We’re going off our usual path here to take you on a brief journey into the centre of Icelandic music.
Björk and the Guðmundur Ingólfsson Trio
This 1990 album is the result of collaboration between Björk and jazz trio Guðmundur Ingólfsson. There is evidence of a confusing eclecticism, and the superstar Björk sings mostly in Icelandic. This album hasn’t aged a bit, and its genre tends to suit every occasion and circumstance.
It is, of course, expected that Björk will be on our choice album list, but it’s not easy to pick an album from her because there are so many. So I decided to Homogenic, just for the beautiful song “Bachelorette,” whose lyrics were written by Sjón writer.
This album put Iceland on the map for many of us (well for me at least). I still remember the first time I heard Svefn-g-Englar on local radio in France in 1999; the album starts with a guitar played with a violin bow.
Finally we are no one
The group that represents Icelandic music for me is Múm. When listening to their music, one transports directly somewhere by the Icelandic sea. This 2012 album is the sweetest little music trip that Iceland will take you.
Gargandi Snilld the soundtrack
The soundtrack of this excellent documentary Screaming Masterpiece (the English title) -nothing but delightful especially for the beautiful composition Odin’s raven magic by Sigur Rós and singer Steindór Andersen.
The album choice was difficult to choose, so I took into consideration the most talented musicians in Iceland. Mugison released his first album sung in Icelandic in 2011. It’s as soft as a beautiful spring day in Iceland 2011 – with this in mind, listen (and try to understand) to the second song on the album.
Komdu til mín svarta systir
Mammut entered the music scene in Iceland by winning a music competition in 2004 and are known for their well-deserved success. The album appeared in 2013 and is only 35 minutes long. Grab the chance if you can to see Mammut in concert.
The eponymous album Retro Stefson is simply a marvel, and this is coming from someone who’s not a fan of electronic music. It is fresh, light, catchy and different. The album was released in 2012 and became a big success in Iceland. Well deserved success!
My Head is An Animal
Of Monsters And Men
Okay, I admit that I hesitated to put this album on the list. When I started hearing about the group Of Monsters And Men, in 2011, they had already warmed up a small place on the Icelandic music scene, and the band members were just about to become international superstars. Okay, it was a crazy world with all the hype at their Iceland Airwaves concerts in 2011, when they played for free at “off-venues” Kex and Reykjavík Downtown Hostel. That certainly wouldn’t happen today. I had my doubts about how they’d evolve, but let’s admit that this first album is very pleasant, and for sure, it will remain in the annals of Icelandic music for a while.
For this tenth album choice, my heart is pulled between Reistu THIG Við Solin Er Komin Á Loft (For a Minor Reflection), Brostinn Stengur of Lay Low and Dýrð í dauðaþögn of Ásgeir Trausti; I’ll leave it up to you guys to have a listen and make up your mind!
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