mánudagur, mars 31, 2008

Teaser for Iceland on the Edge - Belgian Iceland Airwaves @ Bozar/AB


Watch the whole impression of Iceland Airwaves II the 8. March 2008 Concert @ AB @ AB TV @ www.abconcerts.be/abtv or @ YouTube @
Ancienne Belgique (AB): http://www.abconcerts.be/
Bozar/Paleis voor de Schone Kunsten: http://www.bozar.be/

Performance of Icelandic Bands in China in Jeopardy

Chinese authorities seem reluctant to grant three Icelandic bands permission to perform at the Midi Music Festival, which will be held there the first week of May, after Björk declared support for Tibetan independence during her recent concert in Shanghai.
Björk’s stunt angered Chinese authorities and now it is uncertain whether the members of the three bands, Vicky Pollard, Hellvar and Motorfly, will be given a visa to enter the country, Fréttabladid reports.
“We are in constant contact with our spokesperson at the festival and he has told us to stay calm and wait,” said Ásgeir Gudmundsson, band manager for Vicky Pollard.
Information on the Festival @ http://wiki.rockinchina.com/index.php?title=Midi_Music_Festival_2008
Source: Iceland Review Online
The 3 Bands:
Vicky Pollard
"Alien" Video

"Nowhere" @ Grand Rokk @ Iceland Airwaves 2007


"Dancing Queen"- ABBA Cover by The Sugarcubes is 54. Song of the Week

The Sugarcubes doing a (demo) cover of ABBA's "Dancing Queen".

Björk in 3 D @ Yahoo

Björk's "Wanderlust" @ Yahoo

Wanderlust in Ratatat Mix

sunnudagur, mars 30, 2008

Sigur Rós - Lots of Photographs in Slideshow

Sigur Rós Slideshow

GusGus in Inrockuptibles Magazine 1999

The GusGus bunch years ago in French Inrockuptibles Magazine 1999.

On 4. March GusGus announced that they (President Bongo & Biggi Veira, the only 2 members left in the band/collective) officially started working on their 6th Studio Album. The First Single is scheduled in July; The Album in the Fall of 2008.


The Making of Björk's 3D "Wanderlust" Video

Björk - Making of the Video for "Wanderlust" (Matthew Herbert Mix)

Wanderlust - the making of wanderlust

Making a splash
Published in Post Magazine 7. February 2008
NEW YORK — Music videos are not just for MTV anymore ; just ask Bowling for Soup. Or check out Björk’s latest — a Mongolian fantasia involving a romp in a CG river, a herd of digitally replicated giant yak puppets and lots more.
Wanderlust” on her recent CD, “Volta” is six minutes long and the new video Wanderlust is over seven minutes with its extended intro. And it’s in stereoscopic 3D. With lots of 3D animation and effects and surreal characters and surroundings. The yaks even get to bellow rhythmically in the opening sequence.
Wanderlust appears in stereo — 3D glasses included — on Björk’s new DVD. But there’s more in store for such an ambitious video. The producers plan to get the piece screened theatrically in New York, LA and San Francisco. They also plan to run the video online for those who have their own anaglyph glasses. The televised version will appear in standard definition.
Damijan Saccio is principal and co-founder, with Scott Sindorf, of New York-based UVPhactory (www.uvph.com). The design, production and motion graphics boutique’s slogan is “How can we do something that we’ve never done before ?” Last August, Saccio and company were challenged with just that. One important factor in Wanderlust is the water in the river Björk, and her yaks, encounter. It is alive. The video’s San Francisco-based directors, who do business as Encyclopedia Pictura (represented by Ghost Robot in NYC), intended to give Björk a seemingly living testament to her song’s inner meaning.
But this water, created by Saccio’s team at UVPhactory in SoftimageXSI, would be interactive, it would have full three-dimensional depth and would be woven, not from some shrink-wrap water-generating software, and not from a particle program, but from an XSI “human hair” simulating module. The undulating river water also bubbles, boils, splashes (splashing is a particle program) and ultimately generates a “rivergod” being which in turn causes a dramatic waterfall “vortex” that sweeps away the god, Björk, her fantastical alter-ego and even the yaks.
Saccio salutes a large team of hard workers on Wanderlust — there were about 40 artists contributing, off and on (see their Website for complete credits), to the post process alone and they created 37 different water shots. Softimage even sent an engineer, Dilip Singh, to help UVPhactory train XSI’s human hair program to behave like water. UVPhactory compositors worked in After Effects to provide rig removal and background removal for the numerous comps in essentially every scene.
Directing team Sean Hellfritsch and Isaiah Saxon intended to do big things for Björk with a decidedly small music video budget. But they have the right attitude for making things happen — do a lot of it yourself and depend on your friends. First, their camera of choice was 2K — 2048x1152 at 24fps — but it was not a budget-breaker, it was Silicon Imaging’s new SI-2K Mini. Along with the Mini, they got a CineForm RAW encoding license. Joel Edelstein joined the two Minis to shoot stereo.
Shooting greenscreen locally in Long Island City (Hellfritsch and Saxon lived in NYC during their months of work on the video) the two cobbled together two interesting solutions. On set they used a custom-built beam-splitter rigged up with a mirror to line up the two SI-2K Minis for proper stereo. They had to shoot their giant yak (a fanciful, very large, yak-like beast with two performers inside giving it movement and expression) from many angles so that later UVPhactory could composite it repeatedly to create a yak herd in which the yaks are seen in different positions from different angles. They also had to capture Björk’s performance in stereo : she “rides” a yak (actually two furry humps resembling the yak’s) ; she deals with the river water as if it’s a character unto itself — and so it is, there’s the “river god” (a live actor digitally augmented) ; she faces off with her own personal demon — her character’s dark side, called her “painbody” — another live performer who materializes out of Björk’s backpack ; and these characters then swirl into a vortex-like CG waterfall plummeting downward at the video’s climax.
Hellfritsch and Saxon shot Björk and her doppelganger hanging upside down so they could capture the look of their hair falling naturally.
The directing partners’ second innovation was for use in post : a wooden box of their own making allowing a polarized stereo display with a right-angle beam-splitter. Dubbed a “Vizard,” the box allowed them to quickly gauge if their two stereo streams flowed naturally into one 3D image. UVPhactory’s After Effects compositors worked in anaglyph mode — classic 3D glasses with one blue eye and one red.
The directors got right to work editing Wanderlust in Adobe Premiere after they shot it last summer. Of course, this greenscreen shoot would yield a rough cut full of holes to be filled with matte backgrounds of fabulous mountains and sky, lots of yaks and the CG water — but at least it’s a roadmap. For Saccio Wanderlust proved to be “a unique challenge. Being shot stereographically, every scene we do in 3D we have to do twice. This was a labor of love.”

