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:
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 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)