föstudagur, júlí 31, 2009

Amiina's Living Room Concert (May 2009)

Amiina did a gig in a real living room downtown Reykjavik for about 50 people.

"Leather & Lace"

Amiina's Official Page
Amiina is playing together with Kippi Kaninus & drummer Maggi @ Sódóma venue, Reykjavík on 2. August @ 22:00.
Also playing @ the Irish Kilkenny Arts Festival on 9. August. Buy tickets here.

Icelandic bands múm, Ruxpin & GusGus in "In Search of Sound" Documentary

Icelandic bands múm, Ruxpin and Gus Gus will be featured in an upcoming documentary series, In Search of Sound, according to Newspaper visir. Over fifty solo artists and bands will appear, among them Mouse on Mars, Felix the Dog, Coldcut and Mogwai.
The documentary covers alternative music in 27 cities and countries, including Iceland. It is filmed by 22 different film makers and directed by Brian Parsons. Emphasis is put on an intimate backstage view of the artists and the record labels. Special screenings in Iceland have yet to be determined. Eysteinn Gudnason & Jónas Gudmundsson directed the Icelandic section.
I chose those particular Icelandic artists because I have loved their music for many years and I couldn’t understand why they weren’t getting the attention they deserve in the USA” Brian Parsons said. It has not been disclosed which songs from the bands are heard in the film but GusGus will appear in the second series. The múm interview was done at Reykjavik’s Pond, whereas Ruxpin was followed on their concert tour over Iceland and Estonia.
"I find everything that has to do with Iceland interesting, especially the fact that such great music can come from such a small place. I see that as a symbol of the rich culture and the values of the people of Iceland” said Parsons.
Source: Iceland Review Online & Visir

Emiliana Torrini releases "Me and Armini" EP in USA & UK

Emiliana Torrini will be releasing a new EP featuring live favourite "Me and Armini" alongside two very hot new remixes from Simone Lombardi & Dan Carey.
The EP will be released on 10. August in the USA & 14. September in the UK and also features two unreleased versions of "Ha Ha" and "Beggar's Prayer" which were recorded for a live KCRW session in L.A..
Emiliana's Official Website

Mugison plays 5 Amnesty Concerts in 1 day @ New York 18. August

Mugison will play 5 gigs in one day (Five Boroughs In One Day) tour to support Amnesty International @ New York City
Mugie's Program
12:00 Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art
@ Staten Island
14:00 The Silent Barn @ Queens
17:00 Place To be announced @ Bronx
20:00 Freeman’s Alley in Manhattan @ Manhattan
23:00 Pete's Candy Store
@ Brooklyn

"Jesus is a good name to moan" Live @ Aldrei, April 2009

Verslunamannahelgin @ Karamba

Verslunamannahelgin @ Karamba
Laugevegur 22, Reykjavík
Friday 31. July
20:00 - S.L.Á.T.U.R Hlustunarpartý
00:00 - Danni Delúx
Saturday 1. August
00:00 - KGB
Sunday 2. August
00:00 - Bobby Breiðholt

fimmtudagur, júlí 30, 2009

Sigur Rós "Sæglópur" Alternative Video

A Heart Cath Video with "Sæglópur" by Sigur Rós as soundtrack

Innipúkinn 2009 - The Full Program on 31. July-2. August

Innipúkinn Festival 2009

Tickets @ 2900 IKR (3 days) @ http://midi.is/tonleikar/1/5614

Full Program
Friday 31. July
@ Batterí venue
20:00 - Sing For Me Sandra
21:00 - Morðingjarnir
22:00 - Me The Slumbering Napoleon & 3 Svanhvít
23:00 - Sin Fang Bous
00:00 - Sudden Weather Change
01:00 - Jeff Who?
@ Sódóma venue
21:30 - Bárujárn
22:30 - Bróðir Svartúlfs
23:30 - Benni Hemm Hemm
00:30 - Sykur
01:30 - Agent Fresco