Lay Low @ Bad Taste Evening @ Bozar 30. April 2008

Lay Low, the singer-songwriter is added to the Program of the Belgian Iceland Airwaves - Iceland on the Edge Festival.
So she'll perform the 30. April too @ the Bad Taste Evening @ Bozar/Paleis voor de Schone Kunsten
"Please don't hate me" Lay Low Video

Lay Low @ Reykjavik Art Museum @ Iceland Airwaves Festival 2007

"Jolene", a Dolly Parton cover by Lay Low

Bad Taste 4 Ever http://badtaste4ever.wordpress.com/
Lay Low @ www.myspace.com/baralovisa

Rokka Hringinn - Rock around Iceland

Rock Around Iceland with Rás 2 & Monitor: 1.-11. April
1. apríl, Fjölbrautaskóli Suðurlands (Selfoss), 20:00
2. apríl, Prófasturinn (Vestmannaeyjar), 20:00
3. apríl, Sindrabær (Höfn í Hornafirði), 20:00
4. apríl, Valhöll (Eskifjörður), 21:00
5. apríl, Græni hatturinn (Akureyri), 21:00
10. apríl, Paddy‘s (Reykjanesbæ), 21:00
11. apríl, Nasa (Reykjavík), 21:00
Icelandic Bands on the Program are:
Dr. Spock
Benny Crespo‘s Gang
"Hold me alive" Sign Unplugged @ Icelandic Radio (November 2007)

Aldrei for ég sudur Myndir - The Festival Photographs

Aldrei for ég sudur Myndir - The Fifth Festival in Pictures @

laugardagur, mars 29, 2008

Gus Gus "Is Jesus Your Pal?" and" Why?" Alternative Videos

"Is Jesus Your Pal?"


NME & Clash Magazine & The Scotsman Reviews of "Aldrei fór ég suður aka I Never Went South Festival" Ed. 2008

NME Review
Bands, fans and ex Sugarcubes come together for I Never Went South festival
March 24th, 2008

While the rest of Europe was still working on its line-ups, Iceland got its music festival season underway over the Easter weekend (March 21-22).

Despite snow, the biting cold and its proximity to the Arctic Circle, coastal fishing town Isafjördur in the island's West Fjords region, staged a two-day, free music event at its harbour area.
Featuring nearly 40 native bands the I Never Went South festival - a reaction to Icelandic musicians' tendency to gravitate to the capital, Reykjavik - is the brainchild of singer-songwriter Mugison, who has achieved recognition outside of Iceland and is supporting Queens Of The Stone Age in Canada next month.
Now in its fifth year the festival, held in a basic tin barn on the town's quay, takes place every Easter despite the chilly conditions. And it's all because of a show its creator once played in London.
"The original idea was from a gig I did at the ICA in London on what was the hottest day in something like 400 years," Mugison told NME.COM. "It was an arty farty thing so my father [Isafjördur's harbour master] and I had this great idea to do it here in the roughest conditions, not having the arty element but focusing on the local scene. At the first festival Sigur Ros did a country set, but the main focus on someone's grandfather who was headlining! We do it at Easter because it's a holiday and people can have a hangover. It's definitely the roughest conditions and the toughest part of Iceland."
While previously the likes of Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys and Blonde Redhead have played the festival, 2008 saw the focus firmly on Icelandic acts, with many travelling from across the country - some braving "the world's second most difficult landing" at the local airstrip - to play. However, Mugison was quick to stress that I Never Went South was not intended as a showcase, but as a celebration of local talent.
"It's not a conventional festival, it's more fun than usual festivals," he explained. "The bands play for 20 minutes each and they just plug in and play, so there's lots of feedback and mistakes - but that's its charm. Bands play different sets then their usual gigs because they're playing for family and friends. It’s not a platform, it’s more a joy that we're all alive. It's non-profit thing, we're doing it as a hobby."
Whittled down from around 130 applications, this year's I Never Went South boasted a vast range of genres, ages and talent.
Among the highlights on the opening night (March 21), were Bob Justman, who came across as a rocked-up Belle & Sebastian, Hjaltalin, who thanks to their multi instrumentalists and euphoric chamber pop have been called Iceland's Arcade Fire, ambient noise experimentalist Ben Frost - who called on the services of former Sugarcubes drummer Sigtryggur Baldursson - and Megas.
A legend on the native music scene and credited as "grandfather of Iceland's intellectual pop", singer-songwriter Megas felt part Mark E Smith and part an aged Pete Doherty as he played a rare set of whimsical, artful songs, that ended with a lone but highly devoted stage invader who initially could not be convinced to step down.
Mugison himself closed the first evening with a selection of his groove driven rock 'n' roll songs that inspired a frantic moshpit and waves of crowd surfers as only a local boy can.
The second day (21) had a longer bill and even more variety.
Young band Retro Stefson shined with a mix of Afrobeat and cowbells that recalled a rustic take on The Rapture, Lara Runars appeared to be Iceland's answer to Kate Nash with a pleasingly cheeky set that climaxed with a deliciously witty song about realising her boyfriend was gay, while Benny Crespo's Gang demonstrated real potential beyond the island's scene.
Combining urgent synths and driving, impassioned rock, their twin boy-girl vocalists saw them swap between moments both Biffy Clyro and Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star) would be proud of.
Locally formed band Sprengjuhöllin are currently the biggest act in Iceland - though they still retain day jobs - and got a heroes’ welcome for their Beatles-esque pop, although the town's Working Men’s Choir earned a similarly devoted response from the packed barn for playing a surreal performance that was fronted by the singer from Iceland band Dr Spock.
The singer wore a dinner jacket with pink spandex pants while the choir were in formal dress as they played a set that at featured a recent contender for Iceland's entry to the Eurovision Song Contest.
Mysterious Marta - who lives just around the corner from the venue - thrilled the crowd with vocals and songs reminiscent of Regina Spektor, while Disa, who is already famous for being ther daughter of two of Iceland's most famous musicians, came across as a more indie-leaning Portishead.
Hraun - possibly familiar to wider audiences after being finalists in a BBC World Service international battle of the bands last year - provided one of I Never Went South's biggest highlights, with a set that started with the band mixing Icelandic atmospherics with West Coast Americana and ended with them stripping down to the waste and screaming about lemon pie.
UMTS, XXX Rottweilerhundar and Sign all pointed to the Icelandic music scene's future.
All provoking violent moshpits and relentless pogoing, the first band's synthcore resembled Enter Shikari both in style and for provoking an insane audience reaction; the second act are the country's first "commercially successful" hip-hop outfit and suitably had to be carried from the stage at the end of their set; while Sign proved why they are already well-regarded by the international heavy metal community.
The festival's closing act, SSSol, fittingly best encapsulated Iceland's idiosyncratic music scene.
One of the country's biggest acts in the mid 90s and seen by many as the definition of Icelandic pop, the band have played few gigs recently and had their guitarist missing due to a hand injury.
Instead they relied on Sign's lead singer on guitar, who earnestly complimented their pop power as the crowd went wild for the reformation - the effect was felt something like The Beautiful South playing a rare gig in Pembroke Docks with Gallows' guitarist.
Speaking after I Never Went South 2008's climax, Mugison declared the event the best yet, hailing the Icelandic music scene.
"It's getting a makeover now," he explained. "There's change happening in scene at the moment. It's ten years since Sigur Ros, Mum were dominant. Now there are lots of scattered scenes that have been around for three or four years and they were all well represented here, plus we had some old greats playing too."
As for 2009, Europe's earliest festival is already making plans.
"Will Oldham has a lifetime, open invitation to play because everyone on the committee loves him," said Mugison. "If some international acts knock on the door they're welcome to play - just tell them to show up - but we have no plans in that direction and I don't care about expanding the festival because it's for the local comnunity. It's ours and it's fun. I had an idea of making a horrible festival next year just to show we're in control!"
"Stand by your man" by Eivör @ Flateyri Party @ Aldrei fór ég suður 2008

Clash Music Review
Written by Matthew Bennett
I Never Went South Festival @ Ísafjörður
Curated by Mugison. And his Dad.

