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Sigur Rós - Hvarf / Heim CD (album) cover


Sigur Rós

Post Rock/Math rock

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4 stars A really great recording, that I managed to own before its release date (thank to my cd seller!); a delicate gathering of sounds, a real Sigur Rňs cd. Even if it features "old" tracks (unreleased tracks, and the live "Heim"), it remains a fantastic cd: exciting and essential for a SR's fan. A recording that I prefer to "Takk".. that I found not so brilliant as "( )", that I find a masterpiece, and their best up to now.

"Heim" is moving, a live recording that will become a legend in Post-Rock. Fantastic.

Don't miss it, this is the only suggestion I do. 4 stars, and maybe more (8,5/10).

Report this review (#151343)
Posted Saturday, November 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Really good album from the band. The first disc features some good music, including a mesmerising "Von". "Hafsol" is good too, but loses its way by the end of the track. Disc 2 features some very understated performances (sort of "unplugged") that work well. Always present is the emotion in the songs. Two previously untitled songs from "( )" are now given names, "Vaka" (prev. "Untitled 1") and "Samskeyti" (prev. "Untitled 3"). So, not a new collection of songs, but old songs offered in a new setting. All in all, it's easily a 4- star CD, probably a 4.25 if that makes sense. Of course, like all SR albums, you really need to listen a few times before you can take in the vast scope of their work. At times, this is utterly beautiful - as long as you don't have a short attention span.
Report this review (#151583)
Posted Sunday, November 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Hvarf-Heim is a standard Sigur Ros affair.

I could end the review there and I almost feel compelled to, because I can't think of much to say about Hvarf-Heim, but I'll try my best anyway. This is a neat little compilation. When I bought it, I was expecting something more in the vein of Pain of Salvation's live album 12:5, in which previous songs are made acoustic and reworked vastly. With Sigur Ros, the shift from live to acoustic/re-recorded is much less dramatic. True, I like the versions of songs that appeared on ( ) perhaps a little better in this setting, but they are not that different from each other. The record has several songs which I was unacquainted with, but I don't own Agaetis Byrjun or any singles yet, so perhaps they appear on those albums. In essence, Hvarf-Heim is supplemental material for the Sigur Ros fan, and would probably be a great introduction to the band for a new listener. If I had to choose between the two discs, I'd choose Hvarf for "Hljomalind," "I Gaer," and "Hafsol."

Report this review (#151653)
Posted Sunday, November 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
3 stars Appropriately, Hvarf has several songs which will sound very familiar for fans of the band's other releases (being re-recorded versions of older, unused songs from those albums), encapsulating the group's unique sound in an approachable format that meets expectations, but doesn't quite exceed them.

Hvarf is not doubt beautiful, in a way which only Sigor Ros can be described as, but is not nearly as striking as Agaetis or Takk; some of the vocalizing is indistinguishable from earlier work (maybe just because I don't speak Icelandic?), and the ambitiousness of song writing seems to be toned down as well, fitting softs/louds into more abbreviated passages without as much liquid transition between; nor are there as many wow moments to be found. Old fans will probably not rank this one near the top of the band's list, but it will still please thanks to a few new sounds in songs like Salka, which is the closest the band has ever come to a conventional sounding rock tune, and Hafsol, which features an energetic bass riff and dynamic build. Additionally, those who got to see the band live (on their last tour at least), will get to hear more of the eclectic string quartet Amiina (four talented young ladies who each play a dozen different instruments) accompany the group on several songs.

The live material is hardly a selling point, but a nice bonus for the fans. In short-- check out Agaetis and Takk first.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Report this review (#157355)
Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Hvarf-Heim is a compilation album by Icelandic post rock act Sigur Ros. It´s a double CD release. The first CD is called Hvarf and contains three new studio songs and two re-recorded songs from Sigur Ros debut album Von (1997). The second CD which is called Heim contains six songs recorded live on Iceland between 2006 and 2007 and features the string quartet Amiina. One song is taken from Von ( the title track), two songs are taken from Ágćtis Byrjun (1999) ( Starálfur and the title track from that album), two songs are taken from () (2002) ( Samskeyti and Vaka) and one song is taken from Takk ... (2005).