Saturday 1. August
@ Batterí (Harbour) 17.00 - 20.00 Porthátíð Innipúkans:
Trúbatrixur, Búlluborgara grill, Múffubazar Maísólar, Tónlistarmarkaður, Gordon Cocteil Zeit and more
@ Batterí venue:
20:00 - K-Tríó
21:00 - Swords of Chaos
22:00 - Borko
23:00 - Singapore Sling
00:00 - Retrön
01:00 - FM Belfast
@ Sódóma venue:
21:30 - Rökkurró
22:30 - Dikta
23:30 - Seabear
01:00 - Gylfi Ægisson
02:00 - Stórsveit Nix Noltes

Sunday 2. August
20.00 - Pub Quiz
@ Batterí venue:
22:00 - Pascal Pinon
23:00 - For a Minor Reflection
00:00 - Hjaltalín
01:00 - Fallegir menn
@ Sódóma venue:
22:00 - Amiina, Kippi & Maggi
23:00 - Sigríður Thorlacius og Heiðurspiltar
00:00 - Megas & Ólöf Arnalds
Gísli Galdur
dj Benson
dj mokki
& more

Please note: changes in the program are possible!

miðvikudagur, júlí 29, 2009

We Made God Video @ ReverbNation

We Made God @ MySpace

Innipúkinn Music Festival: 30. July-2. August 2009: An Artist Update

New Additions To Innipúkinn
31. July - 2. August
Added are:
singer-songwriter Megas
(the "Icelandic Bob Dylan")
!!! solo & collaboration with female singer Ólöf Arnalds
Jeff Who?
more more more:
Agent Fresco
Benni Hemm Hemm


Bróðir Svartúlfs


Fallegir menn

FM Belfast

Gylfi Ægisson og Jóhanna Finnborg (GÆJÓ)



Me the Slumbering Napoleon


Ólöf Arnalds


Singapore Sling

Sudden Weather Change


Admission for 3 days: 2.900 ISK
Tickets availabel @ Skifan Shop or @ MIDI

Iceland Airwaves 2009 - Local Applications

Icelandic artists / Artists based in Iceland can apply to perform @ next Airwaves Festival @
Apply for Iceland Airwaves 2009.

þriðjudagur, júlí 28, 2009

Icelandic Music Laboratory # 3: Retro Stefson @ Berlin 1. August 2009

If you are in Berlin this weekend. Please check this out:
Icelandic Music Laboratory # 3
Retro Stefson
Saturday 1. August 2009 @ 21:00
Pücklerstrasse 34
Admission: 8 EUR
Retro Stefson are one of the most popular up and coming bands in Iceland right now.
It’s not easy to put Retro Stefson into any kind of musical genre. They try 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.
Their Debut album "Montaña" was released on Kimi Records last year.
Retro Stefson @ MySpace
Kimi Records Label

Electric Ethics (God is Electric) @ Jacobsen, Reykjavik 1. August 2009

Electric Ethics in collaboration with
the Neo-Collective Movement (Nýja Samvinnuhreyfingin) & Jacobsen
@ Jacobsen venue @ Austurstræti
1. August 2009 @ 22:00
On the program:
Stereo Hypnosis is presenting their New Album “Hypnogogia” released mid-August. This album was totally inspired by Jules Vernes and his book "Voyage au Centre de la Terre" & the Icelandic nature.
Gjoll presents new material from their forthcoming album
AMFJ (released the cassette "Itemhljóð & Veinan" lately)
WC Einar Krautzwel
Admission: 1000 IKR (with included appetizer in courtesy of Mekka)
More information here:

mánudagur, júlí 27, 2009

Hardcore Punk @ Kaffi Hljómalind, Reykjavik 31. July 2009

Kaffi Hljómalind, Laugavegur 23, R'vik
31. July 2009
Start @ 20:00
Admission: Free

Ragnar Solberg goes Commercial

Ragnar Solberg, aka Zolberg, singer/songwriter, singer of the band Sign, in a German Vodafone Commercial performing David Bowie's "Heroes"

The Vodafone Ad

Ragnar's Website

New Æla Video for "Óður til hinna guðdómlegu Neanderdalsmanna"

"Óður til hinna guðdómlegu Neanderdalsmanna"

