Monthly Archives: April 2013

AMFJ

AMFJ

Monks done got dark, that’s the first thing that came to mind on my virgin listen to AMFJ. With dark, heavy and industrial instrumentals topped with AMFJ blasting over the top with aggressive high energy rants, creating powerfully violent noise rock.

AMFJ is one man, Aðalsteinn Jörundsson, and his project began in 2008.  Just him, some loops and a lot of feedback smothered  with powerful and aggressive vocals that bounce and shock the beats,  akin to a defibrillator being applied one’s heart.  He has an ability to take the mundane and turn it into something darkly evocative.

For me, AMFJ’s newest album, Bæn, really encompasses his back catalog well.  There are definitely different and new sounds involved, but you get an overall feel for where he’s going and what he’s doing with the tracks.  It’s heavy, and the industrial/rock feel reminds me of post 80’s Ministry.  One of my favorite tracks is Klasar:

Other tracks such as Eg er Guð, to me, sounds akin to benedictine monks waking up on the wrong side of the wooden floor.

Gigs with AMFJ contain a lot of strobes, with a man front and center usually in a tank top blasting into a mic while twisting and toggling nobs and widgets creating dark loops and echoes.  From what I’ve read, sets tend to be intense and just under and hour.

Another great thing about AMFJ, he’s a fair play artist at Gogoyoko.  Meaning he’s allowed Gogoyoko to donate 10% or more of his album sales to the 5 charities Gogoyoko supports.  So I highly suggest listening and purchasing his stuff from them.

AMFJ will be playing Iceland Airwaves and I highly suggest you check him out.   You can find him on Gogoyoko and Facebook, he was kind enough to answer my 4 questions and here are his answers:

1. What is your favorite off-venue Airwaves, or Icelandic joint to jam at?  1. My favorite off venue to play at would be Mjódd. It’s a bus station way up in Breiðholt. I played there last year and it was so refreshing to play for people who would have otherwise never heard of you. Everyday normal commuters on their way home. Bleakly standing around, exhausted after a long week at the grind. Seemingly not caring for the music very much but stayed inside the station anyway, probably because of the storm outside. Then one guy came up to me after the set, said he loved it and bought my cd and gave me beer can from the bag of multible sixpacks he was bringing home to drown his sorrows in. Said he was going to give it a good listen when he’d get home. I’m was very glad to provide the soundtrack for his miserable evening.

2. If you combine all of your favorite colors (for you, add your bandmates if you would), what do you get?  I like primary colours. Colours that make other colours, but can also just stand on their own and be them selves. I don’t have any idea how to blend them and I don’t understand how people can come up with weird colour names such as razzmatazz. I think that’s just people desperately trying to make their lives more interesting but are looking in the wrong places. I like red. if I mix other colors into it, it would probably be a different kind of red. But still red.

3. What are 3 of your favorite little known bands of Icelandic origin?   Jóhann Eiríksson an electronic musician who’s been around experimenting with noises and field recordings since the late 80’s. He’s behind acts such as Reptilicus and Gjöll and is probably the most underrated artist of our country. I have never met anyone who has such deep understanding of how sound works and what can be done with it.

Norn a black-metal crust band that have been kicking ass lately. They bring a healthy
joyful attitude to a genre that isn’t known for having much sense of humor about them selves. They are working on an album these days and Krakkkbot, another great electronic musician you should know about – is dubbing over it some bone crushing noises to crust things up even further.

Logn Young guys who play fast and furious. Extremely refreshing fury in the midst of all the market friendly cuteness that plagues the scene these days.

4. If you could be any creature playing your favorite song, what would the creature be? And what is the song.   A Sloth, playing Last Dream of Jesus by Haus Arafna

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Oyama

oyama2
Oyama was everywhere at Airwaves 2012, I believe they gigged every day. Very hard workers especially when you consider the band members are from a lot of other Icelandic bands. Úlfur Alexander from Fist Fokkers, Swords of Chaos, and Útidúr. Kári Einarsson from Fist Fokkers. Rúnar Örn Marinósson from Me, the Slumbering Napoleon.  Júlia Hermannsdóttir from We Painted the Walls, and Berger Anderson from Just another Snake Cult and Sudden Weather Change.  (You can go here for my post on Sudden Weather Change.) For as calm and soothing as Oyama’s music is, the members themselves are a tornado of musical activity.

I’ve never gotten used to the term shoe-gaze pop. As this type of music makes me feel more like watching a kaleidoscope projector on my ceiling nestled in my over-sized beanbag than staring at my shoes.  Either way Oyama’s album, I wanna” makes you just want to kick back and float away while gazing at ceilings, shoes, or just into space.  Great beats that keep your attention from straying while vocals float over the top grabbing you and bringing you up there with them.  One of my favorite tracks on the album is Sometimes:

A lot of the album reminds me of a very young Spaceman 3/Spiritualized, especially the track Sometimes.  Oyama is excellent at producing harmonized vocals that drift over a very spacey set of instruments without sounding too washed out.  They have a great way of crossing over and mixing their male and female vocal set to create not so much a duet, but a singular stream of interchangeable notes, most noticed on Wasted (Dinosaur).