The three new songs on the Hvarf CD are all pretty great. Typical melancholic and atmospheric post rock tracks as we´re used to from the band. The two re-recordings of Von and Hafsól are very enjoyable too. Much better and than their original versions which I found a bit too ambient and quite frankly annoying.

The live CD Heim is excellent too. Not that there´s much difference between the original versions of the songs and the live versions IMO ( except for Von which sounds pretty different). The song selection is excellent though and the pleasant and warm sound as well as the presence of the string quartet Amiina gives me a great experience anyway.

At first sight it might seem like a waste of money to get an album with only three new songs and live versions of songs that sounds very close to the originals but there´s something special about this release that really makes it a worthwhile purchase anyway. I can´t quite put my finger on the exact reason but I greatly enjoy this compilation and I can´t give it less than a 4 star rating. It would actually be a good place to start for newcomers IMO as it in addition to containing new material also could serve as a good best of compilation.

Report this review (#213043)
Posted Thursday, April 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars Between the two albums 'Takk...'' and 'Međ suđ í eyrum viđ spilum endalaust,' the Icelandic post-rock band SIGUR RÓS released this double disc album titled HVARF / HEIM which some sources seem to list as a compilation and others as a bona fide album release. Disc one - HVARF contains three unreleased tracks, the track 'Von' from the debut album as well as the track 'Hafsól' which was originally only available as the B-side of 'Hoppípolla" from 'Takk...'' Disc two - HEIM is a set of six live acoustic versions of tracks that were presented on the documentary 'Heima' which presented SIGUR RÓS's tour around Iceland in the summer of 2006. Of these six live performances, 'Von' is included as well making it appear twice on this release. Although they are live performances, it is impossible to tell that they are so since there is no audience noise participation and sound as polished as any studio release. The tracks are taken from the albums '( ),' 'Á'gćtis byrjun,' 'Takk..'' and 'Von.'

Like their bona fide studio albums, HVARF / HEIM was very successful all across Europe and with the independent crowds in the US. This Icelandic act delivers the expected journey into the frosty cold post-rock journeys that they have always been known for but the albums comes across as a more chilled and laid back affair sounding most like the ''g'tis byrjun' album with sensual airy keyboard runs accentuated by Jón ''Ţór " Jónsi" Birgisson's ethereal falsettos (in Icelandic) accompanied by bass and drums. In other words, the band performs just as expected without any deviations from the norm. The chord patterns and floating cloud atmospheres lollygag leisurely through the friendly skies while mid-tempo beats prance about like lucid pegasus ponies on a lazy afternoon and none of the unreleased would sound the least bit out of place on any of the albums prior. And unfortunately they fail to craft distinct identities from the other.

Soundtracks have to work double duty to win me over. They were created exclusively for accompanying the visuals and commentary that fits into a bigger scheme of things as background music for a film or documentary but often soundtrack music doesn't have the gusto to pull off unaccompanied listening alone and such is the case with HVARF / HEIM for me. The fragility of SIGUR RÓS' sound is like that of an eggshell and one tiny crack and the whole system fails. While carefully crafted albums work beautifully even the less loved debut 'Von,' random track offerings such as HVARF / HEIM just seem a little lackluster as the tracks just aimlessly float by without the context of the visuals that they were designed to augment. Overall there isn't enough to win me over on this compilation and / or album. It's not that this isn't pleasant music in the least and any hardcore fans will surely want to own this one, however it's just not one that draws me in for repeated listens and lacks the distinct charm that albums like 'Takk...' so successfully employed. The unreleased tracks are the more interesting ones.

Report this review (#1932040)
Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2018 | Review Permalink

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