laugardagur, janúar 31, 2009

Five years on... Looking back @ the Icelandic music scene (Grapevine Magazine 2008)

The author of the best book in English on Icelandic music, Paul Sullivan, wrote a note about the music scene in Iceland since he published his book "Waking up in Iceland" 5 years ago.
Five years on... Looking back at the Icelandic music scene
Reykjavik Grapevine 11. November 2008
By Paul Sullivan
As Van “The Man” Morrison once sagely noted: “Music is spiritual; the music industry is not”. We all know which side of the fence Icelandic music falls on (usually drunkenly), but last month in Reykjavik we’ve had both sides of the story. While Iceland Airwaves let loose its usual sonic juju, a music conference called You Are In Control took care of what we might call ‘the business end’.
But let’s rewind. Five years ago I published “Waking Up In Iceland,” a book that set out to explore Iceland’s unique and remarkable music scene. Back then it was all about bands like Trabant and Quarashi, Singapore Sling and The Leaves. Thule was the name of a record label (as well as a beer) and “Esja” was just a mountain, and not a musical project.
Trawling around Airwaves last month, devouring the dynamic and contrastive range of sounds - the roaring immensity of Reykjavík! vs. the feelgood post-disco of FM Belfast; the avant bricolage of Ghostigital vs. the soaring beauty of Ólafur Arnalds; the joyful noise of Hjaltalin and Retro Stefson, to name but a few – it occurred to me that the scene has totally remixed itself.
While the scene’s Old Masters are still around – Björk, Sigur Rós and múm are all still busy maintaining their heavyweight titles, buoyed by the inexorable rise of established acts like Mugison, Jóhann Jóhannson and Emiliana Torrini – many of the Class of ‘03 are now gone.
In their place is a new breed that adds greatly to the scene’s already famed diversity. They’re more confident, yet more insouciant too. Bands seem to be enjoying themselves more these days (a bit of a global trend perhaps) and a lot of the performances, from the in-yer-face antics of Ultra-Mega-Technoband-Stefán and Reykjavík! to the jaunty collectivism of Benni Hemm Hemm, FM Belfast and Retro-Stefson – are electrifying.
Folk have been getting their shit together on a business tip too. The uncompromising DIY ethic that the scene was built on still runs through it, but artists seem to enjoy further reach thanks to the internet and its myriad resources. More acts seem to be getting out on the road, hooking up deals and using the social-networking realm to promote themselves.
Five years ago there was talk of getting more funding for the music industry and perhaps professionalizing it – that also finally seems to be happening. The Kraumur Music Fund aims “to strengthen Icelandic musical life, primarily by supporting young musicians in performing and presenting their works…by providing direct grants, professional assistance and various forms of cooperation.” So far, Mugison, amiina, FM Belfast, Skakkamanage and Ólöf Arnalds – a fine and deserving selection by anyone’s standards - have been awarded handouts and hopefully more will benefit later this year.
In terms of promotion – often a sticking point for Icelandic bands - the scene has grown an ‘official’ mouthpiece in the shape of the Icelandic Music Export office (IMX for short), a “one-stop shop” for info on Icelandic music that I was happily recruited to edit and provide content for in 2007. In the space of a year we’ve managed to build a useful two-way portal between Icelandic music, it’s fans and interested professionals, where bands can upload profiles, songs, videos and contact info for free.
It was IMX that organised the two-day conference You Are In Control, held prior to Airwaves at the Saga Hotel, which brought together an international assembly of industry moguls, keynote speakers and local musicians in Reykjavik.
So yeah, things are moving. Yet the heart of the scene remains the same, still driven by the same dynamics: a need for competition and collaboration, for creative expression and experimentation, for external recognition; to believe in the spirituality of music. Oh yes - and the need to throw really fucking great parties and make some of the greatest music in the world for no reason other than…it’s fun.
Some things, hopefully, will never change.

Hafdis Huld is working hard on her 2nd Album

Recently Hafdis Huld recorded some songs for her second Album in an extremely cold living room @ a farm house.
Source: MySpace
An Album to be released in 2009?
A song of her Debut Album "Dirty Paper Cup" (2006):
"Who loves the sun"

Sigur Rós: The Independent Interview (January 2009)

Sigur Rós:
Why we're mesmerised by the hypnotic Icelandic band

The Independent
30. January 2009
Sigur Rós's glacial soundscapes are all over British television and tomorrow The Independent is giving readers an exclusive collection of their best tracks. Andy Gill examines their soaring popularity and explains why he is mesmerised by the hypnotic Icelandic band.