Thanks Goodness for that then. When a festival calls itself ‘I Never Went South’ the implications of northern travel are patently obvious.
Nestling under a blanket of near permanent snow amongst the northern Fjords of Iceland, This event is now in its fifth low-key year and manifests itself as a two day, free music showcase of indigenous talent curated by one of the God-Fathers of the industry – Mugison. And his Dad.
The Bigger Picture:
Akin to the Fence Collective’s ‘Home Game’ in Fife, Scotland where a tiny village is commandeered in the name of folk music – I Never Went South is a local delight deliberately hosted both geographically and ideologically from the exhausted and beaten track of corporate sponsored brand wank fests which appear to be popping up like generic ring fenced mushrooms in increasing propensity.
An intimate and privileged insight
Having been to South by South West the week before (an American breaking band showcase in Austin) Clash’s latest foray was very much North by North North as trains to Glasgow gave way to Planes to Reykjavik and from there a tiny plane across the volcanic sculptured wilderness to the northern most tip of this bizarre country. Landing in an isolated town just shy of the Arctic Circle called – Ísafjörður – home to an ice hardened 4,000 people it was clear that any proceedings would be an intimate and privileged insight into one of the most musical nations on earth.
The rules are simple. Mugison picks the best variety of Icelandic bands with around 35 playing over two evenings in the town’s harbour. No band can play two years in a row, there are no rehearsals nor sound check - and its fucking freezing.
What follows now is an account of a weekend of Icelandic musical adventuring with legends playing alongside teenagers and new bands borne magically through impromptu stage sharing and resultant hugs. The sounds were as varied as the landscape with traditional Indie colliding into Ghetto-Tech Tap, ironic Trance Pop, Faroese Fok, Ska, Blues and balls out Rock and Roll.
Few words can convey the warmth, individuality and distinction which is generated when partying under the Northern Lights near the Arctic Circle amongst a close community of music obsessed Viking descendants – but let’s have a little go. . .