Oyama will be at Airwaves again in 2013.  I suggest you check them out.  To keep up to date with the band, their tumblr is here, their Facebook here, and of course you can find them on Gogoyoko.  Júlía and Berger were extremely kind and went to great detail in their answers to my four questions, and here they are:

1. What is your favorite off-venue Airwaves, or Icelandic  joint to jam at?

Júlía: Kex hostel and Stúdentakjallarinn fed us good food, plus they are out-of-control trendy places that make anyone who enters (= me) seem hip just by existing within that context (Stúdentakjallarinn has an entire wall of live vegetation).

Bergur: The whole atmosphere surrounding the off-venue program of Iceland Airwaves is fascinating. I love how unformal they all are, really nice plug and play concerts, preferably at venues like Bíó Paradís, Bar 11 or Kex Hostel. Stúdentakjallarinn is also very good, a new venue that actually feeds bands that perform there!

2. If you combine all of your favorite colors what do you get?

Júlía: I keep a running list of all my favorite colors with me (on my phone) at all times. I wish I were making this up. The list goes: eggplant, egg yolk, duck egg, neon green, hunter green, salmon, light pink, lilac, peridot, pale blue, royal blue, navy, mauve, cream, oatmeal, light grey, bright yellow, true red, red orange, burgundy, gold, silver

Bergur: I like most colors that relate to autumn; brown, mustard-brown, moss-green, and then some black and white… They all look good together in layers, but super-mundane if you’d mix them together.

3. What are 3 of your favorite little known bands of Icelandic origin?

Júlía: I’m gonna say The Heavy Experience, Nolo and Samaris. Samaris are pretty well known already but fuck it, I just wanna namedrop all my biggest favesies.

4. If you could be any creature playing your favorite song, what would the creature be? And what is the song?

Júlía: I’m a lemur playing Krawtwerk’s Computer Love
Bergur: A Koalabear playing bass on Darondo´s “Didnt I”

So, give them a listen and some attention.  They are another example of great Icelandic musicians coming together to create their own type of music.  Also, You can also see my other posts on Icelandic bands that will be at Airwaves ’13 here.

Momentum

momentum
Momentum’s roots are in black/death heavy metal and consists of Kristján on Drums, Sigurður for Guitar/Vocals, Hörður with Vocals/Bass, and Ingvar on Guitar/Vocals.  They are one of my favorite metal bands from Iceland, and I am looking forward to catching them at Airwaves 2013.

When describing metal everyone has a word for this and that.  Call it what you will, I find them to be akin to metal such as Envy and Isis.  Their songs are well produced, and progressively send you through epic journeys of heavy, soft and complex arrangements.  Instead of one song, I would highly suggest you take 15 minutes and listen to my favorite E.P. of theirs.  The Requiem.  It’s one of 2 E.Ps they have available.  There is also their full length, Fixation, at rest.  Check out As the skies break, one of my favorite tracks on the album. Enjoy the delightful music montage of As the skies break being performed live.

They have a new album soon to be released, titled “The freak is alive” and you can hear the title track here.  The band was kind enough to answer my four questions, so here they be:

1. What is your favorite off-venue Airwaves, or Icelandic joint to jam at?  Our favorite icelandic joint is probably the one in our fans pocket.

2. If you combine all of your favorite colors (for you, add your bandmates if you would), what do you get?  A sausage wearing a bandana.

3. What are 3 of your favorite little known bands of Icelandic origin?  Difficult choice since there are so many but Plastic Gods, Two Tickets to Japan, Muck

4. If you could be any creature playing your favorite song, what would the creature be? And what is the song.  We would definitely be a Manbear Pig playing Brown Shoes Don’t Make it.

So yes, there is going to be metal at Airwaves, and very good metal such as these guys.  You can find them on Facebook, and of course Gogoyoko. So give ’em a listen and look for them at Airwaves.

Iceland Airwaves 2013

airwaves13
I plan on reviewing and aggregating information on all the Icelandic bands that will be playing Airwaves 2013. Just click one of the bands below and you will go to the post. If I have not completed a post on the band, clicking on the link will lead you to their Gogoyoko profile, their webpage, a soundcloud page, or their Facebook page. You can also click here and listen to my playlist, which will have all artists on Gogoyoko.com that are playing the festival.
Membership to Gogoyoko is free, and you can stream all the music absolutely free. Also, if you do choose to buy, the artist gets 90% of the sale, that is why I love to use them.

To find an up-to-date list of all the bands playing Airwaves 2013 click here.

