The collective Sigur Rós stand as a guiding light for all musicians striving towards creating an atmospheric, and ambient sound. Throughout the entirety of their music, nothing ever feels rushed or forced, and merely leaves you pondering how such long and intricate tracks could be made by four simple people. “Ekki múkk” comes from their sixth and most recent album ‘Valtari’, one of ten tracks on this delicately pure creation. Sigur Rós became renown internationally after their third album ‘Ágætis byrjun’, with Jónsi’s falsetto vocal style and the group’s ability to almost instantly exude such strong emotions gathering them a large fan-base. The combination of their front-man Jónsi’s peculiar appearance as a result of being blind in one eye, and his high-pitched, ethereal voice gives the collective a definitive surreal and mysterious appeal. Yet despite certain interest in the band being dependent on mere curiousity, Sigur Rós most definitely validate their place in the music industry with incredibly immersive, unique and touching music. Most intriguingly perhaps is the group’s decision to use the ‘nonsense’, unintelligible language ‘Vonlenska’, or ‘Hopelandic’, using it with the intent to express emotion with mere sounds and language that doesn’t necessarily translate to anything. Separate to Sigur Rós, Jónsi has released quite a lot of his own solo music, with certains tracks like his cover of MGMT’s ‘Time to Pretend’ drawing much attention. In a some-what awkward interview with BPPNPR, the band discuss the process for creating such diverse, and atmospheric music. They say that never did they “set out to make a certain type of music”, that simply what they made was what “happened naturally”. Struggling with annoyingly general questions, they still managed to narrow down on the simple fact that together they just wanted to “make music”. Never did they “expect anything” like the fame that has found them, that they just created what they felt they wanted and needed too.
A goosebump-inducing performance of ‘Ára Bátur’ at Abbey Road Studios:
White Flight is the name given to the solo project of Justin Roelofs, a now ex-member of the indie-rock band The Anniversary until their split in 2004. This track ‘Panther’ comes from his single release in 2010, after having already released a self-titled album back in 2006. Roelofs sound in his solo work differs quite a bit from what he contributed to The Anniversary, with his previous band making more mainstream, pop-emo/rock music. After his first solo release, Roelofs literally disappeared from the U.S. just prior to its public release, later telling the media that he went to live in the jungles and towns of Peru, Guatemala, Hawaii and New Zealand. The sound that Roelofs has put into his single releases, as well as his 2010 album ‘White Ark’, comes from his experiences with hallucinogenic and medical plant-life that he partook in while overseas. While his new music isn’t necessarily revolutionary in any sense, certain tracks have distinct and rememberable melodies, which may have to do with the electronica group Ratatat’s involvement with production.
A Ratatat-esq track ‘Dream Lover’, with shots of the wildman Roelof:
The electronic-ambient French duo Air consists of Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel. Their name is an acronym of the phrase ‘Amour, Imagination, Rêve’ (translated to Love, Imagination, Dream), and under this they’ve released upon us all 7 albums over the past decade and more, as well as several remix compilations. The pair work quite often with director Sofia Coppola, responsible for the film ‘Virgin Suicides’ which includes their probably most well-known track ‘Playground Love’. The sound that comes from Air differs quite dramatically from track to track, yet all the while building off a consistent electronic, ‘dream-pop’ structure and sound. A song like ‘Cherry Blossom Girl’ reflects their ability to write and sing a lyric-based track while still keeping their trademark crazy instrumental solos (whether it be flute, saxophone, guitar, keyboard, etc). Yet a track like ‘Alone in Kyoto’, from the soundtrack of ‘Lost in Translation’, reveals their true talent in being able to create effortlessly flowing, ambient instrumental music. When interviewed by Last.fm on whether they have interest in other artistic areas, Godin comments on the danger of “an artist’s ego”, and the delusion that “anything you make” will be good. So whether we see them involved in screenplays, or films or not it really doesn’t matter, given the calibre of the music they’ve given to their fans.
The entire of Air’s most recent album, ‘Le Voyage Dans La Lune’: