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Sigur Ros
Von
One Little Indian US
www.sigur-ros.co.uk


Background music to make background music to.

That is how I would say that most of Von, the recent domestic release of the debut album from Iceland's Sigur Ros, would be classified. Most of the album is made up of dreamy soundscapes and mercurial wanderings of sound. There are a few gems to be found amidst the ambiance, songs with structure and melody that dot an otherwise lonely landscape of sound. This is not music to fall asleep to - unless of course you are trying to lull yourself into some Tim Burton-ish nightmare. Instead, I think that this album would be best put to use as low-level noise to inspire creativity… such as whilst painting Dali-esque landscapes of madness, or writing gonzo journalistic treatises. These songs are either made by brilliant minds, or minds made brilliant by perception altering chemicals. Either way, there is much substance amidst the vacuous spaces of Von.

Most of the tracks are sparse, instrumental offerings that reveal the musicians' abilities as definers of sound. Nightmarish landscapes of sound that ebb and flow from near peaceful sojourns to madness embracing nine-minute symphonies of aural distortionism. But there are certain tracks that are works of art of a different sort. "Hun Joro" is the first tangible sign of things to come from the Sigur Ros people, as ethereal voices drift atop the beginnings of a shoegaze heavy wall of guitar and driving, effected percussion. It is a choral mass of the damned, full of transcendent beauty and a rocksteady droniness . "Myrkur" is one of the other "accessible" tracks, much more in line with where the band has gone for the most part. The song has swirling guitars and brilliant structures, lyrics that are indeterminate, which wouldn't matter anyway, as I don't speak the native Icelandic tongue. This song reminds me of early Lush records, mixed with "Vapour Trail" era Ride. One final song of interest is "Von". This track has rambling drums and oddly syncopated acoustic guitars that underscore a beautiful vocal line. This is the one moment on the record when I wish I could understand what was being sung, because I'm certain it is wonderful.

I don't get it. I have never really understood the mass appeal of Sigur Ros, but for those folks who are avid listeners, this re-issue of Von is an absolute necessity. Also, if you want to know from whence the creativity and deliciousness of later Sigur Ros records had its start, then by all means, go out and get this. It opens up the beginnings of the epic.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:
1. Sigur Ros
2. Dogun
3. Hun Joro
4. Leit Ao Lifi
5. Myrkur
6. 18 Sekundur Fyrir Solaruppras
7. Hafssol
8. Verold Ny Og Oo
9. Von
10. Mistur
11. Syndir Guos (Opinberun Frelsarans)
12. Rukrym


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