1860 AMFJ Amiina Angist Apparat Organ Quartet Aragrúi
Árstíðir Auxpan Björk Viggósdóttir La la Alaska Blood fued Bloodgroup Borko
Captain Fufanu Dimma Emiliana Torrini Emmsjé Gauti Endless Dark FM Belfast
Grísalappalísa Hermigervill Hjaltalín Hymnalaya Icelandic Symphony Orchestra In the Company of Men
Jónas Sen Kiriyama Family Kjurr Kontinuum Leaves Legend
Lord Pusswhip Low Roar Magnoose MAMMÚT Momentum Moses Hightower
Muck múm Nini Wilson Nolo Nóra Ojba Rasta
Ólafur Arnalds Ólöf Arnalds Ophidian 1 Oyama Pascal Pinon Pedro Pilatus
Prins Polo Reptilicus Retro Stefson Retrobot Runar Magnusson Samaris
Sign Sin Fang Skuli Sverrison Sólstafir Stafrænn Hákon Tilbury
UMTBS Valdimar Þóranna Dögg Björnsdóttir AKA Trouble Þórir Georg The Vintage Caravan Vok

Iceland Airwaves has become my favorite music festival. 4 days of music on a small Island straddling two continents. It began in 1999 at an airport hangar, and has now become a web of pubs, concert halls, discotheques and coffee shops sprawled out over the city of Reykjavik. Unlike most festivals, where you have stages competing for sound. Airwaves utilizes multiple venues, granting you the ability to actually see the band you’re listening to in person, not just on a massive screen. During the day you get to see acts play smaller gigs around town in Hostels, coffee bars, bookstores. And last year there was even a small little shack in the town center for a cozy kind of experience. After the festival there are plenty of after parties where bands continue until 6-7 in the morning. It truly is, 4 days of non-stop music.

You can always check the website for more information, and book all-inclusive festival packages here. They also have a playlist on Soundcloud of all the artists, not just the Icelandic ones.

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and here is their Spotify playlist:

Take a coupla shots of Reyka and go here. I’ll see you there, I’ll be the one with the triple vodka tonic listening away.

Apparat Organ Quartet

AOQ

Apparat Organ Quartet, AOQ, began in 1999 and has, or does now, consist of Hörður Bragason, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Músikvatur, Úlfur Eldjárn and Þorvaldur Gröndal who was later replaced by HAM drummer Arnar Geir Ómarsson.  As of 2012, Jóhann Jóhannsson left AOQ to focus on his other projects.

Trying to regurgitate their entire history from Wiki, or their website would be a disservice, as their website is extremely entertaining so I’ll leave that to you; and just go on about their albums and live gigs.  AOQ is always an interesting band to see live. They pride themselves on not sequencing the music, and their instruments are a hodge-podge of keyboards, organs, vocoders, and synthesizers, all tweaked and modified to bring the audience and listener unique beat-heavy dance and rock pieces.

My first live experience with AOQ was unplanned. I was at NASA early to ensure my sweet spot for a band I can’t even remember that was playing after them. The lights dimmed and the stage came alive with this massive bulk of machinery and wires cranking out these incredibly forceful soundwaves of synthesized vocals, organs tweaked improper, keyboards, and I swear to God there was a cow bell. The crowd, obviously familiar with them went nuts, jumping up and down, freaking out, and displaying the bands symbol, the triangle. Lift both hands above your head, put your thumbs together in a straight line, then touch your index fingers together, making the triangle. Obviously the show left it’s impression, as I remember AOQ, but not the band I was really there to see.

AOQ

Their first album came out around 2002. The self titled album is built like an album should be, very easy to listen to and fluid. It starts off with a lot of energy, then you coast gleefully through the middle engaging the listener with ups and downs, coming to a very spacey, relaxing end. The album took almost 3 years of discovery and research for the band, and according to the band’s website, it took so long to create as it was undiscovered territory. Not many organ quartets are out there, add that to their naturally creative nature, and obsession with customizing old and new things alike,  and you have a lot of untraveled space to fly through.  My favorite tracks on the album are The Anguish of Space Time and Stereo rock and roll.

Their second full length, Pólýfónía, has the same upbeat vibe, and more pop-ish tracks such as 123 Forever as well as more rock-ish tracks like Cargo Frakt. At Airwaves 2012, instead of a bulk of instruments taking up the center of the stage, Apparat added 4 very new, very shiny instruments. A quartet of women:

Apparat Organ Quartet play at Harpa during Iceland Airwaves 2012

They first appeared on the track Konami and then appeared live, for everyone to see. The concert this time was at Harpa, a much larger venue, which the band filled with an epic light show, as well as these lovely ladies.  AOQ proved again that they know how to put on an amazing show.

The last thing I want to mention is their Pólýfónía Remixes album, with artists such as FM Belfast and Bloodgroup.  Definitely worth a listen, Fm Belfast’s remix of Konami, is my favorite track on the album.

I would definitely check out their website, they are on Facebook, and of course, their albums are all on Gogoyoko. Definitely unique, energetic, and worthwhile. And now, for their 4 questions:

1. What is your favorite off-venue Airwaves joint to jam at? I think we did our first Airwaves off venue gig this year at KEX and it was quite nice. They had delicious soup.
2. If you combine all of your favorite colors (for you, add your bandmates if you would), what do you get? A whiter shade of pale
3. What are 3 of your favorite little known bands of Icelandic origin? DJ Musician, DJ Sexbomb and DJ Flugvél og geimskip
4. If you could be any creature playing your favorite song, what would the creature be? A steam engine robot playing Jump by Van Halen