Each week, along with the basic album and singles sales charts, there are myriad other charts published that track the diverse fortunes of the music industry, including those for the various major download sites, and the number of radio plays each track has secured. The one thing that isn't measured, however, may be the most influential of all: the prominence a piece of music achieves on that most powerful of all media, television.
Television is important in a way that the other charts, by their very nature, ignore: less concerned with immediacy, it can afford to ignore the rapidly changing tastes of a fickle industry like music, but employ the same piece of music over and over again, establishing it as the musical livery of a programme or strand, and confirming it as one of the emblematic musical signatures of its era. For the last year or two, it's been Sigur Rós's heavenly "Hoppípolla" that can't be avoided.
You've all heard it hundreds of times: that tentative piano figure cycling around and around, seeming to climb up and up expectantly like an MC Escher belvedere, until it finally reaches some emotional tipping-point and brims over, cascading in soul-lifting waves of fulfilment as strings and brass crowd round to hymn along.
It's become utterly ubiquitous since its release in 2005, as directors discovered how perfectly it seemed to suit all manner of situations, from baby whales being reunited with mommy whales on nature programmes, to some clueless pleb finally mastering a meaningless task on any of a hundred bogus reality-TV shows. Look! She's managed to run that half-marathon! Cue "Hoppípolla". See! The courting swans entwine their necks! Cue "Hoppípolla". Wow! He's not just conquered his fear of flying, he's enduring barrel-rolls! Cue "Hoppípolla". Gasp! It's the winning goal, in slow motion! Cue "Hoppípolla". And so on.
By last year, it was almost possible to channel-hop randomly and never hear anything else. It was even used in an episode of Doctor Who, and more recently in trailers for Slumdog Millionaire. And Oxfam adverts. And The X Factor, the audio equivalent of sleeping with the enemy. Small wonder that when Sigur Rós were recording it, they gave it the nickname "The Money Song" – they immediately gauged its appeal – before settling on "Hoppípolla" (Icelandic for "jumping in puddles").
You can hear why it's so popular among programme-makers. Because Jónsi Birgisson is singing in his native language, it's not stained by lyrical associations, while it fulfils our current yearning for aspirational sonic euphoria. It's like Coldplay minus the simpering-twatness, Radiohead minus the bitter curmudgeonly aftertaste, U2 minus the overweening egotism. It's the perfect musical soundtrack, it seems, for a UK blinded by vague empathy as it hurtles towards bankruptcy.
But it's not, Birgisson claims, as ubiquitous on Icelandic telly as it is here. "No, that's definitely a British thing," he says. "Everything dramatic and 'Hallelujah', every dramatic ending – cue it up!" (I'm not sure, in retrospect, whether he's referring to that "Hallelujah" or is using the word as an emotional analogue and has, spookily, simply stumbled across TV's new-found replacement for "Hoppípolla".)
"Hoppípolla" thrust Sigur Rós on to an entirely new plane of fame and fortune. The album from which it was taken, Takk..., was their fourth full-length outing, its predecessors having appealed predominantly to a refined art-rock constituency. Their debut album Von, for instance, sold a grand total of 313 copies in Iceland when first released in 1997, only accruing popularity when it was reissued in the wake of subsequent successes with 1999's Agætis byrjun and 2002's (). Since then, they have earned vast sums from their art, a position ironically exaggerated by the recent financial upheavals in Iceland. "Because we get our salaries and stuff from England, and the krone to the English pound has just doubled, it is actually good for us personally," explains Birgisson, with slight embarrassment. "But for the people around us, it is not good."
() still represents perhaps the furthest extremity of aesthetic insularity in pop music. Besides having no title as such (it's usually referred to as "Brackets" or "Parentheses"), and a largely white, albeit elaborate, packaging, its eight tracks lacked titles, and even the songs, sung by Birgisson in the distinctive fallen-choirboy falsetto that has enchanted millions, were written in the band's made-up language of Hopelandic, a meaningless succesion of phonemes that seems as though it ought to mean something, but doesn't. Did meaning matter much to them?
"I think if you want to have lyrics, then meaning has to matter," Birgisson says. "But yes, we have this kind of love-hate relationship with lyrics, because music flows so naturally for us, and when you come to write lyrics you have to put yourself in a different space. We usually start by singing some nonsense over the songs, then I listen to that, and usually, within that gobbledigook, there is often some spark of meaning – so you take out one word and start from there, and find out what the song should be about."
Intriguingly, the band's most recent album, last year's Med sud í eyrum vid spilum endalaust ("With a buzz in our ears we play endlessly"), even contained a track entitled "Gobbledigook" – which with typical perversity made perfect sense in translation, being an ode to the "hair-stroking, hem-blowing prankster-boy" wind ("You make hats fly into the air, you turn umbrellas inside out too often", etc). According to Birgisson, it was inspired by the Eurovision Song Contest, a claim that beggars belief given Sigur Rós's reputation for creating "cathedrals of sound". Surely Eurovision represents the diametric opposite of all they stand for?
"That was two years ago, when we were writing the songs for ...endalaust," he explains. "We had rented a big farm out in the country, and the Eurovision Song Contest was on television one night, so we watched that. The whole competition, all the way through. Then, after the contest, we just picked up instruments straight away and started playing, and this song came out. I don't know where it came from. It's such a crazy contest – it's crazy that you can actually have a contest about music – and it has such amazingly bad 'good' songs!"
By their own standards, "Gobbledigook" was a bizarre song, its stomping beat, static structure and light-heartedness operating at a sharp tangent to the slow, steadily developed sense of anthemic yearning for which they had become celebrated. If one were to assemble all the reviews and features written about Sigur Rós, the adjective used most often would probably be "glacial", and the critical stratagem most frequently employed would discuss their music in terms of the imposing Icelandic landscape – lazy clichés, of which the band themselves have become thoroughly sick and tired.
So how would they themselves describe their music? "I think the words that come to my mind are, like, 'organic', maybe," Birgisson eventually concedes. "There's something quite natural about it, and we think a lot about soundscapes when we are doing it. Basically, when you strip everything away from the music, at its quietest it's normal pop songs; but it's the way that you produce it that puts the meat on the bones of what you do. But it's always hard for us to describe how we sound."
Most bands, if pressed, will make similar claims on inexplicability, but in Sigur Rós's case there's more justification than most, their music being less permeable to descriptive, physical comparisons than abstract, emotional comparisons. And even then, they seem to have the gift of finding the gaps between emotions, sometimes leaving the listener adrift on a sea of conflicting moods and vague yearnings. In terms of instrumentation, however, they have shifted more towards using acoustic sources than electronic ones, particularly on ...endalaust. This, it transpires, was more a matter of convenience when they found themselves in unfamiliar surroundings.
"When we rented the farm in Iceland, we started out using mainly acoustic instruments, and it just developed from there," explains Birgisson. "But the basic structure of most of the songs is just acoustic, that is always our starting point."
Do you have a favourite sound?
"My favourite sound, ever?"
Yes, a sound source, such as marimba, piano or violin...
"Definitely," he decides, "it would be something like wind in trees, a nature sound of some sort. But as regards instruments, I like piano, celesta... there are so many beautiful-sounding V C instruments around. It depends how you play them."
This observation leads into a discussion about Washington Phillips, a gospel singer and songwriter from the Twenties, of whom we are both fans. Like Robert Johnson, Phillips recorded only a handful of songs (16 in total) but he accompanied himself on a mysterious instrument – either a dulceola, dolceola, celestaphone, phonoharp or fretless zither – related to the hammer-dulcimer. But, as with Johnson, the lack of documentary evidence and the unique sound of Phillips's instrument have provoked feverish debate among enthusiasts ever since.
"Is it a dulcimer?" queries Birgisson. "But it seems like he's strumming it! It sounds amazing, like some form of harp-guitar." His fascination with Phillips makes obvious sense, both musicians' work exhibiting a haunting blend of certitude and vulnerability – what might best be called a fragile majesty, especially when the band's sound is swelled by the addition of the Amiina string quartet, or the subtle lowing of horns which, on ...endalaust, relates more to the British brass-band tradition than the American R&B tradition. This may or may not have something to do with their collaboration on that album with the British producer Mike "Flood" Ellis, best known for his work with indie and goth acts such as Nick Cave, Nine Inch Nails, U2 and The Killers."We had never worked with a producer before, and it was a good learning experience for us," Birgisson says. "Before, it was always just the four of us together, doing everything for ourselves. When he first came, it was a weird situation, because he has his own way of working, and we have ours. He is so focused, and such a hard worker. He became like a father figure to ...endalaust: he was always there, from 10 in the morning to 10 in the evening. When you have your own studio, like we do, and no pressures of time, it's easy to just have a coffee and decide to do it tomorrow! That had been happening quite a lot with us. And it was good for us to go to other studios: we recorded the basic tracks in New York, and basically, you're just locked in a room all the time. It was fun, though."
Their tentative outreach programme for ...endalaust did encounter one stumbling block, however, when they decided to commission the Berlin-based artist Olafur Eliasson, who created the Sun installation in the Tate Modern turbine hall, to do the album artwork, an alliance that didn't work out as well as hoped.
"We had long talks with him and met a couple of times to discuss ideas with him, but basically it just didn't work out," Birgisson says. "We had just totally different characters in our working methods – he is so methodical and mathematical, so well-thought-out and correct, and has definite meaning, and we are so spontaneous and rough, and everything we do has a huge amount of soul, but no meaning."
Instead, they opted to use a picture by the photographer Ryan McGinley of naked youths running across a road, which the band felt captured their spontaneous quality. Even that caused problems in America, where bare buttocks – at least those not belonging to porn stars – seem to offend the sensibilities.
"That was so weird!" recalls Birgisson. "When we played in America, we would arrive at venues and there would be posters outside advertising the gig, and they would be blacked out! And the CD would have stickers put over the asses! Why should they be embarrassed by naked bodies? There's nothing offensive about it. Look at rap album covers and you see, say, 50 Cent, and he's posing with guns and stuff, flexing his muscles – what a role model! That should be censored, surely? It's crazy! But hopefully, times are changing."
Oddly, for such a guileless, reserved band, Sigur Rós now seem to be the favourite band of every A-list celebrity, from tattooed rocker Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe, who appears to use them as some form of meditative chill-out refuge from his racy lifestyle, to megastar Brad Pitt. More queasily, the band's music was apparently playing when Gwyneth Paltrow produced her little Apple. It all seems a million miles away from their lives in Iceland, as Birgisson confirms.
"It's nothing to do with us," he says. "We just live our normal lives in our small Reykjavik, we have our own apartments, our own families and kids, and our fame doesn't affect us at all, I think. We never think about it, we never talk about it, and we don't make a big thing out of it – we don't play the media game, stuff like that. We just like to be able to walk down the street and go to a coffee-house, things like that."
Source: The Independent
Tracklist of the Free CD "We play endlessly"
1 - Hoppípolla
2 - Inní mér syngur vitleysingur
3 - Saeglópur
4 - Gobbledigook
5 - Í Gær
6 - Fljótavík
7 - Hafsól
8 - Heysátan
9 - Ti Ki

Shogun "Charm City" Release Concert @ Grand Rokk 31. January 2009

Shogun play @ Grand Rokk tonight to celebrate the release of their debut album "Charm City".
Supporting Acts are Johnny and the Rest & Endless Dark.
Doors Open @ 21:00
Start @ 22:00
Free drinks for a while ...
Entrance: 1.000 ISK or Admission + Album Copy for 1.500 ISK.

