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Sigur Rós - Ágćtis Byrjun CD (album) cover


Sigur Rós


Post Rock/Math rock

4.12 | 576 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Wow, what a beautiful CD. The first time I heard it I wasn't overly impressed, but now it has grown on me and it is one of few records that me and my dad (a classical fan) can share in enjoyment.

So... as for the songs. The intro just gives us a taster of what's to come and the album really kicks off with 'Svefn-G-Englar', a very beautiful epic, with hints of Floyd. Quite repetitive, but good for it. 'Staralfur' is my favourite, and the closest to being a 'song' in the traditional sense. It has an amazing atmosphere, and is extremely emotional. The way it seamlessly intersperses chamber music with the band's tradmark post rock sound is incredible. I saw a live performance of this on TV and the emotion on the singer/guitarists face was incredible. 'Flugufrelsarinn' starts with noises of the sea, which gradually get more frantic. This then fades out and some organ(?) chords are heard which introduces us to this song. This song brings back the spacier Floydian sound, but is more symphonic than 'Svefn-G-Englar'. There are also hints of world music that unfold. Then 'Ny Batteri' starts with brass instruments. At first it is very minimalistic and sounds improvised. Then other instruments enter the fold, adding more structure, and a very somber mood. This mood is enhanced by the mournful vocals. When the drums come in a new layer is added to the mood, and then everything stops leaving one note hanging in the air, and then everything comes in again, faster, but still solemn. This song fades out. Next up is 'Hjartao Hamast (Bamm Bamm Bamm)' which enters with a bass line reminding one of a seventies cop show. There are then ambient synths on top of this, and the singing takes on a very dark tone, with some female voices answering. The song then morphs into a more symphonic, yet still dark sound with layered vocals before returning to the original sound, with some great synths. The song ends spectularly and leads us to 'Viorar Vel Til Loftarasa'. A piano fades in very gradually. As other instruments enter, it sounds very hopeful, like the coming of Spring, after the bleak winter of the last few songs. Actually now I think of it the album has got quite a seasonal structure. Nayway this song also has a very new age feel to it. To put it simply it is a very bright song, yet wreathed in mystery. It gets very frantic towards the end. 'Olsen Olsen' begins with a very mysterious tone, and th singer sings in his highest range yet in this very celtic feeling song. It even has a flite or whistle solo which sounds very Irish (Very odd for an Icelandic band). The mood of this song changes a lot, from cheerful to mournful and back again. At one point it sounds like the kind of music you would experience in a musical such as The Sound of Music, and ends in a jazz-like jam and some children talking followed by a reprise of the earlier flute solo. The end fades straight into 'Agaetis Byrjun' which starts with a sound that seems to sum up the album so far, with piano, drums acoustic guitar, and others. The vocals are pretty stereotypical of the album so far. It's hard to tell if this is a happy or sad mood, and maybe it's supposed to be like that. There is silence before the final track, 'Avalon' begins. This song is very different to anything heard previously. There are lots of electronic sounds mixed with brass and strings. There are some strange sound effects in this solely instrumental piece, which rounds off the album as strangely as it begun.

So this is a very unique unusual albums, and my review doesn't even begin to describe the exciting twisting turns in this record. Anyone who likes intensely emotional music and has an open mind should enjoy this.

4 stars

burtonrulez | 4/5 |


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