution to the Live Aid relief movement. As with diamond in the rough songwriter Nick Drake, Jóhann G. Jóhannsson’s 30-year discography has just begun its steep ascent into the ears of music listeners and collectors the world over. His masterpieces include “Hard To Be Alone,” “One Wish,” and the recently covered “Don’t Try to Fool Me” which has gone on to become a hit single for the second time. The latest version by Icelandic pop singer Regina Osk sprung to the top of the Scandinavian charts last summer. The prolific and timeless Jóhann G. Jóhannsson has written over 200 songs in the last four decades. Thirty-seven of his most important compositions have been published in the “Gullkorn”, or songbook, together with a CD of 19 songs with piano accompaniment from that collection, published by Skífan (IS) in 1991. Throughout his tenure as a mastermind of pop, rock and tender ballads in both English and Icelandic, Jóhann G. Jóhannsson has founded several influential bands such as Straumar, Ódmenn, Music Prima, Náttura and Poker. They have left an imprint in the lexicon of Iceland’s art-driven, often considered avant-garde, musicians. Ódmenn’s music has been re-released on a double album entitled Ódmenn II as its predecessor reached collectors status in fetching $400.00 USD a copy in Europe. Several musicians have lauded Jóhannsson for his craftsmanship as a songwriter. Ken Thomas, producer of Sigur Rós, likened him to Paul McCartney for his sense of melody and hooks. Thomas called the solo project and 1974 album titled “Langspil” one of the finest Icelandic pop records he’s heard. Jakob Frímann Magnússon, the first Icelandic recording artist to secure a major international record deal in 1979 with Warner Brothers (US), and later Affinity and Capitol Records, says "Jóhann G. Jóhannsson is without doubt one of the most successful and influential songwriters in the history of Icelandic popular music. His soulful and distinguished songwriting has secured him a status unlikely to be matched by anyone for years to come. With all this in mind, Johannsson’s discography is a treasure chest waiting to be explored by listeners, artists and publishers in search of eternal songs and sounds. His music is the harmony of creativity we strive for in our daily lives and discovering it is like finding that treasure that will forever fill your soul with riches.

fimmtudagur, nóvember 22, 2007

Eberg's "Inside your head"

Video for "Inside your head" of iPhone fame, a song by Eberg

Nuts and Bolts
Interview with Einar Tönsberg aka Eberg in Iceland Review Summer 2007 Number 45.02
Eberg and Bono officially share something in common, and not just their single-word aliases. It’s not DATA , Africa or even Ali Hewson. It’s cooler – it’s Mac. This winter Eberg’s indie hit “Inside Your Head” recently electrified international airwaves as the track behind Mac’s new iPhone commercial that debuted during the Oscars. The same track was also featured on the American hit TV show The OC. But Eberg doesn’t need to proselytize do-gooding or rub shoulders with celebs like his Irish counterpart. Nope, he just wants to make music, finish his summerhouse and sit on the can with a roll of Charmin Comfort.
Sara Blask: You hit a home run with “Inside Your Head.” How did you hear from Mac that you were the chosen one?
Eberg: Well, I was about four pints in at my friend’s party and I got a call around midnight. They said they wanted to use it but that they needed an edit now. That sobered me up. So I told them, sure, I’d have to get back to my “studio.” My studio being my flat with my computer.
SB: It was probably 5 a.m. in Iceland when the Oscars were being streamed into Iceland from Los Angeles. Did you stay up to watch?
Eberg: I got this phone call in the middle of the night from a friend in New York. She said she was watching the Oscars and that they were playing my bloody song! It was the best reason I’ve ever gotten woken up.
SB: After reading some of the messages on your MySpace profile, it seems like a lot of young girls have fallen in love with you, perhaps because they also love The OC. Do you reply to them?
Eberg: Usually I don’t unless I’m in the right mood. But if you do it’s a bit dangerous. They become your best friend and then they keep sending you mail, which is lovely. But it’s also a bit weird.
SB: One of your tracks is called “Love Your Bum.” An ode to the arse?
Eberg: Those lyrics come from too much time on the toilet with nothing to read. I went to the grocery store with a pen and piece of paper to write down the advertising slogans from the toilet paper packaging. I think ‘break the habit’ is one of them. Also ‘your house is our house.’ I don’t really get any of them.
SB: I assume you like good quality toilet paper then? None of that one-ply stuff.
Eberg: Yeah. I like Charmin Comfort.
SB: Voff Voff is the title of your latest album, which you say is how Icelandic dogs bark. But there don’t seem to be many dogs here! American dogs pronounce it “woof woof,” by the way.
Eberg: There are dogs in the countryside – and they wouldn’t understand any of this “woof woof” business. When I’m in crowded areas, like on the tube or in train stations, I sometimes start barking. Usually what happens is that people think it’s so weird that they get up from their seats and leave, which is great because then I have a place to sit.
SB: Your name is Einar Tönsberg. I can see where you get “Eberg” from, but do your friends call you Einar or Eberg?
Eberg: My friends in the U.K. call me Eberg. For some reason they don’t hear the ‘r’ in my name, they hear it as an ‘l.’ Einal. [anal]. I gave up on that a long time ago.
SB: What’s playing on your iPod these days?
Eberg: Nothing. I don’t have an iPod. I depend upon my flatmates for music. I like Elliott Smith though, but I also just like conversation, people talking. That’s a kind of music. I’m also addicted to BBC4.
SB: Is Eberg just you? Do you ever play with anyone else?
Eberg: Eberg is just me, but when I play live there’s usually a drummer, a cellist and a very nervous computer.
SB: Nervous computer?
Eberg: Well, it gets a bit scared when we’re playing live and it makes some stupid mistake like stops playing in the middle of a track or just turns itself off. I think it might be a bit ill. I think it might be secretly watching porn or something. It’s getting some diseases I think.
SB: You sometimes play with unusual instruments like scissors and something you dubbed the ‘eharp’ that’s made from guitar strings and a wooden coat hanger. How’d you get inspired?
Eberg: I’m not really sure how that happened. After my first album I was terrified of playing live and I think this was my defense, to make something silly to hide behind. Somehow I got this wooden hanger thing, but then I had to go on a quest to find the right kind of wooden hanger. They don’t make them like they used to. So I went to this old man’s clothing shop where all the hangers are like 100 years old and those are the ones I used. It’s a great instrument. Also, I’m the best eharp player in the world. I hate being average.
SB: So many people drool over Iceland’s music scene these days. I’m not sure I buy it, do you?
Eberg: I think the arrogance is getting dangerous here. People are getting ahead of themselves a lot. People are losing humility. What happens here is you go to a radio station and most likely you know one of the deejays. They’ll play the track for you and if they like it, they’ll play it again and again. That’s kind of how it works here. I think the beauty of Icelandic music used to be, or maybe still is, that there’s no history of people making money out of music. So if you’re making music you have to be doing it because you love doing it. You have to be proud of it. And maybe that’s disappearing.
SB: You lived in London for a decade and decided to move back to the Republic last summer. How come?
Eberg: I felt like ten years was a long time. It was either stay and have a future there or come back and have a future here. It’s what happens when you go abroad – it’s a bit like you’re on a holiday and you don’t make any normal decisions like buying a flat. London’s great for being young and careless, but this is great for a family. I’m starting to build a little summerhouse in Hvalfjördur. The problem is that there aren’t that many screws holding it together now. And there’s no toilet.
Source: http://www.icelandreview.com/
More Eberg @ http://www.eberg.net/