þriðjudagur, janúar 27, 2009

múm News: New Album & Live gigs

News on múm's MySpace:
The band has almost finished a new album.
They will probably be playing a lot of shows this year.
múm sounds like 'moon' but doesn't rhyme with spoon. It rhymes with doom & gloom. Oh, the dark side of the múm.
"Moon Pull" Video by Christina Gransow

"We play endlessly" Free Sigur Rós CD

Sigur Rós: We Play Endlessly free with The Independent on Saturday
31. January 2009
An offer in association with Q magazine.
Album "We Play Endlessly" features nine tracks taken from three of their critically acclaimed albums, including the hugely popular Hoppípolla and Sæglópur.

mánudagur, janúar 26, 2009

Sudden Weather Change signed to Kimi Records Label - Debut Album expected for March 2009

Sudden Weather Change whose 6-track EP back in December 2006 sent small crowds wild, and who rocked bigger audiences at both the 2007 and 2008 with their brand of soulful, energetic alt-rock, have signed up to Iceland’s most proactive new label.
“Kimi signed Sudden Weather Change because they are a good band and they are in it for the right reasons,” comments Kimi's Big Kahuna Baldvin Esra Einarsson. “They play honest, wholesome guitar-driven indierock with some good harmonizing vocals. Their songs are good and the sound of their album is very good. We are planning on releasing the album on CD, Vinyl and Digital together in Iceland and Europe, and are always on the look out for collaborators all over the world, whether distributors, licensees, publishers or tour agents.”
Sudden Weather Change’s debut album is expected to drop in March 2009.
Kimi @
Source: IMX
Sudden Weather Change @

3rd Eberg Album "Antidote" Released in Japan on Rallye Label 11. February 2009

Eberg's third album"Antidote" will be released first in Japan: 11. February under the flag of music Label Rallye.
The Songs are:
1. Antidote
2. One Step At The Time -bonus track
3. The Right Thing To Do
4. Reykjavik
5. Been Thinking of You
6. All Day and All of The Nigfht -bonus track
7. Daybrake
8. No Need To Worry
9. Let's Spend The Day
10. Your Kindness is Cruel
11. The Boy Likes Them Both
12. Februray Sky
13. Instrumental -bonus Track
Rallye also distributed Eberg's last Album "Voff Voff'" in Japan.
Ilustrator Ryoji Arai designed the cover art.
Download a song for free: "One step at the time"
Listen to 3 more new songs @ Eberg's MySpace:
"The right thing to do"
"Been thinking of you"

96. Song of the Week: Toggi's "Silly Old Song"

Toggi's "Silly Old Song" is the Song of the 96. Week.

sunnudagur, janúar 25, 2009

Trúbatrixur @ Paddy's Keflavík 5. February 2009

Trúbatrixur @ Paddy's Keflavík
The Icelandic Rock Chicks are heading to Paddy's 5. February.
Time: 18:00-23:00
Ragga og Emma
Fríða Dís

Scandinavian Collaboration @ Frits Philips Muziekcentrum, Eindhoven, 23. November 2008

Ólafur Arnalds, Teitur (Faroe Islands) & Ane Brun (Norway) together on stage @ Strings over Scandinavia Evening @ Frits Philips Muziekcentrum, Eindhoven, 23. November 2008.
"We still drink the same water"

Trip around Iceland Video - Soundtrack by Kira Kira

Around Iceland Video

Upcoming Kira Kira gigs in January & February (With 2 concerts in Belgium!):
25. Jan 2009 9:30P Mariaberg Rorschach
26. Jan 2009 8:00P Traffic Rome
27. Jan 2009 8:00P Ecoteca Pescara
28. Jan 2009 10:00P Diagonál Forli
30. Jan 2009 9:30P Recyclart Brussels (B)
1. Feb 2009 8:00P Maison Maldegem (B)
3. Feb 2009 8:00P L’International Paris
4. Feb 2009 10:30P USVA Groningen (NL)
5. Feb 2009 8:00P Astra Stube Hamburg
6. Feb 2009 8:00P Huset i Magstræde (musikcaféen) Copenhagen
7. Feb 2009 8:00P Nordklang Festival St. Gallen

laugardagur, janúar 24, 2009

Jóhann Jóhannsson "The Rocket Builder"

Jóhann Jóhannsson
"The Rocket Builder", a song of the Album "Fordlândia", the latest release from Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. It's the second installment in a proposed trilogy based on technology and iconic American brand names.
"Fordlândia" is out on 4AD Label.

Old Interview with Sigtryggur Baldursson by Dr. Gunni (1994)

An interview with Sigtryggur Baldursson (aka Bogomil Font)
By Gunnar Hjalmarsson (aka Dr Gunni).
In Hljomalind paperette

It's Friday the 13th of August and the last ball of Bogomil Font and the Millionaires is tonight. I sit in the bar at Kringlukrain until Sigtryggur picks me up. It's been a major problem to contact him, lots of things happening in his life and he hardly has time for answering questions. But bless him, he can spare 30 minutes.
We go to Amma Lu and as we walk thru the door Sigtryggur says: "This is good money, go where the money is". As soon as he's thru the door he turns into Bogomil Font, the charmer. He kisses the waitresses, jokes with another woman; kisses, charms and smiles in every direction. You can see the women getting weak in the knees. We go backstage.