Overview of Friday's Proceedings - Friday Evening:
The evening after Bob Justman really got rolling when Hjaltalin, who had previously entertained the evening before in Reykjavik, (both playing in the venue Organ then inviting us back to their lead singer’s Mum’s house for a good old fashioned party) laid down their euphoric compositions. Regarded as one of the most promising acts in the country having won the Iceland Music Awards, Hjaltalin purvey melodic indie rock with a conspicuous bassoon, cello, three part brass section and usual rhythm section allowing them to alternate between full bloodied rock basslines and the soaring appeal of Sufjan Steven’s heraldic approach. Epic promise.
Welcoming and open minded to a massive degree
In a nation where personal entertainment is the key from isolated madness, Mugison’s programming of the evening possessed a lovely level of friction. Third band in Ben Frost opened up with heaving, distorted bass far left of leftfield. Clicks, pops and plunging levels of sub bass swarmed around the packed warehouse populated by walks of life from every tier of this tiny nation of only 300,000.
The population though small is welcoming and open minded to a massive degree – the crowd, heavy with middle aged mothers with many a child in tow, soaked up the disorientating instrumental sounds effortlessly. As the two guitarists duelled through experimentalism Frost manipulated his laptop warping the atmosphere to a point where Pansonic – the arch dukes of noise terror would have been well satisfied. Gut settling sounds.
Rapturously received after 20 minutes it was again clear that the Icelanders, no matter how old will listen and appreciate any creativity though no doubt helped by the fact that they are related in some vague capacity. Next up Vax were dispatched to appease the middle palette as their well meaning power pop surfed a US West Coast accessibility, reinforced with a sunny American accent, occasionally swerving into a Hammond furore capable of jolting the Inspiral Carpets back into their best pop moments.
Any music fan who has dipped a toe into the geothermal waters of Iceland’s music over the last two decades will be aware of the Sugarcubes; the band that spawned Björk’s dominating forces. One of the true legends of the scene, drummer Sigtryggur Baldursson, has never tired of his grass roots activity, back now with a band named Steintryggur peddling an Eastern Dub fusion with live congos, bangra flavours and ephemeral basslines that sound liked like Alex Paterson on holiday in Goa.
More positive friction ensued as the calm was roundly shattered by Mordingjarnir, who rotundly delivered thrashed up punk which exploded into 1,000 pairs of ears simultaneously. Whereas some bands choose to sing in English, some mix and match and occasionally plump for an American inflection - there’s a core of acts that sing vehemently in Icelandic, harmonising their spiky rock with their terse plosives in their native tongue and Morðingjarnir lead the charge on their indigenous funk.
Next up: a spine straightening tad of hype. ‘Iceland’s answer to Aphex Twin’ was muttered throughout the crowd. Queue severe intrigue. Satisfied by the arrival of Biogen. A largely hirsute character who looked and acted like he’d fallen from the back of Hell’s Angel bike and landed in a bag of ketamine with his laptop. Fierce yet funky drill and bass, thundering techno grooves, raging static and plunging breaks whipped the crowd into a mosh. Later described by curator Mugison as his favourite act of the evening it seems this reclusive bedroom bandit has a bright future in hardened dance circles.
Skakkamanage - Reykjavíkian heroes were up next, having entertained us in the legendary Kaffibarrin the night before their perfectly angled melodic indie was the perfect sonic After Eight from Biogen. With bohemian Birky, a vulnerable female keyboardist au fait with Belle and Sebastian keeping their tight percussive structures warm, Skakkamanage pummel their crowd with sunshine vibes enlightening towards the much anticipated final trinity of Hjalmar, Megas and Mugison
It was only ever going to go one way.
The former of this triptych tickled with Ska and Reggae jaunts towards angular territories of Mick Jones from the Clash. Fun frolicking and playful Hjalmar came across like a ginger incarnation of the Specials incongruously playing their sunshine skank in one of the most freezing landscapes in the world.
After a quick reshuffle on stage Hjalmar transformed into the backing band for Megas – an absolute living legend and described as Iceland’s answer to Pete Doherty. This association however is derived from Megas’s hard drug abuse and acclaimed poetic acrobatics. Regarded locally as a genius, Megas was a high brow mathematical professor whose high strung personality led to mental collapse only to be re-appropriated through musical salvation and private hedonism. This 70 something figure, haggard and sunken in face deftly delivered an arch lesson in Bluesy, wonky Country which Johnny Cash himself would be merrily tapping his grave foot to.
Rapturously received Mugison then took to his own stage launching fast into throaty balls out Blues, a stark contrast to his electronic work but playing to his home crowd of ages eight to 80 it was only ever going to go one way.
With several stone wall classics under his belt there were tastes of his new album Mugi Boogie, self produced and self released out in mid May. Mugison has commandeered entire northern communities to help hand make his 20,000 albums, from the local geriatrics coffee morning (600 albums made) to the local young football team (1800 made) Mugison’s personality extends far past heartfelt banter as her mainlines into the national economy.
Day two of the festival - Saturday Night:
The afternoon started with a splash. One renowned local lout managed to spin his car into the harbour along with three happy hardcore doting brethren. But once they’d been fished out the music started in earnest with Halfkak whose imitative heavy rock suggests they could lose the first half of their name.
The somewhat teutonically named VilHelm were next up forging a fine line in Calypso inflected bawd. Wonky and fun filled their double bass and congas served up a exotic tone completely incongruous to the freezing backdrop.
One renowned local lout managed to spin his car into the harbour
Rap has it’s moments in Iceland and thus Prinsinn og Rattó timed their 15 minutes of fame to local perfection protruding their heavy lyrical stand off far into the crowd which swelled significantly for the arrival of Benny Crespo's Gang – much lauded indie adventurers who had the tenacity to lug three vintage keyboards through a six hour journey through the icy northern Fjords from Reykjavik.
Mixing searing rock with eerie Portishead palpable lulls under tender female vocalisations, they raised the bar to yet another level and sent a note of promise to their future international careers.
Such a small population diametrically implies that going PLATINUM in Iceland requires less units. In fact a gold disk requires 5,000 sales and the holy grail double that at 10,000.
As such as, after local angst rockers Diagon and Tortoise-esque Sudden Weather Change moving proceedings swiftly on it was the Gold Selling Sprengjuhöllin who dominated the mid evening. Doling out anthems fast caught by the crowd it was a surprising sing along time as the majority joined the lyrical force despite these teenagers only forging their punchy pop for two years. Jaunty Libertine-esque narrative rock peppered the harbour area and sealed these youngsters future on a national level beyond doubt. A spot at Iceland Airwaves, the national festival seems assured for them.
The neighbouring island of the Faroes has perennially forged an alliance with Iceland, often borne through necessity but their musical boundaries are mellifluous too and Eivör, the stunning folk singer from this tiny North Atlantic isle showcased her vocal range with a deft flummox. Aside from acoustic pluckings she hammered out a rhythmic trance on a some crazy indigenous drum akin to a Bodrun before blazing an incredible sonic performance of pseudo tantric beatboxing. Effortlessly tremendous.
Juxtaposition was again at a premium as the over 60’s local fish factory choir arrived, adorned as if at a Mafia funeral resplendent in Sunday best only to be fronted by Ottarr Proppé, singer of arch surrealist electro thrash masters Doctor Spock. As living legends from the Volcanic brink go; Proppé didn’t so much take the biscuit as abduct then gang rape all the confectionary they can find.
The trademarked yellow rubber glove came out, sported too by every member of the geriatric choir, Karlakórinn Ernir, as boisterous and violent interjections and fist pummelling alternated with Proppé’s Hunter S Thompson inspired narrative growl.
‘I Never Went South’ is a direct antithesis and complete remedy.
The next three bands all lent careful direction to an event where all the bands contrast so much. Mysterious Martha revelled in great visual and fashion components, Múgsefjun blitzed a lewd line of accordion power pop whilst Skatar were possibly the most distinctively Icelandic act with Beserk naked chests, gold lycra pants, walls of distorted guitar and experimentalism incarnate as they riffed up a zeppelin storm simultaneously presenting a neat distillation of the irrepressible spirit of their unique nation.
Now apologies need to be made here to the next three bands. We missed you. The double edged sword of holding court in an Arctic environ means you are at the vagaries of the surroundings. This includes the cataclysmic ambience of the Northern Lights. As the sky streaked with electric green pulses the bands played on but after a 45 minute display of this fleeting phenomenon it was time to return to the harbour for the last four bands. We’ll just need to return next year to fill in those gaps.
UMTS (meaning Ultra Mega Techno Bandið Stefan) riled the now lairy crowd into Berserker mode with their teenaged pastiche on Trance Pop.. Ripping their tops off in true Viking style they waged war on the crowd in power chords and Euro pop flavours but the place erupted.
Without skipping a beat XXX Rottweilerhundar – a rap trio purveying filthy hip hop beats took the sounds even further into the future and were one of the highlights of the entire weekend. Complex, wonky and seedy their sounds and raps tell drunken tales oof Icelandic life flipping back the folk forms which have helped sustain their wild country for so long.
The final bands, Sign and SSSol were populist options as the former Metal fiends are one of the most bought contemporary act, though those with faint hearts maybe should opt for a quick breath of fresh air before SSSol, a 90’s pop act with many national hits took the event to its official conclusion.
For anyone bored the O2 Wireless styled events where rosters are shared and everything is franchised ‘I Never Went South’ is a direct antithesis and complete remedy.
Virgins to this Volcanic isle are recommended to get there as soon as possible and enjoy their distinctive blend of hedonism and musical nuance. There are few places on earth like Iceland’s Northern Fjords and even less bands willing to rock out under their stars…