22. November: Release of "Bat out of Hellvar"

Release date of the First Hellvar Album today.
The First Single is "Give me gold"
Live performance of "Give me gold" @ Gaukurinn @ Iceland Airwaves '06


miðvikudagur, nóvember 21, 2007

Reykjavik to Rotterdam Festival 2007

Thursday, 22. November, 2007
- Mr Silla and Mongoose
- Hafdis Huld
- Rass
- Apparat Organ Quartet
- DJ Musician
Friday, 23. November, 2007

- Seabear
- Lost in Hildurness
- Reykjavik!
- Mammút
- DJ Musician
Saturday, 24. November, 2007

- Ghostigital
- Evil Madness
- Rökkurró
- Múm
- DJ Gísli Galdur
Promotional Trailer

21. November: Congratulations Happy Birthday - Til hamingju

21. November 1965: Birthdate of Björk Guðmundsdóttir
21. November 1967: Birthdate of Sugarcubes keyboardplayer Margrét Örnólfsdóttir
21. November 1986: first release of The Sugarcubes (as Sykurmolarnir) Icelandic 7" Single "Einn mol' á mann" with 2 songs Ammæli & Köttur
21. November 1991: "Gling gló" Album release by Björk Guðmundsdóttir & Tríó Guðmundar Ingólfssonar
21. November 1994: release of Unun's Icelandic Album "Ae" (Engl. Version of this Album on Bad Taste USA as "Super Shiny Dreams") on Smekkleysa label
Source: www.ruv.is/poppland

mánudagur, nóvember 19, 2007

Björk UK Tour 2008

Björk UK Tour 2008
April 11 - MANCHESTER Apollo
April 14 - LONDON Hammersmith Apollo
April 17 - LONDON Hammersmith Apollo
April 22 - PLYMOUTH Pavilion
April 25 - WOLVERHAMPTON Civic Hall
April 28 - BELFAST Waterfront
May 01 - BLACKPOOL Empress Ballroom
May 04 - SHEFFIELD City Hall

Reykjavik Nights @ London 28. November 2007 - Liverpool 29. November 2007

London - Wednesday 28th November, The Luminaire, Kilburn
Reykjavik Nights
The evening's headline band, Bloodgroup, are an established name on the Icelandic live music circuit, having been formed in 2005 by ringleader Raggi along with members of his family and their friends. Together they formed a band that's gained an enviable reputation for playing "powerful and funky rock-influenced electro-dance-pop" (The Reykjavik Grapevine) at summer festivals around the world and, to top off a perfect year for the band, they've recently recorded and released their debut album Sticky Situation to the acclaim of the local music press.
Sometime, the evening's first supporting band, are the Crosby, Still, Nash & Young of Icelandic dance music. Consisting of Danni (synths & electronic drums), Diva De La Rosa (vocals) DJ Dice (turntables & fx) and Oculus (audio manipulations), four famed veterans of the vibrant Icelandic music scene, they released their debut record in October following a miraculous rise to fame in 2007. Sometime sound a little like an updated version of Kraftwerk with gorgeous vocals lashed over the sort of beats that have kept many a bar in Reykjavik bursting until dawn and they are, quite simply, one of Iceland's newest and most exciting live dance acts.
Joining Bloodgroup and Sometime we're also delighted to welcome Reykjavik-based techno minimalist Sven Bit as the opening act.