GH How did you starting banging drums ?
SB My father was a 'latino drummer' - was always drumming the wheel of the car - and I was infected by this, had some pots and pans until dad bought me a small drum in 1972. I started to practice. Then I was in a football/soccer a few years later and lied to the other guys that I could play drums. They were so impressed that I had to buy drums. It was an old wreck that my cousin owned, and this got rid of the ball. About this time I met Birgir Mogensen and we practised in the cellar at home. Had a band called Hattimas, we two, Siggi Jons (aka Siggi Perez Millionaire) who played guitar and also Bernard Gudmundsson.
GH When did you develop you personal drum stile ?
SB That came when I was in Theyr. That was a period of big discoveries for me, for instance I discovered Joy Division and all the new wave from England. I was mainly listening to jazz before that.
GH When did Theyr start ?
SB 1980. The first LP (Thagad i hel, published 1980) was recorded from January to September, with long breaks. That shows on the record. There are some jelly ballads and then suddenly some craziness; what happened then was that we discovered the new wave and changed completely.
GH You were never this typical Kopavogur-band (in the years 1979 to 1980 there was the wakening of punk rock, with lots of gigs in the Kopavogur cinema where Utangardsmenn/Outsiders and Fraebbblarnir and others were big).
SB No, it's a shame. We played there but not so much.
GH Well, and then Theyr developed...
SB Yes, I have been in three bands; Theyr, Kukl and Sugarcubes, but Theyr was the most insane of them all. It was a sort of group of people around the band, kind'of a family or 'cult' and it all went haywash when Jaz Coleman and Youth (from Killing Joke) came.
GH Why ?
SB We though we were about to make it and our gurus (Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and Gudni Runar Agnarsson) filled us with information that we were about to make it in the UK. We had too high hopes and it all ended in tears when nothing came out of this. Personal relationships were also quite unstable.
GH Was there some seriousness behind those ideologies that you adapted ?
SB Yes, but no. The song Rudolf was supposed to be criticism, but was really interpreted as we were nazis. We also adopted some nazi things like the clothing, but we were never real nazis. We were just showing off, just like today.
GH Kukl came next. A band totally against other things happening at that time. How did you all feel at the time ?
SB Kukl was a supergroup that was originated for a radio program, we liked working together. It was a good feeling opposing everything. We were crusaders at the time. We were on a musical crusade and it was healthy for us, after that I didn't need more crusading.
GH How about the republishing of the Theyr and Kukl stuff ?
SB I've given up trying to find the Theyr originals. Magnus (singer) prepared a Theyr collection for Enigma, but the master tapes got lost and Magnus says he doesn't know where they are. Therefore we'll take unused LP's and put over on DAT and then published.
GH All on one CD ?
SB No, Mjotvidur Maer on one and the small records on another.
GH What about Kukl ?
SB We'll probably do something similar, at least we will do The Eye. I dont know if we'll bother to redo Holidays in Europe, it's not worth it.
GH About Sugarcubes..
SB Hallelujah..
GH Was it a surprise how big the Sugarcubes became ?
SB Yes, at first. We tried to look at is as a comical thing. The same people we'd been talking to as Kukl were now very interested in the Sugarcubes even with two of the same singers. We just played popcliches and it worked.
GH It made you laugh ?
SB Yea, we laughed for a long time.
GH Then it became a routine ?
SB Yes routine is not healthy. It was bad for the moral when the band was working for some payments in advance, and things being decided in advance. It's really a miracle we can still talk together without needing lawyers.

GH Why are you going abroad now ?
SB We have been planning this for over a year, me and my wife. It became clear about last Easter where we'd be going, to Madison (in Wisconsin). I am happy with that, seems quiet and the culture is OK, I just feel like taking care of the home and relaxing.
GH What's the purpose of the trip ?
SB My wife's doctoral studies.
GH And you just take care of the baby ?
SB Yes and the home.
GH What about the drums, are they going into the closet ?
SB No, no. I have learned in the last year that the better I do as Bogomil Font the more I feel like a drummer. The drummer in me has been resting for over a year.
GH What do you want to drum, with what kind of band ?
SB I've got lots of ideas. Like playing ethnical music, sampled andlooped, played over and trampled on, an experimental idea - I'm doing something with this on my computer. I'm also interested in working something in Madison. I know Butch Vig (Nirvana) has his studio in Madison and I have contacted him and others I don't want to name.
GH Are you interested in playing session ?
SB No absolutely not. I'm very interested in playing with some good rappers. I want to do something I haven't done before, but I'll lay low to begin with and enjoy relaxing.
GH According to the popularity shouldn't you have started Bogomil Font earlier ?
SB Yes ..but I dont take Bogomil seriously. He's kind of a characterfrom a play. But many others seem to take him seriously and that's good.
GH Did is surprise you to have the best selling album (in Iceland) ?
SB Yes, I had the feeling this was a kind of a 'cult' thing, similar to Jupiters (another Icelandic band). But it seems we get through to a bigger crowd. It seems to be the main party music for 16 year olds and also for Theyr parents. That's of course very unhealthy. Not much punk in that.
GH Talking about punk, how does the old punk rocker feel here in Amma Lu (a club for older people) ?
SB Quite good really. Like I said I dont take Bogomil Font seriously and want to remind of my opening statement when we walked into this place. I am surprised that I never get stagefright when I stand in front and sing those songs. As a drummer on the other hand I often get a big stagefright, there I feel I have more responsibility, I'm not responsible for this Bogomil character. This can be explained psychologically in many ways!
Source: Scandinavian Indie Digest # 11 (1994)

Partylogger Videos: Jökulsárlón | Waterfalls - Soundtrack by Sigur Rós

Jökulsárlón Glacial lake
Song "Bíum Bíum Bambaló" from the EP "Ny Batteri" by Sigur Rós

Icelandic Waterfalls
Part 1
Song Sæglópur

Part 2
Song "Gong" of "Takk" Album

Blindfold "Sleepless nights" Unofficial Video

Blindfold is giving a session for BBC Radio 2 on 29. January 2009.
"Sleepless nights"

föstudagur, janúar 23, 2009

Mínus is working on New Album with new Bass Player

The Great Northern Whale­kill" was the latest album of the band. Frosti and Þröstur quit, but Bjössi, Bjarni & Krummi got bass player Sigurður Oddsson to join them for a new album.
Fréttablaðið 22. January 2009

Icelandic Music @ BagCheck

This week on BagCheck we ventured to the tiny island country of Iceland. While they may not be having the best run financially as of late, at least we can sit back and take comfort in the continued production of some great music. Enjoy the hour’s worth of tunes below and just appreciate that for as nice a day as we had today, they’re enjoying a heat wave of their own right now at a balmy 33 degrees. As per usual, band links below for more information on these acts, and if you have more interest in learning about Icelandic music, you can always keep up with the acts you heard on today’s show through the Iceland Music Export @
Until next week, stay warm!
Featured tracks:
1. Sigur Ros - "Gobbledigook"
2. Björk - "Innocence"
3. Lada Sport - "Summertime In Outer Space"
4. Dikta - "Breaking The Waves"
5. Emiliana Torrini - "Big Jumps"
6. Shadow Parade - "Nothing For Me"
7. Parachutes - "Your Stories"
8. FM Belfast - "Underwear"
9. Mr. Silla and Mongoose - "How Do You"
10. Petur Ben - "White Tiger"
11. Mugison - "To The Bone"
12. Leaves - "I Go Down"
13. Leaves - "Kingdom Come"
14. Seabear - "I Sing I Swim"