The Scotsman Review
Fjord the love of rock
Written by Olaf Furniss
28. March 2008
A LONDON bar on the hottest day of 2003 might seem like an unusual place to conceive a unique music festival on the north west tip of Iceland, six hours by car from the capital Reykjavik. But Icelandic singer-songwriter Mugison has an endearingly unorthodox approach to much of what he does.
Back then he had just performed at a festival hosted by the Institute Of Contemporary Arts and was enjoying a few pints with his father, commonly known as Papa Mugi. The older man had recently returned to the small fishing town of Ísafjörður ("ice fjord", population circa 4,000] to become its harbourmaster.
"We had the idea to do a similar (free] festival, but with nice people," says Mugison, as he recalls enjoying some great bands but experiencing a less than cordial attitude from many of those involved in the London event.
The following day he called his friend Raggi from the Reykjavik band Trabant, and within days some of Iceland's top acts, including Sigur Rós, had agreed to play in return for travel, lodging, food and drink. They also agreed to be equal on the bill with performers from the local community, forfeit soundchecks, and play for only 20 minutes.
Deals were done with an airline, a beer company and a sponsor, whose backing of the event to the tune of ISKr 1 million (£6,600] is so discreet that it is not even clear who it is.
By the Easter weekend of 2004 Ísafjörður was hosting the first Aldrei fór ég suður festival, which translates as "Never went south". Ever since then, the festival has attracted some of Iceland's best-known musicians to play free gigs at a warehouse in the town's harbour.
For anybody used to the meticulous planning that goes into a music event in Scotland, the preparations at Aldrei can seem somewhat last-minute. Two hours before the performances are due to begin, volunteers are still attaching fairy lights to a fishing net which will serve as the stage decoration. A tractor stands in the middle of the venue, and the food and beer has yet to be delivered to the bar area.
But incredibly, nobody seems remotely concerned. There are no irate tour managers, nervous bands or stressed organisers, and as soon as the performances get underway, it is clear why – Icelandic musicians seem to have an innate ability to get on with playing without any fuss.
"There is a certain Icelandic mentality which adheres to the DIY spirit," explains Siggi Baldursson, the country's most famous drummer, who achieved acclaim in the Sugarcubes along with Björk. "It's a bit of an honour to come and play here," he adds.
Like many artists, Baldursson performs in several bands at the festival, most notably with Steintryggur, who offer a gripping fusion of Indian samples, excellent drumming and a singer who plucks a jaw harp. As they play to a packed warehouse, a group of children no older than seven watch rapt at the front of the stage, proving that, given the chance, the young are more than happy to embrace alternatives to the saccharine dross usually targeted at them.
Baldursson later appears fronting a calypso group in a local nightclub and also plays with the punk band Gavin Portland, underlining the broad-minded tastes of many musicians in Iceland.
In a country with a population of 300,000, few artists can live from music alone, meaning they are untroubled by commercial considerations and are free to experiment. This is evident with Hjaltalín, one of the first bands on the bill. Comprising ten members, including one of only 20 bassoon players in the country, they play joyous singalong songs with a distinctly quirky twist.
This diversity and openness to different genres is reflected in Aldrei's line-up. Punk band Morðingjarnir perform an adrenaline-fuelled set, which is cut short when the drunk bassist is carried off the stage for exhorting the audience to throw things at him.
They are soon followed by local legend Megas, an Icelandic Bob Dylan famed for lyrics that confront the less salubrious aspects of his society. At one point a ten-year-old child invades the stage, in a bid to get closer to an idol who is a good 50 years his senior. It is the equivalent of a primary school pupil trying to hug Mark E Smith from The Fall.
The Friday night is rounded off with Mugison's band playing a 1970s-style rock set, which has earned him a Canadian tour supporting Queens Of The Stone Age. Although the audience responds with fanatical enthusiasm, he keeps the performance to 20 minutes like everybody else, and is soon to be seen milling around the crowd unmolested. In a country as small as Iceland, heroes are very much part of the community.
By Saturday evening it seems that the entire area has decided to attend the festival. Many are eager to see the local male choir led by the hospital's head surgeon, Þorsteinn Johannesson. Aptly enough, the singers perform with Óttarr, the mild-mannered vocalist of surreal rock stalwarts Dr Spock.
"The idea was for them to be a typical choir but they really wanted to start shouting," he says. "Old guys in Iceland also follow the rock'n'roll scene!"
This is borne out on the night, as pensioners stand close to the stage while some of Iceland's hip
pest new acts perform. The impressive voice of 18-year-old Disa was unlikely to disturb the septuagenarians. But many of the seniors also stay to watch the semi-clad antics of excellent teenage keyboard punks Ultra Mega Teknóbandið Stefán, as well as the fantastic Icelandic rapping of hip-hop band XXX Rottweiler.
On Sunday night, almost 200 musicians and crew decamp to the nearby village of Flateyri, where Papa Mugi prepares them an Easter dinner before a colossal open mic session gets underway.
Outside, the temperature has dropped well below zero, but nobody seems to mind. Everybody is warmed by the unique experience they have shared over the past few days, and with the large quantity of beer available, maybe it is not so different to where Mugison and his father first had the idea to hold a festival.
Except, of course, their gathering is full of altogether nicer people.

Riceboy Sleeps @ The Agency Gallery - London & @ Bad Taste Evening of Art and Music @ Iceland on the Edge - Brussels

April the 11th - May the 17th @
The Agency Gallery, 15 A Cremer Street, E2 8HD, London
Riceboy Sleeps
are the two Icelandic artists Alex Somers and Jón Þór Birgisson, jointly authoring works on paper as we well as video works and soundscapes.
Riceboy work from found objects, this is done both in reference to Icelandic rooting as well as Beuysian aesthetics. It is fair to say that Riceboy's work begins with the written word, in old books specifically. Yet it is not the contents of the books but their visual appearance, their markings and traces of being used, which lead on to their drawings being layered on top of the worn pages. The drawings in turn are photographed and inserted in old window frames, withered from the elements with their layers of chipped paint and the drips of old paint and dust on the glass exposed.
The result of this process are poetic slight-handed drawings of boyhood memories traced on the remnants of quite literally a house. The work speaks of innocence and an intact world order, with time passing over the memory in changing seasons. The objects speak of beauty. One could leave it at that as the works are in many ways simply enchanting ....
Riceboy construct their works from multiple sources and multiple meanings. They belie the simplicity of the result. The meanings are meticulously unearthed akin to an archealogical dig, the delapidation of the book pages is given a new meaning by the addition of the drawings, which in turn function like a graffiti scrawl. The drawings grow out of stains in the book, their fast and unfinished strokes are not authored by one but two artists, we do not find out which. Other markings appear, notes, unfinished words, numbers. We do not find out who added them and when. They give the torn pages new meanings. But rather than being complete messages they are encrypted, made sometime in the past or recently, like the dust gathered on the windowframes they shift, transmute form other markings. The objects become performative, or in contemporary terms like animations.
Riceboy Sleeps are a collective of two artists and by default,as found object are used, by other unnamed authors, who all contribute to the works. They are symbols of collective memory or rather representations of snippets of memory. By turning the drawings and notes on book pages into a photograph, the first part of the work is fixed at some point, yet when being inserted into the windowframes with their markings and stains the process begins again to the point where the works become open-ended ciphers.
Riceboy's videos function along the same collage technique of piecing together found super8 footage, allowing for the flickering of spliced filmtape to form new marks or rhythmic incisions which in turn are overlayed with sound elements to form dreamlike sequences. The sound here is incidental as it becomes another mark made over someone else's memory.
The complete absence of subjectivity is "a little Piece of the Real" in the sense of Slavoij Zizek, whereby the stain becomes the subject itself.
Riceboy Sleeps works emerge from post-modern thinking by offering endless possibilities of interpretation, allowing for the collective unconscious to become part of the continuing ritual of reading and re-reading the marks.

More Riceboy Sleeps @ www.myspace.com/riceboysleeps
and @ the Belgian Iceland Airwaves - Iceland on the Edge Festival @ Bozar venue: April the 30th

Daily Mirror: Iceland Airwaves World’s 6th Best Festival

One of the largest newspapers in the UK, the Daily Mirror named the Iceland Airwaves music festival the 6th best in the world in its rating of festivals around the globe last weekend.
According to the Daily Mirror, the Belgian festival Pukkelpop is the world’s best festival and other music festivals worth visiting are Fuji Rocks in Japan, Benecassim in Spain and The Big Day Out in Australia.
Iceland Airwaves organizers told DV they are very pleased with their ranking in the Daily Mirror. This year they have traveled between other festivals around the world to both promote their own and to learn from the experience of others.
Iceland Airwaves will be held this year October 15 to 19.
Skátar Live @ Organ @ Iceland Airwaves Festival 2007

More on Iceland Airwaves Festival : www.icelandairwaves.com

All photographs & Video by Wim Van Hooste.

miðvikudagur, mars 26, 2008

Björk "Wanderlust" in 2 Dimensions

Björk's "Wanderlust" is the next single. The video is done in 3D animation but this is a short 2D preview. The video will be premiered on the 31st of March on www.yahoo.com
For the 3D version one will need special 3D glasses to watch.
Release of the Single on the 14th of April.


