2017 PART ONE : OUR FAVOURITE RELEASES SO FAR THIS YEAR
June 15th, 2017 | In The Spotlight
As the lengthening days and hanging white sun signal the arrival of the summer solstice, we’ve realised we are coming up the halfway point of 2017. We look back on some of the most impressive releases to come from Icelandic artists so far this year. We have been spoiled so far and of course we could be here all day so we want to highlight some of the albums which have been on rotation here from January to June.
Sóléy – Endless Summer
Sóléy released her third offering ‘Endless Summer’ in May, with the album written over the preceding year with friend and long time collaborator Albert Finnbogason. “The idea for the album came pretty randomly one night in beginning of January 2016 when I woke up in the middle of the night and wrote a note to myself: ‘Write about hope and spring,” Sóléy said of the direction of the album.
This collection of songs is undoubtedly colourful and playful – bouncing incessantly as the album progresses. The songs weave delicate melodies, nimble orchestration and insightful lyricism together – the marriage of which belies a sparkling maturity and a sense of absolute timeliness. Neither looking back towards previous years nor towards the days which will follow – ‘Endless Summer’ is a calming celebration of the present.
JFDR – Brazil
The Icelandic seasons often elicit curious sensations and the second pick here emerges from the cyclical nature of those seasons. However, this would be a somewhat narrow minded view of Jófríður Ákadóttir’s talents and career to date – an active collaborator in projects such as Samaris, Gangly and also with her twin sister Ásthildur in Pascal Pinon, JFDR has been a lively wanderer allowing “her voice a current that moves through rough seas to smooth waters”.
This dichotomy is where the strength of her debut record “Brazil” truly lies. Her voice echoes the serenity amongst tumult that is at the essence of any lone traveler’s experience while also reaching out to the real core of human experience. The repetition and cyclical nature of leaving and arriving is all reflected in her music, where the solid meets the fragile. “Anything Goes” is a great example of this, as a humble electric guitar is engulfed by a vast electronic landscape which crashes like a colossal wave over a heartbreaking melody and salient lyrics.
Fufano – Sports
The transition from a two-piece techno act to a three-piece psychedelic post-punk band has been seamless for Fufanu. On their newest record ‘Sports’, released back in February, the group explore a tenacious driving rhythm that resembles Krautrock, a sensibility that straddles both the techno and the punk rock scenes.
Their real boldness is expressed in the collision of sensitivity with their thunderous sonic energy. “Your Fool” allows the delivery of a monologue from a defenseless loner as the music races upwards Rocky Balboa-like to the top of a precipitous summit..
Valgeir Sigurðsson – Dissonance
The Valgier Sigurðsson sound is one that is both broad and yet patient in its expansion. Hovering and inflating until it climatically rises and strikes at the heart and the depth of sensation. This tension is wrought by the experiential recording technique on display in ‘Dissonance’. By breaking up the orchestra and recording sections separately – adding in layers of collaborators and string players, this gives Sigurðsson a fulfilling level of power and control with regards to the ingredients and the nuances at play. It’s a laborious and time consuming approach but the result is one which is carefully controlled, pointed, meticulous and all the more powerful for that.