Music Music Music @ Melodica Acoustic Festival 23-25. January 2009 @101 R'vik

The Melodica Acoustic Festival
A festival previous in Melbourne, Sydney, Hamburg and of course Reykjavik.
This weekend again:
19.00 - 19.30 Svavar Knútur
19.30 - 20.00 Bob Justman
20.00 - 20.30 The Friday Night Idols
20.30 - 21.00 Jara
21.00 - 21.30 Skúli Þórðar
21.30 - 22.00 Beggi Mood
22.00 - 22.30 Kettir
Hraun plays on through the night.
19.00 - 19.30 Þóra Björk
19.30 - 20.00 Myrra Rós
20.00 - 20.30 Ragnar Sólberg
20.30 - 21.00 Árstíðir
21.00 - 21.30 Hjörtur
21.30 - 22.00 SHISHA PM (UK)
22.00 - 22.30 Helgi Valur
Hraun plays on through the night.
Hemmi & Valdi
16.00 - 16.30 Fríða Dís
16.30 - 17.00 The Friday Night Idols
17.00 - 17.30 Binni P
17.30 - 18.00 Kid Decker (UK/GER)
18.00 - 18.30 Svavar Knútur
18.30 - 19.00 Pause -dinner
19.00 - 19.30 Bangsi Bestaskinn
19.30 - 20.00 Sebastian
16.00 - 16.30 Heiða Dóra
16.30 - 17.00 Daníel Jónsson
17.00 - 17.30 Stefán Örn
17.30 - 18.00 Leynigestur
18.00 - 18.30 Pause - dinner
18.30 - 19.00 Hlynur Valsson
19.00 - 19.30 Seiðlæti
19.30 - 20.00 Mysterious Marta
19.00 - 19.30 Haraldur Davíðsson
19.30 - 20.00 Elín Ey
20.00 - 20.30 Mysterious Marta
20.30 - 21.00 Pikk Nikk
21.00 - 21.30 Elíza
21.30 - 22.00 Heiða Dóra
22.00 - 22.30 KID DECKER (UK/GER)
22.30 - 23.00 Úlfur
Followed by a jam-session
Hemmi & Valdi
16.00 - 16.30 Geir Harðar
16.30 - 17.00 Shisha PM (UK)
17.00 - 17.30 Myrra Rós
17.30 - 18.00 Hjalti
18.00 - 18.30 Valur Gunnarsson
18.30 - 19.00 Pause - dinner
19.00 - 19.30 Leifur Jónsson
19.30 - 20.00 Hlynur Ben
16.00 - 16.30 Árstíðir
16.30 - 17.00 Helgi Valur
17.00 - 17.30 Markús (of Skátar)
17.30 - 18.00 Marlon Pollock
18.00 - 18.30 Pása - matur
18.30 - 19.00 Sverrir Norland
19.00 - 19.30 Kristín Bergsdóttir
19.30 - 20.00 Böðvar Reynis & Co

Kraumur Awards 2008 Documentary

A documentary featuring all 6 winners of a Kraumur Award (Kraumur Music Fund) last year. And the winners were:
Agent Fresco for "Lightbulb Universe"
FM Belfast for "How to Make Friends"
Ísafold for "All Sounds to Silence Come"
Hugi Guðmundsson for "Apocrypha"
Mammút for "Karkari"
Retro Stefson for "Montaña"
Shot & edited by Stuart Rogers of

fimmtudagur, janúar 22, 2009

Ólöf Arnalds Live @ Feeërieën Festival, Brussels (2008) + Interview

Ólöf Arnalds @ Ancienne Belgique (AB) Television ABTV
Funny how she starts with the pronounciation of her name. Especially for the sloppy Belgian journalists all around (Eat your heart out @ de redactie: The Queen is not dead (yet)).

Icelandic music tops world - Article in Music Week (February 2008)

Yesterday I found an interesting article about the music business in Iceland, responsible for 1,2% of the GDP.
Icelandic music tops world
by Christopher Barrett

On the back of increased investment in Icelandic music and the industry’s domestic framework, an impressive array of artists look set to emulate the international success of Björk and Sigur Rós. Just as Iceland’s breathtaking volcanic landscape has been successfully used to drive both tourism and geothermal power stations, so its tiny 300,000 populous has proved a hot bed of creative energy, emitting a stream of international successes such as The Sugarcubes, Björk, Sigur Rós, Múm and Gus Gus.
With a number of Icelandic labels, publishers and distributors touting a fresh array of talented signatories, Icelandic music is set to be stronglyrepresented at Midem this year under the umbrella of the recently-created Iceland Music Export Office (IMX).
Set up in 2007 as a privately-funded and government-backed joint venture with 85% of the finance coming from government ministries and Iceland’s largest bank Landsbanki, IMX’s key aim is to promote Icelandic music overseas. IMX managing director Anna Hildur says that the organisation, which is also backed by Icelandic rights organisation Unison, aims to provide a “one-stop shop for Icelandic music.”
In collaboration with the Trade Council of Iceland, IMX’s Midem stand (R34.13) has been created to celebrate the organisation’s firstanniversary and will be the site of a reception hosted by the Icelandic Minister of Culture Thorgerdur Katrin Gunnarsdottir on Monday, January 28 at 5pm.
“The Icelandic domestic market is one of the smallest in Europe but internationally our music industry is punching far above its weight,” says Gunnarsdottir. It is estimated that the music industry accounts for 1.2% of Iceland’s GDP and the creation of the Iceland Music Export Office reflects a period of increased investment to generate improved international exposure of home- grown music, and came shortly after Icelandair and Rekjavik City Council announced a four-year agreement tosponsor one of the country’s leading music events, the annual Airwaves festival in Reykjavik.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary between October 17 and 21 this year, Airwaves has developed swiftly from its debut in a hangar as a showcase for local DJs to, in 2007, an international event featuring 237 acts across a number of venues in the downtown Reykjavik 101 district.
“It’s an extremely important showcase for Icelandic music, an international meeting point which is inspiring for the whole scene,” says Ásmundur Jonsson, managing director of pioneering independent label Smekkleysa, which was set up in 1986 by former members of The Sugarcubes.
“It’s extremely encouraging for artists,” agrees Mugison, a hugely-successful artist in his homeland, who will be performing at the IMX reception. “I owe a lot to Airwaves; my first gig was in a small bar in front of 100 people but after that I got loads of gigs across Europe despite being a complete unknown.”
Mugison, who will be in Cannes looking to sign international distribution deals to complement the one already in place with Lowlands for Benelux, released his third album Mugiboogie in Iceland at the tail end of November to a rapturous response, generating domestic sales in excess of 10,000 units.
Mugison, representing the independent label he set up with his father in 2005, also called Mugiboogie, is a veteran of festival organisation himself. Now in its fifth year, the free festival Aldrei, located in Ísafjordur in the heart of the West Fjords, takes place every Easter and provides a platformfor fresh talent while also allowing established actsto try something new
“It’s just a matter of plug in and play for 15 minutes,” says Mugison. “The first year, Sigur Rós played an acoustic set, changed their name to Lonesome Traveller and performed country songs, múm have appeared and played techno tracks and Gruff Rhys played with some old boys from a local factory. Everyone donates their time and we supply the fun.”
One of Iceland’s longest established events is the Dark Days classical music festival. Launched in 1980, it celebrates Iceland’s long dark winter nights and starts this year on February 3 with scheduled performances by the Reykjavik Band Orchestra, with conductor Lárus H Grímsson. Organised by the Icelandic Composers Union, the festival attracted around 3,000 people in 2007, with more expected this year.
Longer established still is the 20-year-old annual jazz festival Egilsstadir which takes place in June throughout the east of the country, then there is the Jasshatid RKV, the high-profile Reykjavik Jazz Festival featuring international artists across the capital city’s old town in late August, with numerous sponsors including City of Reykjavik, Saga Capital, Eymundsson and Icelandair.
With a thriving local music scene attracting the eyes and ears of music fans around the world, a contingent of more than 30 Icelandic companies will be making themselves heard at Midem including Sena, 12 Tónar, Smekkleysa, Zonet, Dimma, KGEM, D3 and Blánótt, Mugiboogie and Nína Margrét Grímsdóttir. Owner of the 12 Tónar record shop and label Larus Johannesson says that while the domestic market is incredibly healthy for homegrown talent, it remains imperative to establish links with distributors in other territories. “Icelanders are overwhelmingly buying Icelandic music; imports are going down and sales are around 65% to 35% in favour of Icelandic music. We have a lot of very promising young artists on the label. We are working with around 20 acts, so it’s quite a large percentage of the Icelandic people,” laughs Johannesson. “But most of the albums we release need to be exported because the market is so small in Iceland.”
Johannesson says that there has been a lot of interest in his label’s music, particularly in Germany where it is distributed via Cargo. “We are getting a great response and will be in Midem with the target of getting more physical distribution particularly in Asia, Australia and North America.” Smekkleysa’s Jonsson will also be looking to strengthening his label’s international set-up via licensing partners for several new and established Icelandic acts such as Minus, while also looking for international distribution for its first foray into non-Icelandic music. The project is a result of the reunion of legendary West-African band Super Mama Djombo, who recorded their new album Ar Puro (Fresh Air) at Sigur Rós’s Studio Sundlaugin in Mosfellsbær. With 10 songs sung in Creole and one in Balanta – including a collaboration with popular Icelandic singer Egill Ólafsson, the project is certainly something of a departure for the label, and one that Jonsson is confident will raise interest internationally.
Having seen a widening of the musical pallet at home, with hip-hop, rock and electronic music becoming increasingly popular, Mugison is among many in the domestic music business confident that the eruption in Icelandic music is set to make an increasing impact abroad.
“There is definitely an uphill thing going on in Icelandic music,” he says. “I don’t think there is anyone yet that you can point a finger at and say they’re the next Björk or Sigur Rós but there are dozens of maybes.”
The Icelandic domestic market is one of the smallest in Europe but internationally our music industry is punching far above its weight
Thorgerdur Katrin Gunnarsdottir, Minister of Culture