Æla @ MySpace

Song of the 122. Week: Björt Sigfinns "Raining"

122. Song of the Week is Björt Sigfinnsdóttir's song " Raining". Singer born & raised @ Seyðisfjörður, East Fjords of Iceland. Now living in Denmark.
Björt @ MySpace

sunnudagur, júlí 26, 2009

Interview with Jóhann Jóhannsson by DaMusic: Kind regards from a happy melancholic

JJ is popular in Belgium, so he's often playing on Belgian ground. He has a good view on the Icelandic music scene in particular.
Read an interview in Dutch/Flemish called "Met hartelijke groet van een gelukkige melancholicus" with Jóhann Jóhannsson by Karen here.
A small part translated by me:
DaMusic: Why is it that your music, and also the music by Sigur Rós & múm, is so popular by making rather isolated soundscapes?
JJ: Well, our individualism unites us: we are very different but we all do our stuff in a radical way. You can call me, Sigur Rós & múm typical Icelandic, just because we are so different. Iceland is like a playgarden for musicians & artists, inbetween the cultural & political influences of the USA & Europe. In one way we're isolated & individualistic, in another way we're a melting pot. A bit like Reykjavik itself: on the first sight a small town, but at the same time cosmopolitan & anonymous city.
Jóhann Jóhannsson's Official Website

Bauer & Sterneck Slideshow

Slideshow of photos by German photographers Tina Bauer & Claus Sterneck. There is an exhibition of their work @ the old herring factory @ Djúpavík, West Fjords til the beginning of September.
Music is a song"Ástarsaga úr fjöllunum" by Hraun

We Went to Space Live @ Arnarhól 17. June 2009

We Went to Space played 3 songs @ Arnarhól on 17. June 2009: "Shutters", "By the Lamppost" & "Beneath a Willow Tree".

We Went to Space 17 June 2009 by Þórir Bergsson

laugardagur, júlí 25, 2009

Beck covered "All Tomorrow's Parties" with Icelandic singer Þórunn Antonía on vocals

Beck did a cover of The Velvet Underground & Nico's song "All Tomorrow's Parties" with the help of Icelandic singer Þórunn Antonía Magnusdóttir.
More about her:
She released an Album called ''Those Little things'' in 2002, with the help of her father Magnús Þór Sigmundsson (member of band Change). Moved to England & started the band The Honeymoon with Wayne Murray (new guitar player of Manic Street Preachers). The band got signed to BMG (Bertelsmann Music Group) and released the record ''Dialogue'' in 2004, produced by The Away Team, working with the Icelandic band Leaves @ that time.
"Truth hurts" by The Honeymoon

She was singer in the Danish band Junior Senior for a while. Later she joined the band Fields, who released an EP called ''4 From The Village'' in 2006 on Black Lab Records. Followed by debut album ''Everything Last Winter'' in 2007 released on Atlantic Records.
Further she collaborated on her father's solo records ''Hljóð er nóttin'' (2005) and ''Sea son'' in 2007.
Nowadays she's living in Los Angeles and been singing with The New no2. She's working on another solo record in Iceland (recording a demo for a pop album).
Read an interview in Icelandic in the latest Monitor issue # 17
She's talking about The Honeymoon making a videoclip @ Oxford: price 70.000£ (1.000.000 IKR) & close encounters with Britney Spears @ Nightclub @ LA ("Oh my God, my arms are SO fat").
There is one song of her on the "Trúbatrix: Taka 1" Album.
Þórunn @ Myspace
The Honeymoon @ MySpace
Magnus Thor @ Myspace
Record Club: Velvet Underground & Nico "All Tomorrow's Parties" from Beck Hansen
Beck's Website