Interview with Danni of Sometime (Two Little Dogs)

Sometime is approximately a year old now, and already they have made splashes with their debut album and energetic and fun live performances. Founded by veterans of the Icelandic music scene, Danni from Maus, Curver from Ghostigital and DJ Dice, formerly of Quarashi, the band just released Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, a complex and well crafted album featuring both danceable hit songs as well as gloomier and more complex soundscapes akin to Björk. The band's energetic frontman coughed up some hair rising answers to the dogs' questions.
TLD: When and how did Sometime come into existence?
Me and DJ Dice were attending a stag party for his brother in October 2005, and there was a drum kit in the garage. A guy at the party asked me to play it and together we went and I played some beats ('cause I don't do drum solos, just to make that absolutely clear). Anyway, in the drunken stupor me and DJ Dice decided to do music together. Unlike most people who form bands when drunk, we actually went ahead and did it a week later.
The first practices were somewhat avant garde, just crazy drumbeats and insane scratching. A little later Curver joined us and took it one step further, expanding our soundscape. In November I decided to talk to this girl whom I'd once known, but hadn't met in some 6 years, I had no idea if she could even sing, I just wanted the coolest chick I knew to sing, and that was
Diva De La Rosa. One reason, or as a matter of fact the main reason she came to the first practice, was that when I first approached her (drunk of course) she saw a bright violet aura around me. She only told me this many months later, said this had something to do with energy inside me...
TLD: The band has undergone some personnel changes recently...
Yes, Curver went back to school, some fancy art school in NYC and lives in Manhattan, and DJ Dice had a baby recently and wants to focus on that. It's all fine and no hard feelings. Their replacements are Oculus and DJ Moonshine who are really good....and cute too.
TLD: You've played outside Iceland as well, where was that and how did it go?
We've played in Prague and Warsaw and it was great to say the least. In Prague everyone danced like crazy and sang along even though most of them were hearing the songs for the first time. It's incredibly fun to play for a new audience, though it's great fun to play in Iceland as well, we just want more and more...
TLD: You're quite known for your work with the indierock band Maus, in what way is this music different from that, and why the change of style?
Maus worked in such a way that each member wrote his part, it seldom happened that someone came with a fully composed song to practice, we just met and jammed and the songs were created with such co-operation. It was a kind of chemistry between us four. If one member had quit the songs would have changed drastically. In Sometime I write all the songs, Diva De La Rosa adds the lyrics and DJ adds some scratching etc.
In Sometime I'm still using the same instruments I used in Maus, except now I skip the drum kit itself and I always used an octopad and electric drums in there as well. I'm taking my drumming a step further 'cause in Sometime I play the music and drum at the same time, all live.

Two Little Dogs http://twolittledogs.co.uk/artist_sometime.html


laugardagur, nóvember 17, 2007

U2’s Producer may work with Sigur Rós on Album

The members of the Icelandic quartet Sigur Rós have begun preparing for their next album and will meet with producer Mark Ellis, a.k.a. “Flood,” in Iceland next week to discuss the project. Flood is perhaps best known for working with Irish rock band U2.
“We are going to try and work with him for two weeks and see how it goes,” Sigur Rós drummer Orri Páll Dýrason told Fréttabladid.
According to Dýrason, Flood contacted Sigur Rós’ manager and said he was interested in working with the band. The producer then met the band members in Iceland and they have also traveled to London to meet him there.
Flood is one of the world’s most respected producers. He began his career by producing U2’s album The Joshua Tree, which was released 1987. Flood also worked on U2’s albums Zooropa and Pop.
Sigur Rós’ last studio album Takk was released more than two years ago. The band recently released a double-CD compilation album entitled Hvarf-Heim in conjunction with the release of their documentary Heima. The album contains studio versions of previously unreleased songs.
Source: Iceland Review Online http://www.icelandreview.com/
Is this an "Interview" with Sigur Rós ?

fimmtudagur, nóvember 15, 2007

Review of Album "Island" by Current 93 & HÖH (Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson)