Mugison Warms Up for Queens of the Stone Age

Icelandic singer-songwriter Mugison and his band will open for the American rock band Queens of the Stone Age during their tour in Canada in May. The band’s front man Josh Homme contacted Mugison after listening to his most recent album Mugiboogie.
“I couldn’t have dreamed of opening for a better band,” Mugison told Fréttabladid. “They have the same kind of mood I feel is on Mugiboogie, out of control body odor and real rock.”
“We have the same concert promoter in North America and I had sent him a few copies [of Mugiboogie]. Josh liked the album immediately and only needed two days to consider,” Mugison said.
Queens of the Stone Age and Mugison will play in ten cities in 13 days, including Halifax and Winnipeg, and most of the concerts are already sold out.
Last weekend, Mugison was busy organizing and performing at the fifth annual Aldrei fór ég sudur (“I never went south”) festival in Ísafjördur, the West Fjords, which he says was the best to date.

þriðjudagur, mars 25, 2008

Ólafur Arnalds

Ólafur Arnalds Interview in Germany (2007) and Life performance



Fifth West Fjords Music Festival a Success

The fifth annual Aldrei fór ég sudur (“I never went south”) music festival was held in Ísafjördur, the capital of Iceland’s West Fjords, on Friday and Saturday. According to its manager Hálfdán Bjarki Hálfdánarson it was the best attended festival to date.
Hálfdánarson said the highlight of this year’s festival was when unorthodox Icelandic rocker Óttarr Proppé, a.k.a. Dr. Spock, sang three previously unperformed songs by Mugison, backed by the local Ernir male choir, Morgunbladid reports.
Performers wore yellow rubber gloves, Dr. Spock’s trade mark since he entered the 2008 Icelandic Eurovision Song Contest with “Hvar ertu nú?” (“Where are you now?”) by Dr. Gunni.
Another popular concert was held by old school rock band SSSól with lead singer Helgi Björnsson, who is originally from Ísafjördur.
The Aldrei fór ég sudur festival is the brainchild of father and son Gudmundur M. Kristjánsson and Elías Örn Gudmundsson, a.k.a. Mugison.
SSSól featuring Mugison performing "Farðu alla leið"


Sigur Rós @ Cloosing Weekend @ Sirkus, R'vik

Sigur Rós performed a new song (of the fourthcoming Album) @ the Cloosing Party @ Sirkus venue, downtown Reykjavik

mánudagur, mars 24, 2008

Búdrýgindi's "Gledskapur" Video



Interview with múm's Örvar

PSL Interview with Örvar of múm @ Airwaves '07 about Icelandic music scene


"Temptation" is the 53. Song of the Week

Dísa's "Temptation" is the 53. Song of the Week.
Bryndís Jakobsdóttir aka Dísa is the daughter of Ragnhildur (Ragga) Gísladóttir & Jakob Frímann Magnússon (both of Stuðmenn fame).

Minus Album "The Great Northern Whalekill" on OLI Label

Minus Video for song "Throwaway Angel"


Sightseeing with President Bongo of GusGus

President Bongo of GusGus for Pete Tong's FastTrax

66° North

Morten W. Gjul Paintings

Music by Sigur Rós.

Amiina @ Icelandic TV @ Hljómsveit kvöldsins

Amiina Live @ Icelandic TV @ Hljómsveit kvöldsins (Band of the evening)

Steed Lord Live @ Iceland Airwaves 2006

Steed Lord Live @ PRAVDA Club @ Iceland Airwaves Festival '06

Ghostigital "Goodmorning" Live @ Toronto (12. & 13. March 2008)

Ghostigital's Góðan Daginn in Toronto


Singapore Sling Live @ Paris Video

Singapore Sling
"Life is Killing my Rock & Roll"


föstudagur, mars 21, 2008

Monitor Blog Aldrei fór ég suður

Monitor provides a blog in Icelandic on the Aldrei fór ég suður Festival @ www.monitor.is/AldreiForEgSudur/Blogg

Program of the Festival Aldrei fór ég suður

Bob Justman
Ben Frost
Retro Stefson
Hellvar ("Give me gold" Live @ Gaukurinn (2006))

Johnny Sexual
Lára Rúnars
Prinsinn og Rattó
Benny Crespos
Sudden weather change
Karlakórinn og Óttarr
Mysterious Marta

XXX Rottweilerhundar
And the own site of the Festival is www.aldrei.is

FM Belfast: Artist of the Day @ Spin

FM Belfast
We hardly knew ye at SXSW, but we wish we did! Geeky, Icelandic synth pop gets us every time.
By Peter Gaston
What's the Deal?

After a friend described this outfit as "an Icelandic Hot Chip who decorate everything with Christmas lights," we instantly lamented not seeing them in Austin. And we felt even worse after checking their MySpace www.myspace.com/fmbelfast
It's gloriously kitchy, Commodore-64-style digipop, sung in gleefully off-kilter accented English. Kind of like a low-fi version of Royksopp.
According to their official website, FM Belfast includes eight members, but we can't seem to find any evidence that all eight members play in the band at any given time. After a few gigs in Austin and a few in NYC (including one about two blocks from this writer's front stoop!), FM Belfast isn't scheduled for more gigs until two U.K. festivals in September: Isle of Wight's Bestival and Dorset's End of the Road.
Fun Fact:
FM Belfast doesn't need a frilly rock venue to get down: They rocked a bookstore for their Iceland Airwaves performance this year.

FM Belfast @ Iceland Airwaves 2007 - Icelandair Opening Party @ Kjarval Museum @ Reykjavik (Video by Wim Van Hooste)

miðvikudagur, mars 19, 2008

Icelandic Music Awards 2007

The annual Icelandic Music Awards 2007 were held 18. March in Reykjavik in Borgarleikhúsið with performances Sprengjuhöllin, Hjaltalín, Páll Óskar, Einar Scheving and Njútón. All of the artists were nominated, among a whole bunch of others.

Páll Óskar picked up the most awards, followed closely by Mugison and then Hjaltalín and Björk with two each.