Páll Óskar Allt Fyrir Astina (POP)
Laddi Hver Er Sinnar Kæfu Smiour (Sena)
Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson Myndin Af Pér (Sena)
Ymsir 100 Islensk Barnalög (Sena)
Álftageroisbræour Tvítugir; Skála Og Syngja (Álftageroisbræour)
Gardar Thor Cortes Cortes (Believer/Sena)
Ymsir Íslandslög 1-6 (Sena)
Eivör Pálsdóttir Human Child/Mannabar (Sena)
Ymsir Slandslög 7 (Sena)
Mika Life In Cartoon Motion (Universal)

Mika Grace Kelly (Universal)
Sprengjuhöllin Verum í sambandi (Sprengjuhöllin)
James Blunt 1973 (Warner)
Páll Óskar Allt Fyrir Astina (POP)
Eiríkur Hauksson Ég les I Lófa Pínum (Sena)
Take That Patience (Universal)
Travis Closer (Sony BMG)
Magni If I Promised You The World (Samyrkjubúio)
Jógvan Rooftop (Sena)
Hjálmar Leioin Okkar Allra (Sena)

mánudagur, janúar 19, 2009

Emiliana Torrini "Sound of Silence"

Cover of Simon & Garfunkel by Emiliana Torrini
"Sound of Silence"

Song of the 95. Week: "I need a vacation" by Ruddinn

This weekend I booked my flying tickets & hotels to go on a vacation to Iceland this Easter. To enjoy a long weekend Reykjavík & my first time attending the Aldrei fór ég suður festival in the capital of the West Fjords, Ísafjörður.
So I definitely needed a vacation: 95. Song of the Week is inspired by this trip: Ruddinn's "I need a vacation". Guest vocalist is Heiða Eiríksdóttir of Unun (aka Heiða í Unun) and now of Hellvar fame.

sunnudagur, janúar 18, 2009

"Hidden Place" - An Alternative Björk Video

Björk's "Hidden Place"

Hjaltalín on Tour in The Netherlands & Belgium

You can watch Hjaltalín's session for 3 voor 12 @ Eurosonic/Noorderslag Festival 2009, Groningen, The Netherlands @
Last night I saw Hjaltalín playing their first gig in Belgium. After spaghetti & some strong Belgian Beers the band gave a nice concert in Cultuurhuis Maison, Maldegem, Belgium.
Tonight they perform @ Rotonde (Botanique), Brussels.
Last song of the gig en francais (nightshot).

Thanks to Dieter of Cultuurhuis Maison, Maldegem.
All photographs & Video by Wim Van Hooste.

laugardagur, janúar 17, 2009

Single Drop "I will follow" Live @ Tjarnarbíó (2007)

Single Drop
"I will follow" @ Release Concert @ Tjarnarbíó Cinema.

Lay Low @ Café Rósenberg 27. January 2009

Lay Low's Last Concert before flying out
Before Lay Low (Lovísa Elísabet Sigrúnardóttir) is going on an European tour with Emiliana Torrini, she's playing @ Café Rósenberg, Klapparstigur. Her 2. Album sold very well in Iceland: about 8.000 copies of "Farewell Good Night's Sleep" were sold. Touring in UK, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerlan, Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands & Luxembourg.
Café Rósenberg 27. January is her last concert in Iceland before going on the road.

Jeff Who? & DJ Magic @ Café Cultura, Reykjavík 17. January

Icelandic band Jeff Who?, whose song “Congratulations” is highly popular in Iceland at the moment, will play in concert in Reykjavík tonight. Gísli Galdur, a.k.a. DJ Magic of Motion Boys fame, will also perform.
Jeff Who? released their second studio album in November last year, simply called Jeff Who?, which has received favorable reviews in the Icelandic media, according to a Smekkleysa press release.
The concert takes place @ Café Cultura on Hverfisgata 18 at 11 pm.
Admission: 500 ISK (USD 3.92, EUR 2.95) and one free beer comes with every ticket.
Admission is not charged after 00:30 am.
Source: Iceland Review Online

föstudagur, janúar 16, 2009

New Ruddinn Video: "Too Distant for Us"

"Too Distant for Us"
Featuring Heida & Jed Stephens (Lakeland Records, 2009)
Video by Emmi Kalinen & Soulviper

The music of Ruddinn has a few touchpoints in the sound spectrum, ranging between rock and pop, indie and electro. Flirting in the twilight between live instruments and sequenced synths and drum parts.
Ruddinn (Bertel Olafsson) is one guy who has been doing music and noise in the sanctuary of his home studio in Hafnarfjordur, Iceland.
The music has a few touchpoints in the sound spectrum, ranging between rock and pop, indie and electro. Flirting in the twilight between live instruments and sequenced synths and drum parts.
Ruddinn’s first album, self titled “Ruddinn” was released in December 2006. Ruddinn's follow up “2” is now out and being distributed through 12 Tónar record label in Iceland (2008). “2” was recorded in Ruddinn's studio. It was mixed by George Kant and Jed Stephens. George Kant produced and did the mastering for the album. All the songs are performed by Ruddinn with a few helping hands from a few friends. 9 tracks in total, including different incarnations of 2 songs.