föstudagur, júlí 24, 2009

múm Upcoming European & North-American Gigs

Upcoming shows in Europe & North-America
08/14/09Leicestersummer sunday

08/15/09Edinburghstudio 24

08/17/09CardiffNational Museum of Wales

08/18/09NorwichNorwich Arts Centre


The Netherlands
08/26/09LuxembourgExit 07

08/27/09MunchenAtomic Cafe


08/30/09KatowiceNowamuzyka Festival




09/04/09the Great Wide OpenGreat Wide Open Festival

The Netherlands


09/07/09KölnGebaeude 9


09/09/09StrassburgLa Laiterie

09/10/09LilleRadar Festival

10/21/09Somerville, MAthe Somerville Theatre

10/22/09Philadelphia, PAFirst Unitarian Church

10/23/09Washington DC, DCBlack Cat

10/24/09New York city, NYle Poisson Rouge

10/26/09MontrealLe National

Phoenix Concert Theatre

10/28/09ChicagoLogan Square Auditorium

10/29/09MinneapolisMcGuire Theater

11/01/09CalgaryMarquee Room

11/02/09VancouverRichards on Richards

11/03/09SeattleShowbox at the Market

11/04/09Portland, OregonAladdin Theater

11/05/09San Francisco, CAThe Independent

11/06/09Los Angeles, CAEl Rey Theatre

11/07/09Santa Ana, CAYost Theatre

múm Website
múm @ MySpace

Albums expected to be released this year: Another update

Icelandc artists expected to release some material this year:
Agent Fresco
Blindfold: release of Album "Faking dreams" on 1. August
Bloodgroup: working on 2. Album
Árstíðir: Debut Album "Árstíðir" has been released in June by their own Nevalis Ltd company. Album recorded @ Hljóðriti Studio @ Hafnarfjörður (engineered, mixed and mastered by the unique producer Axel “Flex” Árnasson)

Dynamo Fog: a full Album this year - Update: R.I.P. Dynamo Fog
Elíza (Newman): working on her 2. Album - her "Ukelele Song" was no. 1 in Icelandic chart
For a Minor Reflection: working on a 2. Album
GusGus: 6. studio album "24/7" out on Kompakt Label 14. September - Single "Add this song" already released
Hafdís Huld: working on a 2. Album - Spiderman Song "Kóngulo"
Hellvar: working on a 2. Album - with a new fantastic song "Falsetto"

Hjaltalín: are in the Hljóðriti recording studio in Hafnarfjörður for their 2. Album
Jónsi: first Solo album will be produced by his partner Alex Somers
Jónsi & Alex: "Riceboy Sleeps" was released this week
Kimono: "Easy music for difficult people"
múm: "Sing Along To Songs You Don’t Know!" out on Hostess Label in Japan on 19. August, Morr Music in Europe on the 24. August, and on Euphono in the USA on 8. September
Leaves: 4. Album "We are shadows" is already out
Lights on the Highway: 2. Album "Amanita muscarina" will be released on 1. August
Morðingjarnir: just finished recording 12 Songs for their 3. Album (with Dead Kennedys/The Kinks/Bon Jovi influences according to Haukur)
Ólöf Arnalds: working on a 2. Album
Ólafur Arnalds: his Twitter project "Found Songs" in a Limited Edition (CD in Digislave/10" Vinyl - Booklet with Flickr Group photos) out on 31. August , working hard on this new Album with producer is Barði Jóhannsson - also working on a score for Wayne McGregor's new ballet inbetween
Nögl: Debut Album
Retrön: Debut Album "Swordplay & Guitarslay" was released on 7. July
Rökkurró: working on a 2. Album with producer Alex Somers
Slow Blow?
Sprengjuhöllin: guys are working on an Album in English
Sudden Weather Change
: Debut Album "Stop! Handgrenade In The Name of Crib Death 'nderstand?" was released on Kimi Records
Who Knew: Debut Album
Thanks to Leo!