I've been to Iceland. It looks the way this album sounds.
Tibet and HÖH made a surprisingly solid New Age album. Chilly, transcendent, still quite dark.
His days of shattering our sanity with demonic screams were over.
The Bottom Line
David trading in the shrieks of the damned for a spacey, ghostly glow. Except for the trio of suckage towards the end, a mostly satisfying ambient excursion.
David Tibet
Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson
Björk Gudmundsdóttir
Akiko Hada
Thór Eldon
Liz Aster
Bogomil Font (Sigtryggur Baldursson)
Ása Hlín Svavarsdóttir
Birgir Baldursson
Rinpoche The Venerable `Chimed Rig'dzin Lama
Johnny Triumph (Sjon)
Joolie Wood
Rose McDowall
Einar Örn Benediktsson
Tómas M. Tómasson
Sleeve Notes
David Tibet - vocals; HÖH: keyboards, acoustic guitar, bass, guitar, harp, percussion; Björk Gudmundsdóttir - backing vocals on Falling; Akiko Hada - backing vocals on Falling; Thór Eldon - guitar on Crowleymass; Godkrist - guitar on Passing Horsesand Crowleymass; Liz Aster - backing vocals on Fields Of Rape and Merry-Go-Round; Bogomil Font - backing vocals on Merry-Go-Round; Ása Hlín Svavarsdóttir - vocals on The Dream Of A Shadow Of Smoke; Birgir Baldursson - drums and percussion on Paperback Honey; The Venerable `Chimed Rig'dzin Lama, Rinpoche - bells and drums on Anyway, People Die; Johnny Triumph - backing vocals on Merry-Go-Round and Crowleymass; Joolie Wood - violin on Anyway, People Die and Merry-Go-Round; Rose McDowall - backing vocals on Paperback Honey and Fields Of Rape and Smoke; Einar Örn - backing vocals on Fields Of Rape and Smoke and Crowleymass; Tómas M. Tómasson - bass guitar on The Dream Of A Shadow Of Smoke, Fields Of Rape and Smoke and To Blackened Earth.
Recorded at Studio Syrland and Hot Ice, Iceland between 1986-1991. Mixed at Studio Syrland 1990-91. Engineered and produced by HÖH. Mixed by HÖH and Tómas M. Tómasson. Cover by Babs Santini.
Special thanks Ásgeir Jónsson, Bo, Gunnar Smári, heidi, GSH, Akiko, Megas, Harry Oldfield, Steven Stapleton, Egill and Tinna, Jakob and Ragga, Christian and Eva, KJ and SP, Freidrich and Hera and Justine, the Godmother, Ási, Rúna and Anna, Thorn, Mannox, The Balladeer Of Doom, James Low, Debbie Fowler, Starfish, Balance, Denis Porky. The Dream OF Shadow Of Smoke is dedicated to the beloved memory of Karl J. Sighvatsson - may there be Hammonds scattered through his universe. Homage to the Lama. May all be aware C93/HÖH
Full Review
In this chapter of the ongoing saga of Current 93, David Tibet travels to Iceland and collaborates with some of the natives (including Björk- can anybody record in that country and not work with her?) to create ambient Viking music. Like Thor Tesh.
If you're a fan of the early C93 stuff where David rants like a maniac about the Antichrist for a solid hour, then Island is probably not gonna have you moaning like a ballerina. This is Tibet in a mellow mood, although I should definitely point out that even while wearing his Mr. Happy Hat, the songs still have such lovely titles as Anyway, People Die and To Blackened Earth. It's not like he went all Olivia Newton-John on us.
I've reviewed Current 93 so many times at this point that I'm loath to describe the evolution of the project even once more. What you ought to know is that David was almost moving in on Enigma's turf on this album, minus the dancey beat. He even "sings" a whole bunch here, though Pavarotti he is not.
So, now we've established that this album is still a little spooky but whole lots less diabolical than previous efforts (think more along the lines of Coil, if you possess the point of reference with which to do so), allow me to say that it's nearly thrown out of whack by three songs in particular and I shall now turn my venomous attention in their direction. They have to be the worst things David ever put on tape.
Crowleymass Unveiled sounds title-wise like it would be all neat and evil, but an 80's pop beat holding up lyrics like don't give us no sass, we'll kick your ass/'cause we're the heralds of Crowleymass gives the self-proclaimed "wickedest man in the world" a truly bad name. Paperback Honey is a loungey bit that could pass for Blur in a silly mood, and goes where no track ever oughta- David Tibet attempting to be sexy. The Fall of Christopher Robin makes me think of The Human League having a psychotic episode.
The rest of the album is pretty swell, at least for what it is (a lot of mood and little in the way of "radio friendliness"). Lament For My Suzanne is sufficiently cosmic and eerie, Passing Horses has David whispering like a speech-impaired boogeyman to a haunted house backdrop, and Anyway, People Die is the very sound of the abyss swirling all around us. And hey, what is a Current 93 release without another spin on Fields of Rape (this take is called "Sightless Return", which is the path Ray Charles takes back to summer camp- ha. Ha. HA HA HA!!!). Reminds me more of Enya covering the original Death In June version than the nightmarish dash through Satan's bowels that David tortured us with on the Dogs Blood Rising album. Fields of Rape and Smoke is, if I remember correctly, a super-slow foreign language variation.
I think David's primary collaborator on this album was HÖH (not the one you're married to, Barry, but an Icelander named Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson), and my guess is that the other guy's influence was strong on here. Björk only shows up in a negligible backing vocalist capacity, so don't get a woody thinking she's gonna jump out of the mix and flog you with that goosey dress she wears.
If you like the coldness and oh-so-Scandinavian feel of Ulver's electronic phase, then this is right up your alley. Take that and fly in David Tibet's seemingly inexhaustible love of all things dark and mystical, and you're left with a C93 album so powerful in its first six tracks, you won't even care that three toward the end are utterly embarrassing.
As a side note, you should probably grab this if you see it, if for no other reason than its status as an extremely pricey rarity. My dumb butt sold it on Ebay for $12 about a year ago, and I hear that some are now paying over eighty bucks.
Recommended: Yes

Review of the Iceland Airwaves '07 Festival by Wim Van Hooste

I love Icelandic music forever

Icelandair’s aeroplane Valdís, and not SugarcubesRegina, brought me on Tuesday the 16th of the 10th for the fourteenth time to Iceland. For the third time in a row, I went to Reykjavík to enjoy the 9th Iceland Airwaves Music Festival. Only this time I got a Press Pass: so here’s the report by your “I love Icelandic Music” Reporter.

