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( )

Sigur Rós

Post Rock/Math rock

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4 stars This started out as being my fall-asleep-to album. But more and more, when I listen to it, I get this sense of euphoria that I get from very few other albums. Prog Archives calls it Space, and I call it Atmosphere. I think there is a difference. This is more guitars/keyboards/bass/drums/vocals creating atmospheres, not emulating the sounds of space and time. It is an intense album. Key tracks being the one of Vanilla Sky, #4 Njósnavélin , #7 Popplagio and #3 Samskeyti. The whole album is in Hopelandic, a language Sigur Ros have created specifically for this album. It is not Icelandic, their native origin. Anyway, listen to this. It's heavenly and incendiary!
Report this review (#34524)
Posted Thursday, March 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars ( ) is a darker, more brooding album than its predecessor Agaetis Byrjun, which, in what may be a deliberate irony, is very much the opposite of its brighter cover art. I recommend it to anyone interested in PINK FLOYD, RICK WRIGHT, or even RADIOHEAD for their musical aspects, but they are more ambient than any of those--more along the lines of later TALK TALK. There are even some classical overtones, despite their seeming to move past the full-orchestra approach for a more minimalistic one. Don't be daunted by SIGUR ROS' deliberate air of mystery--this is truly a worthwhile album.

This album has new emotions for SIGUR ROS--sadness, even full-blown rage at the end of Track 8. The first group of four songs is closer to the old SIGUR ROS, more delicately beautiful, and while mournful at times, also uplifting. Track 2/Track 3 are the perfect examples of this, especially Track 3, which is a pure instrumental (no singing at all), with a gorgeous piano sequence. It's one part elegy, one part celebration. For all its sadness, it slowly builds up an amazing amount of power, and even as it dies away, you can't help that remaining sense of lingering joy. It is achingly bittersweet.

Over the second half of ( ), SIGUR ROS moves into its new emotional territory. Discord, heavy, brooding arrangements, and much more anguished, sometimes bitter vocals set this section apart. I appreciate the Hammond organ, which becomes more prominent on the second half of the album. Track 5 in particular shows them off well. I am reminded in part of the way RICK WRIGHT used the Hammond on PINK FLOYD's classic "Us and Them", and for that feature especially, I commend Track 5.

You have to be patient to listen to ( )--the songs build very gradually to a crescendo that does not always come. Track 7 moves closer to bitterness--and then there is the explosion in Track 8. At first it sounds like it will be a triumphant closing anthem and then--WHAM! I've heard few better expressions of such blinding's actually stronger because it has no recognizeable words. Rather than a momentary and someday laughable teenage-angsty outburst, this is an expression of pure emotion itself almost up there with PINK FLOYD's "One of These Days" (which does have one distorted lyric, but is otherwise an instrumental). That is why I can appreciate it so much as SIGUR ROS explodes into rage with JONSI's chilling voice hovering over the chaos.

The only weaknesses of this album, in comparison with Agaetis Byrjun is, as other reviewers have pointed out, that Jonsi seems far less creative with his made-up language than before. And...I have to admit there are places where this album does begin to try my patience, which is why I don't listen to it as frequently as others. Still, it's a good, solid album worth a 4.

Report this review (#34525)
Posted Thursday, March 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album goes together beautifully with the previous one, this release being more organic, dark and sad than the one before which was filled with hope. From the very opening track there are great looming bass sounds and organic piano works making this an instantly recognizable post rock album.

The vocals on here sound better as they are less high pitched and sound a lot more mature. Instead of being filled with hope they give at an impression of sorrow. This is backed up splendidly with the dark basslines and the touching piano running through the opening track. This is one of my favourite pieces by this band as it has so much raw emotion in it. A very moving piece of music.

The lyrics, although sung in a made up language called hopelandic which is a variation of icelandic I can only guess, work really well. It doesn't seem to matter that I can't understand what they are singing, and perhaps it doesn't distract me from the actual music by trying to follow the lyrics because there is no need to. As mentioned earlier the emotion in the vocals, expressed beautifully with the gloomy music, works wonders.

"()" is perhaps a journey of different emotions through a warm range of music. The last track is a standout piece, serving as an incredible climax. This piece favours the guitar over the piano and has a great change in tempo to show frantic, stressed and perhaps angry moods as the guitar piece speeds up. This is a great moment for a great album.