Útgáfutónleikar/Release Concert Cosmic Call @ Sódóma Reykjavík 24. July

Útgáfutónleikar/Release Concert
Cosmic Call
Friday 24. July 2009
@ Sódóma Reykjavík, Tryggvagata 22
Doors @ 21:00
Supporting Acts: Sykur & Who Knew
Admission: 500 IKR

Sólstafir @ Grand Rokk 25. July - European Gigs in August, September & October

Sólstafir in concert Saturday 25. July
@ Grand Rokk venue @ 23:00
Support Acts: Hrafnaþing & Forgarður Helvítis
Doors @ 22:00
Admission: 1000 IKR
The band members are Aðalbjörn Tryggvason (Guitar, Vocals), Guðmundur Óli Pálmason (Drums), Svavar Austmann (Bass) & Sæþór M. Sæþórsson (Guitar).
European Tour Dates:
6. August 2009
Partysan Open Air Festival Bad Berka (D)
16. August 2009
Jalometalli Festival Oulo (FI)
19. September 2009 8:00P
Baroeg /w Secrets of the Moon Rotterdam (NL)
20. September 2009 8:00P
Purple Turtle /w Secrets of the Moon London (UK)
22. September 2009 8:00P
Elm Street /w Secrets of the Moon & Code Oslo (Nor)
23. September 2009 8:00P
The Rock /w Secrets of the Moon Kopenhagen (DK)
24. September 2009 8:00P
Grünspan /w Secrets of the Moon, Code & Borknagar Hamburg (D)
25. September 2009 8:00P
Poppodium /w Secrets of the Moon, Code & Borknagar Leeuwarden (NL)
26. September 2009 8:00P
Turbinenhalle /w Secrets of the Moon, Code & Borknagar Oberhausen (D)
27. September 2009 8:00P
TBA /w Secrets of the Moon & Code Paris (FRA)
28. September 2009 8:00P
TBA /w Secrets of the Moon & Code Toulouse (FRA)
30. September 2009 8:00P
TBA /w Secrets of the Moon & Code Stuttgart (D)
1. October 2009 8:00P
Musikzentrum /w Secrets of the Moon & Code Hannover (D)
2. October 2009 8:00P
East Club /w Secrets of the Moon & Code Bischofswerda (D)
3. October 2009 8:00P
Faval Music Circus /w Secrets of the Moon & Code Brno (CZ)
4. October 2009 8:00P
Diesel /w Secrets of the Moon & Code Budapest (HUN)
5. October 2009 8:00P
Hirsch /w Secrets of the Moon & Code Nurnberg (D)
6. October 2009 8:00P
Z7 /w Secrets of the Moon & Code Pratteln (SWI)
8. October 2009 8:00P
Backstage /w Secrets of the Moon & Code Munich (D)
9. October 2009 8:00P
Festung /w Secrets of the Moon & Code Bitterfeld (D)
10 October 2009 8:00P
M-A-L Festival /w Secrets of the Moon, Code + more. Altenburg (D)
11. October 2009 8:00P
Posthalle /w Secrets of the Moon & Code Würzburg (D)
13. October 2009
Bad Bonn, Bonn (D)
15. October 2009
Nosturi, Helsinki (FIN)
16. October 2009
TBA, Stockholm (SWE)
17. October 2009
TBA, Gothenburg (SWE)

Sólstafir Official Website
Sólstafir @ MySpace

miðvikudagur, júlí 22, 2009

Fuglabúrið #3 with Bubbi & Hafdís Huld @ Café Rósenberg 5. August 2009

Reykjavík Grapevine Magazine & Félag Tónskálda og Textahöfunda present

Fuglabúrið #3

Bubbi & Hafdís Huld

5. August 2009 @ Café Rósenberg @ 21:00

#1 Concert was on 11. June with Bryndís Jakobsdóttir aka Dísa & her famous mother Ragnhildur Gísladóttir
#2 Concert was on 1. July with Megas & Ólöf Arnalds
#3 Concert on 5. August @ 21:00 @ Rósenberg, Klapparstígur with Hafdís Huld Þrastardóttir & Bubbi Morthens
Playing seperate & together!