16.10 Tuesday
So much better than your normal life
(Jan Mayen, Gaukurinn)

The first night, after enjoying a pizza at Restaurant Hornið, I went to the nearby Gaukurinn, or full name Gaukur á Stöng. The name means ‘Parrot on a Stick’, and it’s a famous venue in the heart of Iceland’s capital. A bar annex restaurant with a history in breaking the laws, especially the beer ban (until 1989 no beer in Iceland!). Four bands were on stage to kick off my Festival: Sudden Weather Change, Mammút, Who Knew and finally Jan Mayen. Jan Mayen gave us long versions of the song with some nice freaky guitar solos.

17.10 Wednesday
My favourite colour is blue
(Soundspell, NASA)

After a good night of sleep in Hótel Frón, situated in Reykjavík’s shopping street Laugavegur, I had my early morning walk to The Nordic House, Nórræna Húsid. For the first time, this house by Finnish architect Alvar Alto and a meeting place for all Scandinavians in Iceland, took part in the Airwaves. Some photographs of the previous gigs by Icelandic and non-Icelandic artists at the festival by Iceland’s best photographers were exposed on the walls. But there was a little bit more to watch: a part of the Pönk eða Diskó exhibition and 2 screens: one with the ‘Rokk í Reykjavík’ movie by Fríðrik Þór Fríðriksson, another with an interview of Icelandic music specialists/artists, e.g. Einar Örn “Sugarcube” Benediktsson.
I had a tasty Grillhúsið Lasagna at Tryggvagata Street, near Reykjavík’s harbour and once the street of Björk Guðmundsdóttir. After a chat with an Icelandic friend, Villi, and a cappuccino at Sólon, I went straight to the Smekkleysa ehf. (Bad Taste) shop. Once more, it had moved! Back again to Laugavegur: first it was situated under the Bónus Supermarket, a year later they were based opposite Sirkus, a famous nightclub/DJ spot and featured in a Björk video. I bought 4 Icelandic albums at Smekkleysa. After that I moved to the other alternative recordshop/label, 12 Tónar, in the artist street, Skólavörðustígur. Also Mr. Destiny, the organiser of the Airwaves Festival, is situated just a few steps away. Rökkurró gave a short gig in a crowdy shop, always providing something to drink for Icelandic music enthusiastics, a strong coffee or something else. Skál guys!
Rafskinna, an Icelandic DVD Magazine, had a Vodka Party sponsored by Finlandia. The press got a preview of the next number: a long drum solo by Bjössi, how to have a tasty and ‘handy’ barbecue with New Yorker Grizzly Bear, and a Gunni and Örvar video of the duo crossing all Reykjavík’s places of múm’s interest in a van. And of course there was music: Seabear and Skakkamanage did both a gig for a small crowd. Just in time after a bite in “two with everything”, Rúnar Þórisson, an Icelandic guitar hero and band performing @ NASA, a big concert place nearby Iceland’s Parliament AlÞing. The Icelandic Blondies with good voices were next: Single Drop’s singer, followed by Elíza (Newman Geirsdóttir), now solo after being in a band (Bellatrix and Skandinavia). Three American young sisters, the band Smoosh, performing in colourful Pippi Longstocking socks on stage stole the show. By that time the ‘Girl Power’ was over: 3 Icelandic bands on a row. Soundspell, “My favourite colour is blue” with a non-blue light on the singer’s face at the start of this song, Lights on the Highway and finally Shadow Parade.

18.10 Thursday
F*** you, I won’t do what you tell me
(FM Belfast & Örvar, Icelandair Party)

After my breakfast I went to the nextdoors Skífan Shop to buy some more Icelandic records. With a Grillhúsið hamburger in my stomach, via the Tjörnin Pond and the University, by feet back to The Nordic House. Boys in a Band, a band from the Faroe Islands were singing a song ‘bout a train, like their homeland Iceland has neither a railway. A surreal song song on islands in the North Atlantic Ocean. Sprengjuhöllin, brought blood, much sweat and no tears into Da House. Had a nice meal, chicken breast with a Viking (the official Festival) Beer and Villi @ Végamót Restaurant, where an Icelandic favourite artist of mine, Barði Jóhannsson (of Bang Gang and Lady and Bird fame), was having a big cup of coffee too.
Elíza gave a gig at Off-Venue Place, the Smekkleysa Recordshop/Pop, Rokk & Rósir 2nd Hand Shop. After the gig she signed her first solo album “Empire Fall” for me.
Klukkan sex, at six o’clock, I was early at the Icelandair Opening Party with FM Belfast on stage of Kjarval’s Museum. "Jóhannes Kjarval", Iceland’s most famous painter and also song No. 4 track on the 1977 childhood album of Björk Guðmundsdóttir – as you all know auðvitað. After some beers, I ran to be in time at 19:30 for Worm is Green on the Museum stage. After the electropop of W=G, time for some Icelandic (am)popmusic ‘Big in the UK’ Ampop, a trio good looking boys in a band. Quick bite in 2 hot dogs again at 'the best in town', met 4 Danish girls who were having a pylsur with red wine, ‘cause some Icelandair Party booze slipped into their handbags. Smart Danes! Straight to Organ venue, for more Icelandic music by Úlpa duo, crowd surfing by The Telepathetics, Kimono and finally Skátar (Engl. Boy Scouts). Ghostigital’s Curver and Einar Örn were having a meeting in the basement. During the performance of Khonnor from the USA, it was over and out for me and bedtime story time.