Similarly to Godspeed You Black Emperor!, this music takes patience as it can take a while to build up or progress. This applies with Sigur Ros probably on a lesser degree as none of the tracks reach the epic lengths of Godspeeds work. This album can be compared to "Yanqui UXO" as it sounds a lot more organic and displays darker, more depressing emotions than say "Ágaetis Byrjun" or "Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven", which had a positive and uplifting mood to it. This does not detract from "()" as although it is gentle, slow moving and sad music, it is far from dull and boring, maybe somewhere inbetween exciting and boring, but hopefully anyone who listens to this album will be patient. Those who are patient will be rewarded with a great feeling of beauty, stained with sadness. Very emotional, a great album to have.

Report this review (#34526)
Posted Sunday, May 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars

They are at the outer edge of what most of us are used to. Progressive? Absolutely. Rock? Not so sure. A large part of the album is what I'd call ambient music, but that makes the intense parts all the more compelling. My real respect for them is that it is still possible to come up with a whole new sound, fitting for the New Century.

Report this review (#35457)
Posted Tuesday, June 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The more atmospheric and gradual approach of ( ) makes it a more rewarding experience then the pervious album, Ágætis Byrjun, to my ears. Sigur Rós music uplifts into images of vast plains and empty expanses, left to your mind to insert images and emotion.

The album greets you with an almost blank white face. The familiar shape of the two brackets are coloured with a black and grey static of some nondescript image and the music greets me in much the same way. Although a quick visit to the Sigur Rós site will tell you that the album is split into a lighter and a darker half, most of it remains extremely open to personal interpretation.

This is what I like about ( ), Sigur Rós greets you with no title, no track names and no clearly decipherable lyrics, which are written in Hopelandic - a language only translatable by its emotion - and to me the pleasure is discerning your own thoughts into all this.

After the initial explosion of apocalyptic ambience, Samskeyti (Untitled 3) presents itself as an evolving piano that climaxes into your head with a flood of sound. The gentle building, emotion and imagery is really a unique treat for your ears. Njósnavélin (Untitled 4), translated as "the spy machine", is another beautiful piece. Again, another climatic experience, and - as with the majority of Sigur Rós songs - extremely unobtrusive in its delivery. I wouldn't be surprised if many called it their "fall asleep" album.

Immediately afterwards the 30 seconds of silence ends the lighter half of the album and precedes its darker companion. Álafoss (Untitled 5) slows the tone down and expands on the atmospheric, spatial and emotional emptiness that lurks within Sigur Rós' music. The power of its sound can only grow on you.

There is no easy way to put it, they aren't immediately an accessible sound, ( ) is darker then Ágætis Byrjun. Sigur Rós puts considerable energy into generating original compositions that I feel draws their power from emotion generated through the music and vocals, rather then the music itself. This could spell danger for impatient or shallow listeners, it takes more then a few listens to really get into ( ) otherwise it may merely come off as a novel idea that's been extended into an album.

Featuring interesting uses of instruments, such as E-Bow (Untitled 6), where Georg Hólm uses an e-bow on his bass, or just a flood of sound so expressive in its almost chaotic build that you almost hold your breathe waiting for it to end, such as Popplagið [The Pop Song] (Untitled 8)...

I liked what Jón þór Birgisson - whose piercing and almost sighing vocals continue to overlap throughout ( ) - had to say about the album. "The booklet in ( ) is empty so people can write down or draw their interpretations of it. It's a kind of "human experience". Everyone has their own opinions and when people buy the album it's kind of unfinished so people have to finish it themselves. It's not the singer telling stories, it's sort of a soundtrack for each person's life. So they can write lyrics for their own lives."

( ) has the potential to become one of the best, emotionally gripping and rewarding sounds you will hear and in my opinion - because I've been enjoying it for a considerable amount of time - it already is.

Report this review (#37112)
Posted Tuesday, June 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars There are so many records fyling around in music stores, and certainlly, prog records are the one that has little space to be seen as good as pop or mainsteam rock records. So finding this kind of records that are foreign, weird and somehow "strange" is quite a challange...

Anyway, understanding the new way we look at music, people must open their ears to new grooves, experssions and ideas, like this one... the third record from this great band, heirs to the glories of the sugarcubes, tortoise, the higher intelligence agency and so many other great post-rock bands.