Hafdis Huld Website
Bubbi Morthens Website

Tickets @ MIDI or @ Skífan Shop
Price: 2000 IKR

4 Amiina Concerts @ Seaside

Kraumur Fund presents
Amiina við sjávarsíðuna @ Seaside
Amiina in concert around Iceland, playing a few songs
24. July @ Bláa kirkjan (Blue Church/most beautiful church of the country in my opinion) @ Seyðisfjörður @ 17:00
25. July @ Dalatangaviti Light House @ 16:00
26. July @ Hvalasafnið (Whale Museum) @ Húsavík @ 21:00
27. July @ Sauðanesviti Light House @ 17:00
Admission: Free!!
"Hilli" Live @ Italy

Amiina's Official Website

þriðjudagur, júlí 21, 2009

Björk on Finnish TV in 1996

What a coincidence. Just back from Finland, I found this videos showing a nervous Björk being interviewed on Finnish TV back in 1996.
Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Iceland's 50 Most Influential People: The Musicians in the List

In Belgium Kaupthing has become a synonym with Iceland. In the UK & The Netherlands, the Icesave disaster made terrorists/thiefs of all Icelanders. But there is more than Kaupthing, Kreppa & Krónan in Iceland.
In het latest Monitor Magazine issue (Summer 2009) a list of Iceland's 50 most influential (important/significant) people was published. A lot of musicians in this Top 50
3. Emiliana Torrini

4. Páll Óskar Hjálmtýsson, internationally known as Páll Óskar or Paul Oscar
5. Sigur Rós
6. Björk
14. Dr. Gunni (Gunnar Lárus Hjálmarsson)
17. Baggalútur
18. Mugison
23. Hr. Örlygur (Mr. Destiny)/Iceland Airwaves
42. Gogoyoko
43. Ólafur Arnalds
44. Steed Lord
48. Haffi Haff
49. Mammút
50. Hemmi Gunn
Source: Monitor

Rock Bar Dillon Summer Festival @ Verslunarmannahelgina 31. July-2. August

A lot of possibilities to spend the next weekend in Iceland
(also known as Verslunarmannahelgina).
Rock Bar Dillon, Laugavegur 30, has a 3 Days Summer Festival Jack Live with a lot of bands:
Agent Fresco
Brain Police
Ten Steps Away
Cliff Clavin
Bróðir Svartúlfs
Sing of me Sandra
Deep Purple Coverband
Admission: 2500 (3 days) or 1500 IKR (1 day)

The History of Icelandic Rock - Part 6

The History of Icelandic Rock
Part 6

Hljómar Invent Icelandic Pop
Dr. Gunni in Grapevine Magazine (Issue # 10, July 2009)