19.10 Friday
If you don’t jump, you’re English
(Gus Gus and friends, NASA)

Friday, fishday for me at Grillhúsið. For the third day, meeting the goose in front of The Nordic House, on my way to Alto’s building to see the female singer-songwriter Lay Low. Lay Low, aka Lovisa, was late (with a delayed flight straight from Akureyri in the north), and the Icelandic radio had to broadcast it life, so the short acoustic gig was running late and didn’t impress me much.
Something radical and new at 17:00: open interviews organised by Grapevine Magazine by music journalists. Árni Matthíasson of Morgunbladið Daily Newspaper, had an interview with rock star, boxing enthusiastic and Idol jury member Bubbi Morthens, maybe Iceland’s most productive artist so far. Bubbi, of Utangardsmenn (Engl. The Outsiders), Das Kapital and Égo fame to name a few, argued that to many albums these days are in English, and artists do not sing in their mother language. Arnar Eggert Thoroddsen of Morgunbladið had a talk with Gunni and Örvar of múm about their latest release and the new musical way. I was there, at Fríkirkjan, to listen to the last tones by troubadour Siggi Ármann, a musical discovery or treasure of Siggi “Sugarcube” Baldursson and Jóhann “Apparat” Jóhannsson. Steintryggur and Australian friend Ben Frost were next on the church program. Holy percussion and an Icelandic “Toots” Thielemans.
The lo-fi of Mr. Silla (a lady!) and Mongoose (a Viking?) kicked-off a long night at NASA. Next were Bloodgroup with a singer with big glasses jumping in a Mickey Mouse t-shirt. Skakkamanage had a “one armed” friend on stage to be the “Toots” here, one again Örvar of múm – a very busy Airwaves schedule he had, just like me ;-). The non-Icelandic intermezzo on Friday was the British band Prinzhorn Dance School. Continued by Motion Boys, a sort of Icelandic Scissor Sisters, and catchy sing-along songs. It took a while until the invasion of the stage by Gus Gus took place. Daníel Ágúst was Jesus Christ, stripping like an untattood (as far as I could notice) Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode. Earth and the backing vocals were in nice colourful outfits and President Bongo with a hat. Mess-up on stage with the Ghostigital duo, Esja’s Krummi, and the Hairdoctor to jump on “If you don’t jump, you’re English”. The 2:00 apotheosis was provided by Hairdoctor, the friends of Gus Gus and Reykjavik!’s Haukur, having a pillow fight and a confetti rain as a prelude for a rainy night unfortunately without northern light.

20.10 Saturday
Give me gold
(Hellvar, Grand Rokk)

After a late breakfast and visiting some bookshops, I walked straight to Kolaportið, the Flea Market of Reykjavik, next to the capital’s harbour downtown. To search for some good music, but today must is put on Ebay by the sellers. Nothing special I wanted. But I found one magazine with an article on the history of Icelandic music (period: 60s - The Sugarcubes/1991), a book about Vikings translated in Icelandic and an Iceland Review book about farry tales of Iceland. Had a pasta lunch in Restaurant Hornið, good food but served by an unfriendly Icelandic waitress. Went back to the Flea Market to buy a desert: a big icecream with chocolate sauce, Ísinn í boxi með súkkulaði sósu.
In the afternoon I bought a book about Disco & Punk in a small shop at Laugavegur. The band Sometime without Curver performed at Smekkleysa/Pop, Rokk & Rósir shops in stead of Steintryggur & Frost. 17:00 I arrived early at Fríkirkjan church near the Pond Tjörnin for the performance of Amiina, the first time they’ll have a gig at the Airwaves. The 4 girls and a drummer gave a long intimate concert for a full church of devoted fans. We got few extra songs. Encore! Fleira! Eat the menu: quick bite in a pizza before going for the free beer at the Naked Ape shop just around the corner. The Ghost, 2 boys from the Faroe Islands gave everything for the small audience. FM Belfast again, with the singer’s mom watching, the band was unstoppable like Amiina: one of my revelations of Airwaves ’07. Went to my hotel to prepare myself for a night at Grand Rokk.
More Belgians were watching the gig by Stafrænn Hákon, who just had finished their UK Tour. South Coast Killing Company, or an Irish singer, a female drummer and an Iceland retired punk were playing rockabilly blues. Hellvar’s Heiða Eiríksdóttir gave me a master of the fortcoming album “Bat out of Hellvar”, out on Kimi Records label (Akureyri) soon, and the first single will be “Give me gold”. I got a “I love Icelandic Music” T-shirt for her. Hellvar is 4 guitars on a row today, with the newcomers Sverrir on bass and Alexandra on guitar standing next to Elvar on guitar and behind the computer. I made some shots of Hellvar’s electrorock performance to put on my fansite “Go to Hellvar” and for YouTube. Heiða had been training to improve her podium act, and her female friend from Keflavík, Bíbi of Singapore Sling and Bellatrix fame, was there for some enthousiastic support. While Noise was making some grunge noise on stage, we went outside to take some pictures or to smoke. Dýrðin, with 2 bionic energetic synchronic singers doing punky poptunes, earned my attention again at 0:30. Ég was next, with the guys of Jan Mayen to listen and dance to the Album of the Year (2005) songs and others. Last gig by Hooker Swing, or punky rockabilly about making love. At 3:00 I had to leave the chesshouse annex club Grand Rokk, together with the American band members of Khonnor (without masks and wigs this time).