Female Icelandic artists @ Swiss Nordklang Festival 7. February

Busy times for the Icelandic artists. Also the ladies are going on tour:
Kira Kira & Hafdís Huld @ Nordklang
Two of Iceland’s most enigmatic female starlets will play the third edition of the excellent Nordklang Festival in St. Gallen, East Switzerland next month. Experimental composer and visual artist Kira Kira and internationally renowned pop artist Hafdís Huld will join a considered selection of Nordic bands, including Denmark’s Choir Of Young Believers and Vincent Van Go Go to Swedish duo Montys Loco and Finnish folk band Jouhiorkesteri. The festival runs from the 7th-8th February.
7. February @ Kellerbühne: 22:45 - 24:00
Kira Kira
As a founding member of Icelandic art collective Kitchen Motors, Kira Kira has been a pivotal figure in contemporary Icelandic music, composing music extensively for theatre, dance and film and creating a myriad of sound and film installations everywhere from Beijing to New York. Taking a particular interest in blurring the lines between music and visual arts Kira has often appeared in castle towers, gallery spaces or curious hidden places and created lasting images of singing black holes, duelling smoke machines and exploding cassette tapes across the globe. Her second LP, "Our Map to The Monster Olympics" came out on June 26th 2008, on Smekkleysa Records in Iceland and Afterhours in Japan.
Kira Kira is also on tour throughout Europe:
European Tour Dates
14. January 20:00 Elfer Music Club Frankfurt
15. January 20:00 Feinkostlampe Hannover
16. January 20:00 KFZ Marburg
17. January 21:00 Cafe Cairo Würzburg
18. January 20:00 Asta Kneipe Rosenheim Rosenheim
19. January 20:00 Madame Claude Berlin
20. January 21:00 Cafe Mule Leipzig
21. January 21:00 AZ Conni Dresden
22. January 20:00 Fluc Wien
23. January 20:30 Rockhouse Salzburg
24. January 21:30 Bad Bonn Düdingen
25. January 21:30 Mariaberg Rorschach
26. January 20:00 Traffic Rome
27. January 20:00 Ecoteca Pescara
28. January 22:00 Diagonál Forli
30. January 21:30 Recyclart Brussels (B)
1. February 20:00 Cultuurhuis Maison Maldegem (B)
3. February 20:00 International Paris, Ile-de-France
4. February 22:30 USVA Groningen (NL)
5. February 20:00 Astra Stube Hamburg (D)
6. February 20:00 Huset i Magstræde (musikcaféen) Copenhagen (DK)
7. February 20:00 Nordklang Festival St. Gallen (CH)
Hafdís Huld
Hafdís Huld started singing with nine-piece Icelandic collective Gus Gus when she was just 15 years old. She toured the world through out the rest of her teens, enjoying Europe-wide recognition and widespread attention across the UK and America. When she had time away from her busy performing schedule she developed her acting career, winning lead roles in several Icelandic films. On moving to the UK Hafdís was keen to start writing her own songs and quickly collaborated with FC Kahuna, co-writing their singles ‘Hayling’ and ‘Machine Says Yes’ at the same time starting to develop songs that would eventually form the basis of her solo album ‘Dirty Paper Cup’. In spring ‘06 Hafdis signed a solo recording deal with UK independent label Redgrape, and from that ‘Dirty Paper Cup’ was released, written with collaborators including Chris Corner from Sneaker Pimps, Pascal Gabriel and producer Jim ‘Arctic Monkeys’ Abbiss. She is now back in the studio not only working on her second album.
"Hayling" of FC Kahuna
Source: IMX

Icelandic Artists @ Norwegian By:Larm

Iceland Heads To By:Larm
Ólafur Arnalds, Hjaltalín and Retro Stefson will head to Oslo next month to play the lauded By:Larm festival, which takes place between 19th-21st February. A conference by day and festival by night, By:Larm’s main focus is to present artists that are on the verge of success, either in their homelands or internationally. This year, more than 200 acts from all over Scandinavia will play.
More info on the Icelandic acts:
Ólafur Arnalds
Only 21 years old, Ólafur Arnalds hails from the suburban Icelandic town, Mosfellsbær, just a few kilometers outside Reykjavík. Combining classical instrumentation with a raw indie aesthetic, his music fits into the Erased Tapes catalogue like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle. His debut album "Eulogy For Evolution" takes the listener on a journey, representing different periods in life, from birth to death. He delicately sculpts each of his own epic, string-laden compositions from beginning to completion. The record has been highly praised by the media and music fans in Iceland and has already created quite a buzz around Europe and further east, in Japan.
Hjaltalín can quickly become Iceland’s next big musical export. This 8-man strong Reykavik band has already began to make a name for itself outside the Finance-island with their debut album “Sleepdrunk Seasons”. The album is produced by Benni Hemm Hemm and Gunni Tynes (múm). It came out in Iceland in December 2007, but will get a full release in Norway and the rest of Europe during winter 2008. Hjaltalín are talented combiners of simple pop melodies with challenging arrangements which means that it is rarely boring to listen to. Their use of strings and wind instruments both live and on record gives an extra dimension to the music, which at times can call to mind one or another Arcade Fire song. When they reveal their other facets Hjaltalín can also remind you of both Sufjan Stevens and the Magic Numbers.
Retro Stefson
Retro Stefson was started in 2005 on the request of youth workers (Bóas from Reykjavik! and Árni from FM Belfast) at the school they went to. The members were then only 13 – 15 years old. They are still very young, but have in the course of the years they have existed built up a lot of live experience and represent one of Iceland’s very best live bands at this point. After appearing at Iceland Airwaves in 2007 they received a legion of concert and record contract offers, and are now finally ready with their debut. “Montana” came out in October 2008 and will be distributed throughout Scandinavia by Dot Publishing in the beginning of 2009. It’s not easy to put Retro Stefson into any kind of musical genre. The try at least to take their music to a new landscape that none of their countrymen in Iceland have been before. It’s pop and rock, disco and ska, and god knows what. Retro Stefson are first and foremost a live band you simply have to experience!
"Papa Paulo III" @ Kimi Records Evening @ Tunglid @ Iceland Airwaves 2008
Source: Iceland Music Export (IMX)

fimmtudagur, janúar 15, 2009

"Fyrir nordan Montevideo" Video

Poet & musician Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason (of múm, Skakkamanage & FM Belfast fame)

Graffiti in Reykjavik - Music by Hellvar

Video by Jessie. Song "Nowhere" by Icelandic band Hellvar.

Sin Fang Bous Video @ Pitchfork TV

Sin Fang Bous
"Clangour & Flutes"

Music Alliance Pact (MAP) # 4

15. January 2009: Time for the 4. Edition of Music Alliance Pact. The changes: Denmark left and Romania joined the collective.
To download all songs @ once, go to the end of this post.
The Icelandic contribution is Singapore Sling with the song "Martian Arts".
I Guess I’m Floating
Blind Man’s Colour – Jimmy Dove
Blind Man’s Colour came on our radar in late ‘08 with three excellent Animal Collective covers. With their debut album, Season Dreaming, coming out sometime in early ‘09 and Jimmy Dove as their first explosive single, they’ve got a good chance of becoming my favorite find of 2009 less than one month in. They’ve also got a free EP called Rainbow Faces which you can download from the band’s blog (
Jimmy Dove is a MAP exclusive mp3.

Bicicletas – 11 y 20
We started the year listening non-stop to this brand new song by Bicicletas, a superb space-rock band that has been shaking the independent scene of Buenos Aires for some years now. 11 y 20 will be included in their forthcoming album Quema, which is released in March by Bingo! Records.

Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
The Middle East – Blood
I feel like Arcade Fire comparisons have been overused in music reviews over the past whenever, so I’m going to do my best to not compare The Middle East to Montreal’s finest. It’s tough though, because this Townsville, Queensland collective do fit the criteria, at least initially – a large collection of musicians (at least six, possibly seven) who create dramatic and climactic folk-ish anthems.

Meio Desligado
Guizado – Rinkisha
Created by Guilherme Mendonça, Guizado presents instrumental songs ranging from jazz, alternative rock and experimental electronica, always sounding avant-garde. Their first album, Punx, was acclaimed by critics (including the Brazilian Rolling Stone) as one of the best albums in 2008. As well as Mendonça, who is a well-known trumpeter in São Paulo’s underground music scene, Guizado is formed by Curumin, Ryan Batista and Régias Damasceno, musicians involved with some of the most creative artists of the Brazilian alternative scene. Rinkisha, a deep and melancholic song, sounds like John Frusciante playing with Tortoise.

Parachute Penguin – Your Crimes
Yes, their name is horrible. And yes, this song borrows rather liberally from The Killers. But despite both of those things, if Parachute Penguin’s forthcoming EP, due out in late February, is anywhere near as good as this (or any of the other tracks on the outstanding EP the band released back in the spring), then it won’t be long until the band is playing arenas around the world. Hopefully they’ll stay away from those feathered jackets, though.