However, the main impression of the compositions of Sigur Rós are "progressive" in its own terms, long passages with a lot of meaning, strong lines of textures mixed with ideas and colors, to bring a very sad but hopeful group of songs. "()" is a complete journey, a slow motion idea of greater things, 8 songs with complete autonomy but linked to each other, ambient things flowing into the mind, instruments used as textures, like a walk into the dark woods or a walk into the white snow (actually, this kind of feeling can be found in records of bands from Sweden, Finland, Norway and even Scotland).

The main concept is magnificent from graphic design to the performance, the original idea is that the record has 8 "untitled" songs, despite the fact that this website has named the songs, however, the main idea of naming these ones came when #4 or "the nothing song" appeared in the movie "vanilla sky" (a live version, so...), try not to expect mid tempo songs, this is a very slow record, that needs to be heard with patience and love. Enjoy, peace

Report this review (#41789)
Posted Friday, August 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Quite simply, this album is a beauty. These days, the fact that Sigur Ros are Icelandic seems to overshadow the music itself. However geography books aside, there is definitely something palpably distinct about the music that's been coming out of that country (eg. of course Bjork, Emiliana Torrini and Mum). Indeed, an "Iceland sound" exists which is in full bloom with this Sigur Ros album. It may draw parallels to that which has come forth from Montreal (Godspeed You Black Emperor, Fly Pan Am, Do Make Say Think, et al) in recent years. Perhaps it's that they originate from countries that offer some degree of support for the art community? Hmmm. That said, there's a strong sense of focus and patience in their songcraft. Each song unfolds slowly releasing ethereal wisps of notes - both vocal and instrumental - to the air. Clearly SR are fully attentive to detail with a firm grasp of scale - the grand and the minute. Much like groups such as GYBE and Radiohead (they've toured with both, and actually some of their vocals bear a striking resemblance to Mr. Yorke's wavering, mournful wail), Sigur Ros are crafting meticulous, immensely moving compositions whether it be an epicly soaring soundscape or a fragile ghost of a ballad. Although just as the other two groups do, SR does have a tendency to occasionally go a little overboard in the overwrought / melodrama department, overall the result is an album of grace and beauty.
Report this review (#44799)
Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Writing a correct review of a post rock album is maybe the trickiest and hardest thing to do on the Archives. This is mostly due to the lack of explanation coming from some bands regarding their music. But clearly one of the most mysterious groups is Iceland's Sigur Ros and their obscure but sometimes-exhilarating ambiances come as adventurous as their compatriot Bjork can manage to be. This gives you an idea on how abstract Sigur Ros can get? How can one review an album when the number of tracks are not listed or even named (at least not on the record but apparently they did give names to them on their website)? How many musicians? That very album having no name but also being a neat object with the booklet being entirely in plastic and it is sung in a strange invented language (not Kobaian). Not that easy but listening to the album is also not easy, either. Not that the music is difficult, but it will require the average listener a good dose of patience (as it is usually the case with post rock groups) because of the very slow evolution of most of the tracks to climax that sometimes do not happen.

Musically Sigur Ros, although a full-fledged post rock group, they are rather different sounding than the usual GYBE! or EITS. In that regard, as far as originality is concerned, they are rather a pleasant surprise even if their music is not experimental in the way Tortoise or some Tarentel albums can be. There is something really amazing with Nordic groups - even if Iceland is not Scandinavia - one can consider that the groups coming from that country all have that typical Scandinavian melancholic feel that one hears and feels with Anekdoten, Anglagard, Landberk etc. To say that the music is sad and depressing is maybe exaggerating a tad, but it is reflective and allows for much room for personal interpretations from the listener. Another thing that sets Sigur Ros apart from many groups is that they use vintage and analogue KB and instruments but they manage not to sound like retro-prog like many other Nordic groups. The album seems to be divided into two parts with the first definitely more positive-minded than the latter half which is more brooding and even a bit menacing, while remaining calm. The vocals can, at times, be trying on your tolerance level, as the high-pitched yells can get irksome if not in the right mood.