21.10 Sunday
Abbababb! The Musical
(Dr. Gunni and his friends, Hafnarfjörður Theater)

9:30 - Having breakfast @ Frón while watching MTV on the big screen. Duran Duran’s “A view to a kill” with James Bond goes Iceland (featuring the icebergs of Jökulsárlón glacial lake).
Took the coach to Hafnarfjörður Theatre around noon after bying a lunch in a local bakari. Did a short sideseeing by feet of the Town of the Hidden People - or should I say Viking Town? - had a cappuccino in a café and at 1:15 met The Abbababb! Family. Heiða and Elvar of Hellvar provided my the best seat to watch the musical.
In 1998 Gunnar Lárus Hjálmarsson, aka Dr. Gunni, made with a little help of his musical friends an album for children called “Abbababb! Dr. Gunni og vinir hans syngja og leika fyrir börnin”. Gunnar is one of the central figures of the Icelandic underground music scene since 1980s, and prominent member of S.H. Draumur (or Black & White Dreams) which transformed into the band Bless. Bless made in the album “Gums”, on which Björk Guðmundsdóttir, the singer of The Sugarcubes, did some backing vocals on 2 songs. Dr. Gunni is a very active person who works as a freelance writer, a radiopresenter/DJ, but as well as a TV host of the pop music quiz show called Popppunktur on the Icelandic television. Not to mention Dr. Gunni is world famous in Finland, especially in Oulu. And the book by his hand, “Eru ekki allir í stuði? Rokk á Íslandi á síðustu öld” (translated as ‘Are we having fun yet – Icelandic rock music in the last century’), a sort of anthology or even sort of encyclopaedia of Icelandic (rock) music in the last century, is a milestone in Icelandic music history. The unique part of this book is a list of the 100 best records ever made in Iceland, accordings to various music specialists. The various friends who collaborated with Dr. Gunni for Abbababb! were, among others: Unun’s singer Heiða Eiríksdóttir, Reptile’s singer Magga Stína, Icelandic ‘Beatle’ Rúnar Júlíusson, gay popstar Páll Óskar, Iceland best known catholic and comedian Jón Gnarr, and Didda. Valgeir Sigurðsson, nowadays of Bedroom Community fame, was in charge of recording the album at Groðurhúsid. The Compact Disc, number 76 on the Smekkleysa (Bad Taste) label, became a huge hit. The song “Prumpufólkið” (translated in English as ‘The Farting Song’) is known by heart by everyone who was a kid in Iceland a decade ago.
Nearly 10 years later, Dr. Gunni decided to make a musical with the CD as a starting-point. With the help of the director María Reyndal Abbababb! The Musical was created. Some totally new songs were written to make a logical play for children, both big (read: parents) and small. February the 11th 2007, the musical had the premier at the City Theater of the town Hafnarfjörður, Hafnarfjarðarleikhúsið, just next door to the famous Norwegian-kitsch Viking Restaurant and Hotel Fjörukráin. By the 15th of June, it already won the Icelandic Theater Award Griman, the Award for the Child’s Play of the year 2007.
While attending the Iceland Airwaves Festival this year for the third time in a row, I was so lucky to get a VIP treatment, sitting in the first row – for the adults – even seeing the rehearsal just before the real show started. So not just a lazy Sunday afternoon! I have to tell you that, while working in the local hospital of Akureyri back in 1998, I used the Abbababb! album to get grip on the difficult Icelandic language. So for me it was like sitting in a time machine straight back to the capital of North-Iceland and singing along with the songs.
A whole bunch of kids and relatives got a terrific show lasting more than 1.5 hours, with a candy and toilet break in between. The music, as performed live by the trio Birgir Baldursson on drums, Elvar Geir Sævarsson on guitar and Dr. Gunni as bass guitarist, fitted exactly with the play. The actors (and the band if functional) were using the whole stage and the visual and sound effects were perfectly integrated in the story.
The musical play tells the story of three young kids, Óli, Halla and Aron Neisti, who discover the world and got involved in a Rock ’n’ Roll adventure of a lifetime. Troubles by the bullying by the big boys (Stóru Strákarnir), the friendship with a female punk pirate Systa Sjóræningi (a Siouxsie Sioux but without Banshees, a character created long before Johnny Depp played hid rock pirate à la Keith Richards), 3 Russians with explosives, and some unavoidable American tourists in the land of fire and ice making a lot of noise by farting. The ‘boy meets girl’ story line, here Disco versus Punk music, making this musical also a sort of Icelandic West Side Story, with finally everybody rocking in a free world (unfortunately a world with schools): “Ástin er Rokk og Ról”. The punk (and rock) symbolism and behaviour were used well, even featuring some spitting and stagediving from a school roof and crowd surfing. The children saw John Travolta look-a-like transforming in Neil Young: “Disko Sökkar”. The musical show featured one of my Icelandic heroes, probably Iceland’s best drummer Sigtryggur (Siggi) Baldursson as Hr. Rokk. As a kind of Bogomil Font put in a rock outfit, he’s table dancing around the clock. But also as baby or dog, he proved that he is ready for Hollywood. I only missed the song about the kitten of the original album, "Ó kisa mín”.
Jæja krakkar, Þa er Þetta bara búid! Over and out. Now it is only waiting for Abbababb! The Movie, coming soon at a theater next to you. I hope that Dr. Gunni finds an actor to impersonate the cat.
See you at ‘Rokkland’ Iceland, and please note that the Hotel Borg of the 21st Century is now being moved to a place near the harbour of Hafnarfjörður.
Dr. Gunni, the man who learned the Icelanders how to rock from a young age. Maybe this is the reason why Iceland has so many great musicians.
Back by bus, had some beers with Villi at Kofi Tómasar Frænda @ Laugavegur and Næstu Bar @ Ingólfsstræti before heading to Gaukurinn. Met Heiða and Alexandra of Hellvar while watching the performance of Who Knew @ Gaukurinn, followed by Sudden Weather Change. A déjà vu from Tuesday night. A Coral snap shot nextdoors, because too many people were inside. The Kiwis of Cuff off your hands were my fine final of the Airwaves ‘07.

