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Sigur Rós - Ágćtis Byrjun CD (album) cover


Sigur Rós


Post Rock/Math rock

4.14 | 556 ratings

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4 stars Ágćtis Byrjun is the second full-length studio album by Islandic experimental/ post rock act Sigur Ros ( not counting the remix album Von Brigđi (1998)). Listening to the first two albums by the band has not been an easy experience for me. The repetitive ambient sound experiments on Von (1997) and the remixes of those experiments on Von Brigđi) really didn´t strike a note with me. Ágćtis Byrjun is fortunately a very different album compared to its predecessors and my interest was immediately ignited when I listened to the first song after the intro.

The music on Ágćtis Byrjun is ambient, atmospheric, melancholic and above all beautiful. As opposed to the ambient soundscapes of their debut album this album features more regular drums and therefore it has more of a rock ( very soft, ambient rock) feeling to it. I´m often reminded of the melancholy of Radiohead which is probably due to Jónsi Birgisson´s vocal style which at times isn´t far from Thom Yorke´s ditto ( especially in the songs Starálfur, Flugufrelsarinn and Ágćtis Byrjun). Most of the time his style is more high pitched and atmospheric though. Another influence is probably Talk Talk. Listen to the first couple of minutes of minimalistic organic sounds in Ný Batterí for reference. I´m also reminded of the somewhat monotenous alternative rock/ noise rock of bands like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, but it´s mostly because of the moods in the music and the walls of noisy yet melodic sound that Sigur Ros produce in some songs on Ágćtis Byrjun. The album is overall very consistent and the 71:51 minutes go by like a dream. It´s very seldom any album can entertain me for that long. Songs like Svefn-G-Englar, Ný Batterí, Hjartaő Hamast (Bamm Bamm Bamm) and Viőrar Vel Til Loftárasa are simply wonderful to my ears. Olsen Olsen is also special to me with its symphonic ending. In addition to normal rock instrumentation there´s also lots of strings on the album which gives the music an great organic touch.

The musicianship is excellent. Jónsi Birgisson´s vocals are extremely emotional and even though I understand little of the Icelandic lyrics it´s easy to embrace the melancholic mood in the music. The music is generally not technically complicated, but creating beautiful and meaningful soundscapes that someone like me ( who is normally way too busy to enjoy slow and ambient music) can appreciate is quite the achivement.

The production is excellent. Warm when it needs to be but also crystal clear and cold when that is needed. The sound suits the music very well.

Ágćtis Byrjun is my first positive meeting with Sigur Ros music but I´m certainly gonna search out the rest of their discography after listening to this album. This one´s a winner in my book and close to a 5 star rating. 4 stars will do for now, but I might return with a re-evalution some time in the future because Ágćtis Byrjun seems to keep growing on me for every new listen. Highly recommendable to fans of melancholic atmospheric music.

UMUR | 4/5 |


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