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
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
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.
1. Sigur Ros
3. Hun Joro
4. Leit Ao Lifi
6. 18 Sekundur Fyrir Solaruppras
8. Verold Ny Og Oo
11. Syndir Guos (Opinberun Frelsarans)
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