22.10 Monday

(Björk, Music Channel 100% Björk on Icelandair Flight Keflavík-Amsterdam)

Flying back to Amsterdam Schiphol with the Björk songs in my ears.

I hope to see you at the Iceland Airwaves ’08 for the 10th Anniversary edition of this cosy festival. Unfortunately downtown Reykjavík is losing it’s unique atmosphere. Since my first arrival in 1991, a lot has changed, renamed, burned and disappeared.
I hope Reykjavík get rid of the dog shit and all the other troubles you can experience in every big city in mainland Europe:

You are an island
A virgin island
Like a rock
You stand alone
And I am the ocean
The endless ocean
Can you bring me
to your shore
From the song “Island” by Elíza (album Empire Fall, 2007)

© Wim Van Hooste 2007
All rights reserved

200.000 naglbítar - The Videos

200.000 Naglbítar (Engl. Pincers)
The band 200.000 naglbítar (200.000 Pincers) was formed in Akureyri in 1993. Axel was in a band in school and Villi always tagged along at rehearsals.
When he demonstrated that he could play the solo in Cream’s White Room, he was hired on the spot. Some of the band members didn’t like that and left the band. When only Axel and Villi were left they decided to get Villi’s brother, Kári, to play the bass. They began rehearsing and writing songs.
In 1993 they took part in a band competition in Akureyri and won. At the time the band was called Gleðitríóið Ásar (The Fun Trio Aces). Later they changed the name to Askur Yggdrasils and made an epynomous cassette. The music was crude rock’n roll and the English lyrics were very political.
They were 14 and 15 years old at the time. Then they changed their name to 200.000 naglbítar and took part in the band competition Músíktilraunir (Music Experiments) in 1995. The band wound up in third place and Villi was voted best lead singer. Soon after that they changed their name to Alias Bob because they thought it silly to sing in English and have an Icelandic name. They recorded ten songs in Studio Hljóðlist and as soon as they were done they stopped singing in English and changed their name back to 200.000 naglbítar. These recordings have now been lost.
In 1997 they released the songs Hæð í húsi and Helsærður dordingull on the compilation album Spírur. A year later they released the song Hvítt on the compilation album Kvistir. In 1998 they released their first album Neóndýrin (The Neon Animals). The album got excellent reviews and received six Icelandic Music Awards nominations. In 2000 the band released the album Vögguvísur fyrir skuggaprins (Lullabies for a Shadow Prince). Much of the work was done on computers and there are a lot of sounds that make the album rather special. Villi wrote all the lyrics and they are heavy like the ones on Neóndýrin. Poems for children.
Poems for the Shadow land. People have to listen to the lyrics and decide for themselves what they mean. The lyrics are stories that connect in one way or another and there is a great deal of work put into them. The band played at the Reykjavík Music Festival and at the Airwaves festival in Reykjavík. In 2001, guitar player Róbert Reynisson joined the band. It is safe to say that he has put his mark on the band and brought a new dimension to the music. In 2002, drummer Axel left the band and was replaced by Benni Engill.
In the fall of 2003 they released the album Hjartagull.
The Videos
"Stopp Nr. 7"
Skateboarding downtown Reykjavik

"Brjóum það sem brotnar"

Monitor - September/October/November 2007

Number 1 (September 2007) featuring a.o. Jakobinarina

Number 2 (October 2007) featuring a.o. Mugison

Number 3 (November 2007) featuring a.o. Pall Oscar

miðvikudagur, nóvember 14, 2007

Jet Black Joe - The Videos

Jet Black Joe is an Icelandic band (too) often forgotten, but they got an international record deal in the nighties.

"We come in peace"

"Big Fat Stone"

"You ain't here"

"Never Mind"

Video for the song "Higher and Higher", featured in the movie Cold Fever