During 1967 and ‘68, Hljómar were once again the major band in Iceland. After the band’s failure to break through (both internationally and locally) with their “difficult” experimental rhythm & blues (as Thor’s Hammer, later recognised as one of the best music made in Iceland during the sixties), the band set out to play more “comfortable” pop music. The plot worked out fine. The band quickly gained back their earlier popularity and Svavar Gests decided to finance a Hljómar album for his SG imprint. This eponymous Hljómar album was to become the first
Icelandic modern pop album.
The band had to be flown to London, as Iceland’s recording studios at that time ere deemed “not good enough.” Hljómar recorded twelve songs. Five songs were new originals, three by Gunnar
Þórðarson, one by Þórir Baldursson, and one by Dátar’s Rúnar Gunnarsson. The rest of the album featured cover versions of foreign hits with Icelandic lyrics, often by Þorsteinn Eggertsson (who also drew the album’s cover). During the trip to London, the band stocked up on the newest threads from hip shops on Carnaby Street. An Icelandic TV special was made with the band lip-synching to the songs dressed to the gills in hippie gear with flowerpots dangling from their guitars. Hljómar had obviously seen The Beatles’ performance of All you need is Love as their appearance looked similar, with young hip people sitting around, including members of Flowers and other bands, grooving convincingly to the music.
Hljómar played relentlessly at dance balls all around Iceland. The band rarely performed their own songs but mostly cover versions of recent international hits. These balls had little to do with love and peace. Rúnar Júlíusson, the beloved singer and bassist, had originally been prone to shyness, playing with his back to the audience. Now he had turned into a wild animal on stage. He jumped, climbed, dived, even stripped on stage. His stage act was legendary and hasn’t been
matched since. The guests didn’t come for any peace crap either. The drunk and horny crowd often tore down the places to the pounding backdrop of Hljómar’s music. A legendary ball in Sandgerði in 1968 ended in a riot after the band stopped playing at two o’clock instead of four as
promised. Chairs, windows, glasses and bottles were smashed, leaving the place in ruins.
Sheepskin vests for world domination Dreams of world domination were re-kindled when Hljómar tried to break into the Scandinavian market in 1968. In a joint effort with Guðlaugur Bergmann, who had run Reykjavík’s hippest fashion store, Karnabær, for two years, the band
went to Sweden as ambassadors of Icelandic pop and fashion. “The band tends to bring together the traditional Icelandic way and the world of pop,” wrote Morgunblaðið, adding: “Hljómar will all be dressed in sheepskin-vests. Knitted sock-shoes, caps, etc. will be brought along.
Hljómar have arranged ancient Icelandic rhyme motifs and added into their music and the langspil (ancient Icelandic instrument) will be taken along.”
The trip didn’t do much, neither for Icelandic fashion nor Hljómar. The band was offered a support slot for The Spencer Davis Group though, but the members didn’t think that was good enough.
For their second album (also eponymous, but later referred to as Hljómar II), the band added Shady Owens to the line-up. Shady was a 19-year-old daughter of an American soldier and Icelandic mother, and had stayed in Iceland for a while, singing with Óðmenn. She had a
wonderful voice and sang the Icelandic lyrics with a charming American accent.
The album was recorded in London in a record-breaking 35 hours (their first LP had taken 16 hours). Sixteen session musicians played on the album, including keyboardist Nick Hopkins, who had just played on “Revolution” for The Beatles. The album had six original songs by Gunnar Þórðarson on Side 1 and six cover versions on Side 2. Soon after the album’s release, Gunnar admitted regrets for including the cover songs. The album cost much more than SG had intended and sold less than the first album. A lawsuit ensued which ended in Hljómar having
to pay SG back for the extravaganza.
As the hair and beards grew longer and the general rock direction got heavier and more progressive, Hljómar’s pop direction started to date fast. Hljómar’s primary competition had been psychedelic pop band Flowers, and within that band, too, some wanted to move on to play a different kind of music. The band members – especially the two Gunnars (Þórðarson from Hljómar and Jökull Hákonarson, the drummer from Flowers) – discussed a liaison, often in privacy at discothèque Las Vegas on Grensásvegur. The conclusion was Trúbrot, Iceland’s first “super-group”. We’ll get to that next time.
Dr. Gunni, based on his book Eru ekki allir í stuði? (Rock in Iceland), published in 2000.
A revisited up-date of the book is forthcoming in 2010.

Jónsi & Alex released Debut Album, New Website, Interview & In the spotlight @ IMX

Jónsi Birgisson & Alex Somers Album "Riceboy Sleeps" is out now.

