mayo 25, 2011

The Icelandic Sound

Five years after releasing Takk…, their most successful studio album up to date, and having gone through one last release and two worldwide tours, Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós are currently on a very well deserved break. Nevertheless, their frontman, guitarist and lead singer Jónsi Birgisson kept working throughout last year in order to release his first solo album, Go. In this review, I will analyse in which ways these two pieces of music are related to each other, as well as the main differences between them, which, of course, must be highly expected, deductively reasoning.

While the otherworldly Takk…, sung in Icelandic and Hopelandic (a made up series of vocals and sounds that strongly resemble those of the Northern languages), is a post-rock album itself, with its ethereal distant sounds, distorted guitars (Jónsi uses a violin bow to perform on his guitar), rapidly changing rhythms and sudden walls of sound appearing before us, Go, which is sung in English, could be regarded as a little bit more out there: in spite of being highly influenced by that non-conventional style, it turned out to be, essentially, a pop album. Indeed, originally intended as entirely acoustic, it became a fully instrumentated piece of music after classical composer Nico Muhly intervened in its arrangements and production. Moreover, whereas Go stresses out a much more colourful and playful side of Jónsi’s musical mind (though not throughout its entirety), Takk… demonstrates happiness in general, though it might be also considered as quite bluish and sorrowful.

Both being profoundly moving and melancholic, the described albums are dissimilar in terms of style, yet the emotional charge spread across each and every one of their tracks reaches the same level of sophistication and proficiency, giving the listener a particularly memorable experience. What is more, not only are they stunning in nature, but also highly acclaimed by critics throughout the entire world.

All in all, for seekers of peaceful moments in particular, these beautifully recorded CDs are worthwhile listening to, since they have the capability of transporting you far beyond this world.

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