Overall Sigur Ros is one of the more enigmatic groups listed in our beloved ProgArchives, but also one of those really worthy of your interest if you enjoy highly atmospheric music bordering on the lunatic spirit of most Icelandic artists. "Uncanny masterpiece" would've said Mr. Citystart

Report this review (#60362)
Posted Thursday, December 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The most amazing work of art ever created by a music band. This is how your voice should sound like an instrument and your guitars should support it. Slow bass-lines and careful drums create a floating feeling. Even though the album is clearly influenced by bands like Mogwai and My Bloody Valentine, there is enough creativity and originality to make listening to this record the ultiate experience in music....
Report this review (#63549)
Posted Saturday, January 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
Carl floyd fan
4 stars This is gorgeous music. Like most post rock albums you need a lot of 1. Time and 2. Patience. But in the end, it is a very rewarding cd as long as you keep an open mind. the vocals are a mix of Icelandic and an invented language. However, this new language is much more appealing than Magmas of the 70s. The vocals are beautiful in this case and don't go overboard. This is a largely instrumental affair. I have one gripe: I feel that GYBE got a nice ratio of buildup to climax. But Sigur ros lingers in the buildup a little to long and doesn't expand on the climaxs quite as long, sadly, because what there is of the climax is stunning. Pick this album up!
Report this review (#64603)
Posted Friday, January 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars When I first got this album, I was truly excited. I'm a big post/experiemental fan, (favorite bands include the post rock essentials Mogwai, Exp. in the Sky, and Godspeed You...) and I have to admit I was disappointed. I didn't realize I was disappointed until about 5 tracks into this album. Suddenly, as I was nodding off into a boredom induced sleep, I understood that every song on this album was the EXACT same, and that one song they kept playing wasn't all that good. I kept waiting for something, anything to happen. Nope.

I'm actually kind of sad I didn't like this album. My friends really love it. I simply can't find the strength to listen to this album again. Maybe a couple of tracks in a row, but never the full lp. I guess this album could potentially be used as background music, with a constant high-pitched ambience waving in the background of each song and an even higher pitched voice in the foreground, and sometimes (when those Icelanders are feeling a little crazy), drums. But honestly, unless you want to take a nap, I wouldn't suggest this album. It's too long, too boring, and too uniform.

Report this review (#70148)
Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A very curious album by a very curious band. Sigur Ros has made another excelent album with ( ) and very different from their previous efforts.

( ) can sometimes can be described as haunting, dark, melacholic, slow but most of all beautiful in every way. As other people have commented in previous reviews, the album is divided into two halves. The first one is very sad and kind of atmospheric but it still has melody concidering how it is described. The other half is more instrument based compared to the first one and a tad more uplifting than the first half but its still very melancholic and little trases of anger in their playing .

This is also Sigur Ros's (?) slowest work to date so It might not be recommended to everyone unless they are well familiarised with the post-rock genre or if they have a very high dose of concentration and patience because the album could strike them as boring, but if you enjoy slow music then this could easily be a highly enjoyable album.

IMO this is not a masterpiece but its one step they will take and learn to form their true masterpiece.

Report this review (#70169)
Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This here is quite an album, the best I've heard from any postrockers, although lift yr. Skinny Fists comes close. Anyway, this is very beautiful, majestic music, and the unintelligible vocals are dreamlike and wonderful. In fact, I'm glad he's not singing in English, because he could potentially have an EMO-esque voice.

Anyway, people always say that this has a light half and a dark half, but the only strictly "light" songs are numbers 3 and 4, and the only strictly "dark" songs are numbers 5 and 7. The others are all a mixture of light and dark, and each song is fantastic.

Number One is a slightly sad, but hopeful, piano driven song, but like all the songs on here, it is very slow. The vocals are dreamy here, but this song is mostly the same thing over and over for 7 minutes. Still great though.

Number 2 is slightly darker, but it has some beautiful lighter moments. Second worst on here, just because it isn't that memorable.

Number 3 is a strictly instrumental piano driven song, very nice and slow, dreamy stuff. Again, its pretty much the same thing over and over, but very nice stuff.

Number 4 is the best on here by a short margin, the main melody is very great and uplifting, and the organ breakdown is superb, as well as the piano breakdown which segues into the awesome outro. All in all a fantastic song.

Number 5 is the worst on here probably, the least memorable, and the darkest. With that said, it is still very good. Lots of slow, stately, melancholic hammond organ here, pretty good all around, just not as strong as the rest.

Number 6 is similar to number 4, it is very beautiful and uplifting. I love this one.

Number 7 is a dark one, but better than number 5. It features a couple of buildups into angry heavier spots, but they aren't exactly "heavy," but very angry and propulsive. This is all in all very good.

