sun 21/12/2014

Iceland

theartsdesk in Reykjavík: Iceland Airwaves 2014

A slim 69-year-old man in a rumpled sports jacket looking like a gone-to-seed history lecturer with the colour-clash dress sense of Michael Portillo is gripping a microphone so hard it’s a wonder it hasn’t been crushed. He is barking lyrics in...

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CD: Kiasmos

As vaporous as the haze on its cover, the sound of Kiasmos resonates like clouds sweeping across low mountain peaks, intermittently breaking into a storm or opening to reveal wan sunlight. Although firmly within the boundaries of electronica, the...

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Of Horses and Men

Twelve minutes into the Icelandic film Of Horses and Men something occurs on screen which was obviously going to happen, but actually seeing it happen is astonishing. It’s something which would normally either occur off screen or be alluded to. Of...

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theartsdesk in Reykjavík: Iceland Airwaves 2013

Kraftwerk closing a festival is a big deal. It’s an even bigger honour when the seminal German outfit reconfigure their set to acknowledge where they’re playing. Last Sunday, Kraftwerk performed the rarely heard “Airwaves”, from 1975’s Radioactivity...

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Björk, Alexandra Palace

While Lady Gaga’s conceptual antics left the crowd cold in Camden last Sunday, Bjork’s Ally Pally spectacular last night showcased the musical artistry that sets her so far above other female pop pretenders. While Gaga’s affected oddities have...

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CD: múm – Smilewound

The last album released by Iceland’s múm was Early Birds, an archive trawl from 2012 which unearthed previously unheard material recorded between 1998 and 2000. Before that was 2009’s Sing Along to Songs You Don't Know. Smilewound is a comeback, and...

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CD: Julianna Barwick - Nepenthe

In the video made to accompany “One Half”, Julianna Barwick meets her inner goddess in a deserted multi-storey car park. When she closes her eyes, everything that is ordinary melts away and is replaced by a landscape that is as colourful as the...

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Just in From Scandinavia: Nordic Music Round-Up 8

Characterising a country’s music by its most successful exports or what seem to be typical local styles is inevitable. With Iceland, the home of Björk and Sigur Rós, it’s easy to assume that ethereality, otherworldliness and plain oddness rule the...

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CD: Sigur Rós - Kveikur

Kveikur is really the first new album from Sigur Rós since 2008’s Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust. Their last, 2012’s Valtari, only had two fresh tracks and was otherwise redone offcuts or previously shelved material. The creative process...

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Just in From Scandinavia: Nordic Music Round-Up 7

Continuing its voyage through Scandinavia’s music, theartsdesk opens the latest chapter in Norway with Still Life With Eggplant, the 16th album from Trondheim’s prolific, long-lived, occasionally challenging and always vital Motorpsycho.Their last...

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CD: John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts

How John Grant would follow up 2010’s universally celebrated Queen of Denmark was a knotty dilemma. He could have settled into his role as the aberrant, self-lacerating, depression-fuelled, potty mouthed descendant of Lionel Ritchie and Eric Carmen...

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Metamorphosis, Lyric Hammersmith

While Kafka specifically declined to indicate exactly what kind of creature Gregor Samsa becomes in his horrific overnight transformation, translators of the novella have gone for a variety of options: bug, beetle, cockroach or vermin. In this stage...

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