Record of the year 2007
- rock/alternative : Mugiboogie - Mugison
- popp : Frágangur/Hold er mold - Megas og Senuþjófarnir
- general: Við og við - Ólöf Arnalds
- jazz : Cycles -Einar Scheving
- classical/contemporary : Melódía - Kammerkórinn Carmina

Performer of the year:
- Björk
- classical: Kammersveitin Ísafold
- jazz : Sigurður Flosason

Song of the year:
- classical/contemporary : Apocrypha by Hugi Guðmundsson
- jazz : Daboli by Agnar Má Magnússon
- misc.: Verum í sambandi by Snorri Helgason og Berg Ebba Benediktsson

Lyricist : Bergur Ebbi Benediktsson
Songwriter : Högni Egilsson
Female singer: Björk
Male singer: Páll Óskar Hjálmtýsson

Brightest hope: Hjaltalín

Movie/TV music of the year: Pétur Ben Music in Parents/Foreldrar
Video of the year : Gísli Darri and Bjarki Rafn for The Great Unrest with Mugison
Album cover : Mugiboogie - Mugison
Netverðlaun Tónlist.is : Páll Óskar Hjálmtýsson
Vinsældaverðlaun Visir.is
: Páll Óskar Hjálmtýsson

mánudagur, mars 17, 2008

Reviews of the Belgian Iceland Airwaves Edgy gigs by múm - Kira Kira - Parachutes - Skakkamanage @ Ancienne Belgique (AB) @ Brussels 8. March 2008

Review by DaMusic
Icelandic music is getting more and more popular, as illustrated by the movies Heima of Sigur Rós and the documantary Screaming Masterpiece of Ari Alexander Ergis Magnússen. The Belgian Iceland Airwaves Festival organised by Bozar and Ancienne Belgique in Belgium is a small version of the Icelandic one.
Skakkamanage took a cozy start but ended in chaos. Two different voices in a clash as 2 trains on the same trail.
Borko, sometimes with irony, sometimes serious.
The performance of Kira Kira aka Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir did not need the visuals in the background.
múm of the past, was now just an echo on stage, but the make-over was necessary and more than OK.

Tom Weyn
Van een land met 313.000 inwoners, verspreid over een oppervlakte van 100.000 vierkante kilometer, dat bovendien aan het randje van onze wereld lijkt te hangen, verwacht men niet veel muzikale acrobatie. Dat gaat echter niet op voor het prachtige IJsland. De laatste jaren kennen we een ongekende stroom aan nieuwe IJslandse groepen en is er zowaar sprake van een bescheiden hype. De grondleggers hiervan zijn zonder twijfel Sigur Rós, die overigens vorig jaar met hun concertfilm Heima een prachtig beeld schetsten van het meest tot de verbeelding sprekende land van onze planeet. Een andere aanrader om grip te krijgen op de bloeiende IJslandse muziekscene is de documentaire Screaming Masterpiece van Ari Alexander Ergis Magnússen.
In de toenemende populariteit van deze IJslandse muziek zagen ook de AB en Bozar hun kans schoon om er een heus festival rond op te zetten. Iceland Airwaves is een miniatuurversie van het immense gelijknamige festival dat in oktober in Ijsland zelf plaatsvindt en biedt ons een staalkaart van het beste uit het hoge Noorden. Op de vierde avond van het festival was het vooral uitkijken naar de komst van het herbronde Múm, maar voor het zover was, kregen we nog een gezonde portie aanstormend talent voorgeschoteld.

Eerste in rij was Skakkamanage. Met zo’n groepsnaam moet je al sterk in je schoenen staan en dat bleek gelukkig ook het geval. Al snel bleek de club, en dan vooral het podium, veel te klein voor deze bende fanatiekelingen. Het zestal blonk tijdens deze eerste passage op Belgische bodem voornamelijk uit in veelzijdigheid. Waar het optreden nog gemoedelijk startte, werd het naar het einde toe een ware chaos. Zo’n evolutie juichen we niet altijd toe, maar Skakkamanage kwam er goed mee weg. Naast de klassieke instrumenten was het vooral de mondharmonica die de muziek zijn kleur gaf. Aanvankelijk hadden we onze twijfels bij de samenzang: apart twee uiterst mooie stemmen maar samen botsten ze als twee treinen op hetzelfde spoor. Desalniettemin een ontdekking. En het zou niet de eerste van de avond zijn.

Op hun huidige tour door Europa had múm het ietwat vreemde Borko uitgekozen als voorprogramma. Hierdoor belandde het zestal ook op het grote podium van de AB. Getooid in niet altijd even flatterende marcellekes (speciaal voor de gelegenheid want tijdens zijn Wikipediazoektocht over Brussel was de über-Borko teweten gekomen dat de uitvinder ervan een Brusselaar was) vergastte de groep ons op een bizarre set. Voortdurend werd er gespeeld met de grens tussen ironie en ernst, wat Borko sierde. Ook hier weer afwisseling troef met als sleutelinstrument de trompet. Een genre kunnen we er wederom niet op plakken maar vast staat wel dat het om atypische maar opwindende IJslandse muziek ging.

Video Parachutes
In de volksverhuizing richting Club die hierop volgde, raakten we hopeloos achterop en dus ook hopeloos te laat om het naar verluid fantastische Parachutes aan het werk te zien. Geduldig wachten op Kira Kira was dus de boodschap. En ook hier kunnen we de term ‘ontdekking’ weer bovenhalen. Onder het pseudoniem Kira Kira gaat Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir schuil. Qua podiumprésence had ze alleszins veel gemeen met haar bekende naamgenote en die vergelijking kon bij momenten ook doorgetrokken worden naar haar muziek. Geruggensteund door een uitstekende groep, waarin vooral de dubbele percussie een essentiële rol speelde, kregen we kleine knutselwerkjes te horen. Want knutselen is wat Kira Kira doet op het podium. Haar gereedschap daarvoor zijn een gitaar, laptop, muziekdoosjes en allerhande andere dingen die een doorsnee mens als rommel zou aanzien. De visuals op de achtergrond waren zelfs overbodig en dat is bij zulke muziek geen evidentie.

múm vierde vorige jaar zijn tienjarig bestaan met de release van ‘Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy’ en kwam voor de vijfde keer afgezakt naar de AB om hun plaat voor te stellen. Ditmaal moesten we het zonder de zusjes Gyoa en Kristin Anna Valtysdottir stellen: zij verlieten enkele jaren geleden de groep. Op het podium zagen we nu een divers achttal onder de deskundige leiding van Gunnar Örn Tynes. Naast de vrouwelijke stemmen die steeds een onontbeerlijk deel van Múms muziek hebben uitgemaakt, kreeg ook hij een prominente rol toebedeelt op vocaal vlak en die vervulde hij met verve.

Na het openingsnummer waarbij zowat iedereen uit de andere groepen aantrad als achtergrondkoor kregen we het ontroerende Moon Pulls te horen met daaropvolgend Oh, How the Boat Drifts. Het eerste kippenvel van de avond verscheen op onze armen. Hierna evolueerde Múm echter geleidelijk aan naar een meer uitbundige sfeer die zijn hoogtepunt kende met Dancing Behind My Eyelids. De múm van vroeger was nog slechts een echo in wat we nu te horen kregen. Wat wel hetzelfde is gebleven, is de manier waarop je opgenomen wordt en, als je het jezelf toelaat, in een soort van trance geraakt waarin je je laat meevoeren op de wonderlijke klanken die múm uit haar instrumenten haalt. Het verschil bestaat er hem in dat die klanken vandaag heel wat dansbaarder zijn geworden. Deze evolutie zou door de fans wel eens kritisch onthaald kunnen worden maar wij zien het als een absolute noodzaak én een meer dan geslaagde herbronning.
Source: http://damusic.be/reportage/1106

Review by Digg
Iceland a strange country with less inhabitants than Luxembourg, but with a fantastic music scene. Do they have more interesting bands? Maybe.
Do they have found a good manner to bring their music worldwide? Probably.
They are all friends and they come in groups. Just like a plague, and there are good friends and no so good friends of course.
Is Iceland a synonym for quality?
The first bunch of friends were Skakkamanage, indierockband à la Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, a little bit Madrugada and even Admiral Freebee. The singer even looks like Tom Van Laere.
The six of Borko got lost in their own songs.
Parachutes, swimming in the postrock pool and maybe a too much Scandinavian sound. Compliments towards the backing vocalist/dancer/violin player.
Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir and 5 others, Kira Kira, frontlady in a wonderland made of mandoline, laptop, trombone, guitars and drums.
Finally a reborn múm, proofing why they are so popular in Belgium.

