|The Rains of Castamere||Game Of Thrones: Season 4 (Music from the HBO® Series)|| |
|Starálfur||Ágætis Byrjun|| |
|Svefn-G-Englar||Ágætis Byrjun|| |
|Olsen Olsen||Ágætis Byrjun|| |
|Ekki Múkk||Valtari|| |
Talking to an international audience can be hard. While indie rock bands, wherever they're from, take English as their common language, Icelandic quartet Sigur Rós famously invented "Hopelandic," a nonsense tongue that isn't so much borderless as primal, pre-natal in its universality of feeling. But beyond the odd lure of their elegant baby talk has always been Sigur Rós's vast, icy acoustic landscapes and stirring orchestral swells. Sixth studio album Valtari keeps up the band's grand emotional sweep. Classical strings mingle with e-bowed guitars, piano chords and melodies resound through some cavernous space, Jónsi's vocals keen and whimper while whales presumably sing in the background and glaciers break off into the ocean. It's epic stuff, joyful and melancholy and no less affecting for being slightly silly.
Sigur Rós’s ascent from their humble roots in Iceland to international reverence has been unconventional to say the least, filling rock arenas even as they sing in their native (or an imaginary) language. So it makes a certain kind of sense that Inni is their second concert film, yet first live album. Recorded at London’s Alexandra Palace in November of 2008, this concert eschews the string sections and ethereal atmospheres they typically conjure and focuses intently on the interplay between the core four musicians. Drawing from every album, they range from the limpid piano ballad “Fljótavík” to the ecstatic dissonance of “Popplagið.” And check Jonsi’s gravity-free falsetto midway through “Festival.” Even scaled back, Sigur Rós manage to be both earthy and otherworldly.
22, A Million is part love letter, part final resting place of two decades of searching for selfunderstanding like a religion. And the inner-resolution of maybe never finding that understanding. The album’s 10 poly-fi recordings are a collection of sacred moments, love’s torment and salvation, contexts of intense memories, signs that you can pin meaning onto or disregard as coincidence. If Bon Iver, Bon Iver built a habitat rooted in physical spaces, then 22, A Million is the letting go of that attachment to a place.