Super 45
Como Asesinar A Felipes – En Busca De Un Nuevo Sueño
Como Asesinar A Felipes (How To Kill Felipes) is the best way to understand what’s going on in Chilean hip hop music – cross-referenced music styles with deep and shocking lyrics. Former jazz musicians joined MC Koala Contreras and DJ Spacio to create an outstanding jazz-rap combo. Their self-titled album, released last year, has been described as the best Chilean album of the year by even mainstream media. And there is no doubt about it, no other band can take our minds, ears and bodies like Como Asesinar A Felipes have.

The Daily Growl
Emmy The Great – We Almost Had A Baby
Although the wait for Emmy The Great’s debut album has been long enough to make it seem like an indie-folk-pop Chinese Democracy, the good news is that First Love is finally coming out on February 2. This track is the first single from the album, released at the end of last year.

The Notwist – Good Lies
The Notwist is probably better known abroad than in Germany. They come from the Bavarian city of Weilheim, where other famous bands – partly with the same members – have their base, e.g. Console, Lali Puna and 13 & God. The Notwist sound is built on the characteristic voice of Markus Acher and the discreet electronic background constructed by Martin Gretschmann.

ICELANDI Love Icelandic Music
Singapore Sling – Martian Arts
Singapore Sling is a darkly, neo-psychedelic, avant-garage band formed in Reykjavik in spring of 2000 by singer-songwriter-guitarist Henrik Baldvin Björnsson and leadguitarist Einar Þór Kristjánsson. The band is often compared with The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Velvet Underground & My Bloody Valentine. Not named after the cocktail, but after the dark perverse noir Greek movie by Nikos Nikolaidis (1990). Their debut album “The Curse of Singapore Sling" was released in the summer of 2003. The 2nd one was “Life is Killing my Rock ‘N’ Roll” (2004), 3rd one was “Taste the Blood of Singapore Sling” (2005). There is already an Anthology called “The Curse, the Life, the Blood” (8mm Musik Label, 2007). The band supported acts like Brian Jonestown Massacre & The Raveonettes. They played shows in the USA, UK, Scandinavia, France, Czech Republic, Austria and Germany.
Martian Arts” is a song of their fourth album, “’Perversity, Desperation and Death”, released 28. November 2008 on the new Icelandic Microdot Label.
Video for "Martian Arts"

Gran Casino – One Chance
An intriguing upbeat rabble-rousing orchestral racket from a 13-piece Dublin band who have the horn for brass and blustery rock epics. Their debut Sun Music EP sounds like Arcade Fire jamming with Herbie Hancock.

Arnoux – Today, A Rainy Day
Cascades, the debut album by Arnoux, blends melancholic synths and glitches with acoustic sounds and warm voices, portraying a delicate and touching liquid landscape.

Counting The Beat
Princess Chelsea – Monkey Eats Bananas
Every May in New Zealand is NZ Music Month. Album sales and radio airplay figures of Kiwi artists soar and there is a celebration of local musical talent. For the past two years NZ music magazine Real Groove has issued a CD in May titled The Sound of Young New Zealand. One of the standout tracks of the 2008 edition was Monkey Eats Bananas, a song so infectious I’ve driven members of my household mad with repeated plays, eventually awarding it Song of the Year in Counting The Beat. It’s silly but incredibly compelling. Xylophone, electric piano, a nonsense lyric that doesn’t kick in until two-thirds of the way through the song, all atop a great rolling bass line. Princess Chelsea is about to release her debut album and Monkey Eats Bananas will be the first single.

I Was A King – Weighing Anchor
I Was A King is one of the Norwegian bands I expect will do very well in 2009. Frontman Frode Stromstad has a unique gift of creating addictive melodies with distinctive roots to the 60s. Distorted through the sound of the 90s indie scene, the result is I Was A King. On their self-titled second album, which received a maximum score in Norway’s largest newspaper, the trio is helped by artists such as Emil Nikolaisen (Serena Maneesh), Sufjan Stevens, Daniel Smith (Danielson) and Gary Olson (The Ladybug Transistor).

Turbopotamos – Terrorize You/Disco Flor
After a few demos had been circulated, the rumour was that a cool new sound had awoken the sleepy local scene. With the appearance of No Love, the second album from Turbopotamos in 2007, the rumour proved to be true. With their refreshing compositions, Turbopotamos have been plotting a path that took them on to the same bill as REM and Travis in Lima last November.

Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
The Weatherman – Chloe’s Hair
The Weatherman is Alexandre Monteiro, a resident of Oporto in the north of Portugal. Chloe’s Hair is the first single of his second album, Jamboree Park At The Milky Way, due in February, which he recorded with guest musicians. Besides being a musician, Alexandre runs his own independent record label, Poptones, and an arts collective company, Sublime. Thanks to The Weatherman, the MAP sites are the first in the world where Chloe’s Hair is downloadable for free. Obrigado.

ROMANIA – Babylon Noise
Les Elephants Bizarres – Have No Fear
Les Elephants Bizarres is an alternative band formed in 2007 in Bucharest. Not really like those big, apathetic creatures, these dancing, multi-coloured Elephants are a very fresh and vivid appearance in the Romanian music scene. Their concerts often stir up the audience and make them dance with their indie-pop-disco-punk motley sounds. You can download some of their other songs and watch live performances on their website (

The Pop Cop
Evan Crichton – Holiday Time
Glasgow-based Evan Crichton is a rare talent. He’s a singer whose songs have a timeless feel, perhaps because they are immaculately paced and seem to exist in a world and space all of their own. After a year-long absence, Evan has just returned to playing live with a full band set-up and the Scottish music scene is a better place for it. Holiday Time is taken from his debut record Bright Our Broken Day.

I’m Waking Up To...
I Am David Sparkle – Jaded Afghan
The curious name of Singaporean band I Am David Sparkle is a literal translation of a famous Malaysian disco singer in the 80s called M. Daud Kilau. Their music, however, shows only a hint of that nostalgia. In Jaded Afghan, taken from their second album This Is The New, a carefully woven ambience is animated by an intriguing blend of beats and bleeps that moves back and forth in time. For me, though, what most subtly drives this track forward in the end is the sound of a gently wandering guitar, lightly treading but hugely moving, with slightly darker rumblings underneath.

Indieful ROK
The Invisible Fish – Fallen
Once the male half of Bluedawn – Korea’s foremost folk/dream-pop duo – The Invisible Fish is now completely on his own. For those who know Bluedawn his music is still familiar, but he’s experimenting more and the songs are more personal. Not wanting to compromise with his new-found post-noise-folk sound, The Invisible Fish releases everything by himself and put out his second solo EP, Loss/Sleepless last month.

El Blog De La Nadadora
Saioa – Is It Possible
From our point of view, Saioa has changed the concept of the singer-songwriter. She comes from the Basque land and her debut album, Matrioska Heart, was released in 2008 on the small Spanish label Moonpalace ( Her songs follow a folk pattern with influences such as Low and Leonard Cohen.

The Bridal Shop – The Ideal State
I can’t say enough good things about The Bridal Shop. They perfectly meld the sounds of electronic pop of the 80s with shoegaze of the 90s and indie from the 00s. In other words they’re the complete package. Their Peruvian label (I know that’s kind of a weird locale for a Swedish group) Plastilina Records ( deserves kudos as well for releasing some of the best indie-pop this side of Cloudberry. This song is from the band’s mini-album, In Fragments, out in February.

To download all 21 songs in one file click here: