Review: Reykjavik-based noise quartet, Sigur Ros - translated to Victory Rose - sublime 1999 album Agaetis Byrjun turns 20 this year and to commemorate the legendary band have assembled two luxury box sets featuring all matter of demos, rarities and live recordings. There is also the option to just rebask in the limelight of A Good Beginning (Agaetis Byrjun) repress that's worth it alone for album opener "Svefn-g-englar" - a breathy 10-minute swoon through the ether of sweet harmony. Travel the rest of the album until you get to "Avalon" - one of the deepest classical requiems you can hope to hear. A sonic fortress of bizarre digital noises, weird drones, wispy vocals and breathtakingly radiant percussion, Agaetis Byrjun is a masterpiece of revolutionary proportions.
Review: With various snippets spliced together by Sigur Ros and Berlin and Reykjavik-based artist Kjartan Holm, this endeavour has resulted in a one-off soundtrack for a new Taiwanese dance piece titled "22- Lunar Halo" by choreographer and artistic director Cheng Tsung-lung. This exclusive Record Store Day release is made up of two epics that are both near 20 minutes long, in the form of "With Arms & Legs Moving/The Tell Tales" and "They Glow In Light/Like Coloured Glass". The former relies heavily on subtlety, with soundscapes that lull you in, and an atmosphere throughout that builds to the point of some discomfort, yet all seems to be resolved with a piano driven conclusion on the second track. This is one of two modern dance collaborations from the Icelandic post-rock legends for this year's Record Store Day, each building on the band's music, both new and existing, to create brand new works.
The Hungry Ghosts/We Live In An Old Chaos Of The Sun (20:34)
The Silence Of Animals/The Truth Is, It Wanted To Cave In (22:50)
Review: Set as a soundtrack to a series of choreographed performances from the Iceland Dance Company, "Variations On Darkness" may arguably act as a counterpart to separate Record Store Day exclusive "22 Lunar Halo". This release is a culmination of various moments of Sigur Ros' career awashed with discordant, penetrating soundscapes across the two epics, "The Hungry Ghosts/We Live In An Old Chaos Of The Sun" and "The Silence Of Animals/The Truth Is, It Wanted To Cave In". Our pick is the latter which is something of an intoxicating build-up, brought together by haphazard, glitchy samples that may even cross the IDM territory, before concluding with a suitably grandiose ending to an epic trip. A tough listen, for sure, but all the more rewarding.
Review: New this week is the debut album from Coral Rose as The Silver Field, an abstract and experimental, ambient excursion through the more bizarre lands of post-psyche rock. Recorded in Rose's bedroom the LP follows recent releases on O Genesis by Daniel O'Sullivan (VELD) and Richard Youngs (Belief). The album, like its cover, represents a spread of shady colours and puts through the wash a bevy of instruments like the double bass, cello, guitar, and mandolin as beautifully finger-plucked on the album's closing title-track. Amidst drenches of reverberation and delay techniques, "Rain" itself, a highlight of the album, couldn't sound more like the fact, albeit in Rose's folk-charm style, while there's also "Dolino" for a heavier loop-making trip that lands somewhere between techno and noise. And for that sublime trip into the abyss it's all about "Moors".