Kristof Vande Velde
We houden van die avonden waar je van het ene podium naar het andere kan wandelen zonder tijd te verliezen aan soundchecks of artiesten die hun fles wijn eerst willen legen en met een Club op de eerste verdieping en een grote zaal op het gelijkvloers, leent de AB zich prima voor dergelijke mini-festivals. Het thema van de dag was... IJsland. Het is toch wel vreemd dat een land met duidelijk minder inwoners dan pakweg Luxemburg onze alternatieve (muziek)cultuur zo in de ban kan houden. Hebben ze daar dan relatief gezien meer bands die de moeite zijn? Wellicht. Hebben ze misschien de juiste manier gevonden om hun muziek naar hier te brengen? Waarschijnlijk. Het zijn er allemaal vrienden en ze brengen elkaar mee. Dit klinkt een beetje als een plaag en dat is het zeker niet, maar zoals steeds bestaan er goede en minder goede vrienden en waarom zou IJsland plots een synoniem voor kwaliteit zijn? Feit is dat het deze keer múm was dat ons, Belgen, naar de zaal lokte en ons hun vrienden voorstelde.
De eerste van die vrienden heette Skakkamanage. De om 19 uur al bijna volledig gevulde club zag een vijftal dat een verdienstelijke indierock bracht met folk- en country-elementen en dat met een behoorlijk breed palet want we hoorden nu eens Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, dan wat Madrugada en vervolgens onze eigen Admiral Freebee. De zanger had trouwens ook opvallend veel weg van Tom Van Laere. Afsluiten deed Skakkamanage met (al dan niet bewust) piepende gitaren, lichte noise en IJslands gebrabbel. Moet kunnen!
Het meest opvallende aan de zes van Borko was hun witte mouwloze onderlijf - omdat het volgens hen in Brussel is uitgevonden - en hun (pogingen tot) humor. Gemakkelijkheidshalve kondigden ze hun genre aan als emotionele progrock en 'uitgesponnen progrock' was inderdaad wat we noteerden. Het jammere aan de band is, dat ze soms zo veel kanten opwilden dat we de weg wat verloren en we eigenlijk van minder geslaagde songs kunnen spreken. Enkel hun trompettist bracht wat leven in de brouwerij maar hun songs als 'Shoo Ba Ba' en 'Doo Doo Doo' mochten gerust in IJsland blijven.
Terug naar boven voor Parachutes, de eerste band waar we 'iets' van konden verwachten. Parachutes zwemt in de post-rockvijver en heeft bijzonder goed naar hun landgenoten van Sigur Rós geluisterd. Iets te goed eigenlijk want wat we zagen was een Sigur Rós-light met een volledige afwezigheid van eigenheid. Jammer, want dit is beslist een band met potentieel al moeten ze dit misschien gaan zoeken buiten het prototypische Scandinavische geluid (een xylofoon hier, een viool daar, een schuiftrompet hier en alles zo dromerig en feeëriek mogelijk). Onze complimenten gaan naar de celliste/violiste/backing vocal/danseres die bezield enthousiast op het podium stond en de animo op haar eentje de lucht injoeg. Na drie bands bleek Parachutes toch wel de sterkste formatie die we zagen.
Tot een Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir het podium betrad en vijf anderen meebracht die samen Kira Kira heten. De frontvrouw gedroeg zich als een zevenjarige in een wondere wereld van geluiden, geproduceerd door gitaren, een dubbele drums, pedal steel, trombone, mandoline, een laptop en een aantal rariteiten en hoewel het geluid ook bijzonder Scandinavisch klonk, sprong Kira Kira hier een stuk creatiever mee om dan Parachutes deed. ‘Beach Box Disasters' klonk onheilspellend chaotisch en bevreemdend. In ‘Bless' werd duidelijk dat het vooral de pedal steel was die de sound van Kira Kira apart maakte. Kristín mag dan geen ijzersterke zangeres zijn, met in sterk Scandivasche tongval uitgesproken zinnen als "this is getting even funner by the minute," kreeg ze de sympathie van de zaal volledig mee.

múm Video
Tot slot was het aan múm zelf om te bewijzen voor wie de overgrote meerderheid eigenlijk was gekomen. Vanaf opener ‘Winter (What We Never Were After All)' was het duidelijk dat ze dit met verve zouden doen. Koor met dienst was iedereen die in het verloop van de avond op een podium had gestaan, waarbij echter duidelijk werd dat een geoefend koor toch nog iets anders is. Maar deze lichte smet deed niets af aan de prestatie van múm, dat ook live hun nieuw gekozen pad sinds Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy volledig insloeg, met uitzondering van bisnummer ‘Smell Memory' dat hun bekende electronica van vorig werk helemaal boven haalde. Vanaf tweede nummer ‘Moon Pulls' kregen we enkel múm en kwam hun ware talent in deze sober gebrachte versie bovendrijven. ‘Oh, How the Boat Drifts' van Summer Make Good en een nieuw nummer waar nog wat werk aan is, waren de enige twee songs voor de bis die niet van de laatste langspeler geplukt werden. múm maakte er dan ook een plezier van om hun songs in de meeste gevallen van een nieuw jasje te voorzien. Het skelet van ‘Marmalade Fires' stond er nog maar de invulling was uniek. ‘A Little Bit, Sometimes' kreeg dan weer een geheel nieuwe intro mee. ‘Blessed Brambles' werd het hoogtepunt van de avond, mede door een onverwachte drumsolo, en Kiss kwam even om de hoek kijken toen múm ‘I Was Made for Lovin' You' vanuit ‘Dancing Behind my Eyelids' liet overvloeien. Wie zich voor het optreden een múm-kazoo had aangeschaft, mocht tenslotte, samen met alle vorige bands, nog eens meefluiten op ‘They Made Frogs Smoke ‘Til They Exploded'. Het groepsgevoel is altijd belangrijk geweest voor de mannen van múm.
Het positieve aan Iceland Airwaves bleek dat de kwaliteit - een verdraaiing in het begin uitgezonderd - er in de loop van de avond steeds beter op werd. Laten we vooral onthouden dat Parachutes mits enig zoekwerk nog heel wat kan bereiken, Kira Kira een naam wordt die Vlaanderen zal beginnen koesteren en múm bewees waarom ze in onze streken zo geliefd zijn. IJsland, het moet er toch de moeite zijn.
Source: www.digg.be/gigs.php?id=356
English abstracts by Wim Van Hooste.