Friday, June 27, 2008

Streaking Towards The Horizon With Sigur Rós

Today I am immersed in the rapturous sounds of the new Sigur Rós album, "Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust" (translated "With a buzz in our ears we play endlessly"). I have been playing it continuously for the last few days, and a few tracks are already threatening to break into my highly volatile "Top 25 Most Played" playlist in my iTunes library.

It contains the appropriately titled and jubilant album opener "Gobbledigook ", an infectious and organic sounding little ditty that may inspire some to do the same as what is depicted on the album cover. The second track, " Inni mer syngurvitteysingur" continues in a similar vein, topping off a quick one-two punch that invokes a celebratory and tribalistic fusion that lets you know you are on new terrain here.

There are numerous tracks that are uncharacteristically economical and less grandiose than is typical for this tribe of Icelandic craftsmen, though thankfully the band still has a few lengthy ethereal soundscapes to keep the mood firmly rooted in outer space. There are also crackling acoustic guitars on a few more minimalist and sparse numbers that help make this album more varied than on previous outings.

The track "Festival" is a good fusion of the varied elements throughout the album. It is a nine minute center piece and magnum opus of the album that starts of as a jaunty invocation and than switches gears mid way through into a slowly building call to the heavens, gradually mutating into a thundering and triumphant crescendo .

For me Sigur Rós has been one of the most exciting and engaging bands of this nameless decade. Their music works on a very primal and emotional level, refusing to be easily categorized or subjected to rational analysis. It is one part spectacle, and two parts pure transcendent bliss. Needless to say it takes me to my happy place.

Even if the thought of pasty white unclothed Icelandic flesh frolicking in the sun scares you, I highly recommend immersing yourself in this album this summer. It holds the possibility of being able to enhance the moment wherever you may be and might even take you to a far away landscape when you need a quick escape from the mundane.

(For a free download of Goobledigook and some older tracks link here to the band's site, or check out their MySpace page to hear a few tracks from the album )


Barbara Bruederlin said...

After listening to this album streamed, it is pretty much #1 on my list of must-buy albums. It feels more upbeat than their previous albums, really a perfect blend of atmosphere and pop. And those pasty white Icelandic bums don't scare me a bit.

Allison said...

I was turned on to Sigur Ros by a friend earlier this year, after watching a music documentary on Iceland, and while I admit to only sampling from their latest, the songs I have heard have been on repeat. Like Barb, its on my list of must-buys. 2008 is shaping up to be an excellent year for music.

Comrade Kevin said...

Interesting. I'll give it a serious listen.

So much music these days is totally awful. It almost feels like it's the late 1970s again.