More information @ Jónsi & Alex

In the spotlight @ IMX:
Sleeping Giants
Known primarily for his haunting falsetto and other-worldly presence as the singer in Sigur Rós, Jón Þór (Jónsi) Birgisson has - together with his partner Alex Somers - been exhibiting artwork and staging exhibitions under the name Riceboy Sleeps for two or three years now.
A couple of months back the early fruits of the musical side of this collaboration surfaced in physical form for the first time, with the track "Happiness", on the exemplary ‘Dark Was The Night’ Red Hot compilation. Now the full-length "Riceboy Sleeps" album is finished and ready for release.
‘Riceboy Sleeps’ is a 68-minute ambient odyssey, that embraces the cerebral and the human in equal measure. Played solely on acoustic instruments in Iceland (and featuring long-time Sigur Rós string collaborators Amiina, as well as the Kópavogsdætur Choir) and then endlessly toyed with on solar-powered laptops in a raw food commune in some far corner of Hawaii, ‘Riceboy Sleeps’ has a suitably “organic feel” to it.
Alex - you’re known predominantly as a visual artist. How long have you been making music?
I’ve been making music for a long time, actually since before the visual stuff. I have been in bands since I was 15, mostly rock and roll bands, so making music and collaborating is not new for me. This is the first album I’ve released or published though…
When did you both get into “quieter” music?
Alex: When I was 18 or 19. I used to make music with my brother, which was always quieter. I immediately liked it. It felt somehow like it was my roots. If felt right to lose the pulse. Before Riceboy sleeps I’d been making stuff by myself at home, with good friends or again with my brother.
Jónsi: When I was young I used to put on ambient music. I used to listen to it intensely, it really did something for me. If I was feeling blue and sad it would actually soothe me. As you get older and more boring you tend to put it on and keep it in the background. The challenge for us was to make something quiet but still interesting. I was listening to [our album] recently and was surprised at how intense it is in places. It’s not like a pure ambient album. It’s not really all that relaxing sometimes.
Is this music is intimately tied up with your combined visual art aesthetic?
Alex: Definitely. They are one and the same for me. When Jónsi and I make photos or video projects, they come from exactly the same place as the songs. We’re always hoping to create the same kind of atmosphere.
When did the two of you first start making music?
Alex: We’ve been making music since we met in 2005, on and off. In fact we’ve been working on this project since then. We didn’t know we had an album until recently though. When we realized this, we took a month off and went to Hawaii to mix the album there.
And the whole album was recorded at your home in Reykjavik?
Alex: Yes, in our apartment we have all the instruments - harmonium, celeste, glockenspiels, piano, guitars…we wrote the whole thing on acoustic instruments.
Jonsi: It was really drawn out and involved time spent in our living room and kitchen. It was great.
How did the song-writing process work for this project?
Alex: Often the songs would grow from a sample or something, and just evolve. They very often became something else than they were intended to be. I personally like playing piano, guitar and harmonium. They are my three favourites. I also love the sampler, recording sounds and then playing with them and processing them.
Jónsi: We put in equal amounts. It was such a casual and lengthy project that no one can say what anyone else did. We had no deadline and no pressure. I would maybe fiddle around on a piano, then we’d leave it for half a year and then discover it and think “that sounds nice”. Some songs came quickly, some slowly. The last song, Sleeping Giant, took all five years and was one of the last songs that we finished.
Is the project influenced by any ‘ambient’ producers in particular, Eno for example?
Alex: Hm, nothing that I can think of. I personally think Eno is cool and I like his music. But really it was us doing our own thing. We never sit around listening to ambient music together or anything.
The album spans your entire relationship. Does it feel like some kind of personal archival document to you?
Alex: It is a bit like that. Most couples don’t get the opportunity to share their relationship in this way, and it sounds like the two of us at home to me for sure.
Jónsi: I think so too, but it needs more time to sink in. When you’ve just finished albums you want to get away from them. Only after some time can you think back to the special moments and atmospheres.
Some ambient albums are created electronically but this is way more acoustic
Alex: All the instruments were acoustic, and we added a string section and choir to help give it that feel. Sometimes with ambient bands it sounds too electronic. There’s mistakes here and it sounds rough in places. I mean we’re not the best engineers.
Jónsi - what crossovers were there between this project and your work with Sigur Rós?
There are always going to be parallels with music projects. It was a little bit like Sigur Rós sometimes in the working method and the way we slowed things down, reversed things and tweaked them. And of course we worked with amiina, the string quartet that play with Sigur Rós. You can’t help but have it be similar in some ways.
You went to the jungle in Hawaii to mix it all down. Why there?
Alex: We just wanted to go somewhere warm and to have some real undisturbed focus. We just took our laptops and speakers. Jónsi found out about a raw food community, like 12-15 people living together living off the land and using only solar power. So we had this small hut in the middle of the jungle and had dinners with these people from all over world and for all ages. It was a great way to finish an album. Sometimes we had the music up loud and it was quite amusing one evening to find this hippy lady called Humming Bird meditating outside our hut and making these spiritual comments…
Will you be doing anything live?
Jónsi: Maybe next year we will. It depends on the schedule. We’d want to do it with maybe a small string section or a choir, and of course some visual elements. We haven’t gotten that far yet though….
Source: Iceland Music Export IMX

Read another interview with the Duo @ Woolf and Wilde