Number 8 is second best to Number 4 on here. The verse melody is dark, but the chorus is very nice. The ending, which some say is the best display of raw anger ever, is truly awesome. It is a good represntation of what to expect with this album, listen to it on this site.

All in all, this is a terrific and evocative album, I like to listen to it while I sleep: it makes me dream of high snowy mountains, and caves, and vast white plains. I love this album, and the strange singing makes it all the more wonderful. A masterpiece.

Report this review (#70244)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars A melancholic slab of misty ambience. This is wonderful music for the evening, autumn and winter that is.I bought this album after seeing Sigur Ros in concert and then following up with the live streaming concert on Tracks 4 and 8 seemed to be the same track at first listen. 4 being a slow sometimes sorrowful sometimes joyous but overall uplifting piece, 8 being similar in the first half of the song but then accelerating into a crashing driving pulsating denouement. Track 8 live was breathtaking, much like the effect one gets upon hearing Awaken or And You and I, even here on the studio version it can be awesome especially on the headphones. It is true that there is a familiar feel to all the tracks from one onwards but the feel is one that this listener found strangely bittersweet, the music telling a sorrowful yet beautiful and sometimes joyous tale. Sigur Ros are a seriously talented outfit, i take my hat off to them as i never thought that i would gain so much from a modern prog band. The world has been saved
Report this review (#76203)
Posted Tuesday, April 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Beautiful Nothing

Ah, but what beautiful nothing it is. This is my first excursion into post-rock, and it may have been the wrong album. I get the feeling when listening to it that I needed some patience gained from another album to listen to this and fully appreciate it, but perhaps not. In my mind, the crescendos are not ear-shatteringly good enough to justify the 5 minute wait. Not that I mind waiting for the really good part, but I often feel that the build-up is not as interesting as it could and should be. Which is not to say that any part of this album is bad.

It probably would have been better if the build-ups didn't take quite as long. However, since they do, it's best to listen to this in halves, as it's hard for me to imagine sitting through this entire album in one sitting.

The lyrics are, as you know, in Hopelandic, a made up language. Which is fine with me, because they obviously want the voice to be instrument. When I heard that I said Great, now I can ignore the lyrics and concentrate on voice as an instrument like some people on the forum told me to try and do with Jon Anderson. Unfortunately, I was wrong. It ends up that the singer says "You sigh" with some sort of variation at the end about a million times. I have no idea what that means in Hopelandic, but considering that he's just making this up as he goes along and that nobody really knows what he's saying, he could bother to get different syllables in there. By the end, I start to get angry and it grates on my nerves.

The packaging is minimal. Which was the effect intended; just a warning to those who really like detailed packaging. Although with lyrics in a made up language, it's hardly fair to expect or even desire a lyrics sheet.

The songs are so similar that there's really no point in going down the list. THe themes are different, but most of them have a very similar theme and structure. Most of the songs segue together, and if they do not it ends with singer saying "You sigh" in a tortured voice except on the last song. In the end, I really can't find very much that's exceptional about this album.

Report this review (#82340)
Posted Saturday, July 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars "() "is a peaceful ambient album with a lamenting fell across the whole album. "()" is slow moving and quite mellow but it succeeds in producing wonderful atmospheres which remain constant throughout the album. On the other hand there are only couple of good moments and the album can get too mellow and lifeless sometimes. Good for background music for when doing homework or something the wait for some of these songs to start are just too long. The idea of having all the tracks and album untitled is a very interesting one; I think the empty CD booklet is a good touch as well.

1. Untitled Track 1 (4/5) 2. Untitled Track 2 (3/5) 3. Untitled Track 3 (3/5) 4. Untitled Track 4 (3/5) 5. Untitled Track 5 (4/5) 6. Untitled Track 6 (3/5) 7. Untitled Track 7 (3/5) 8. Untitled Track 8 (4/5) Total = 27 divided by 8 (number of songs) = 3.375 3 stars Good, but non-essential

"()" probably isn't the best place to start with Sigur Ros, I'd recommend getting "Ágætis Byrjun" and "Takk." before this album, they are easier to get into. "()" is a good album but there just isn't enough substantial material to make it worth 4 stars in my opinion.

Report this review (#84422)
Posted Friday, July 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Let me say outright that this album is far from Sigur Ros' finest. To me this album seems a bit uninspired, given the fabulous 'Agaetis Byrjun' (a 5 star album to say the least), and their quirkier album 'Von'. This album qualifies more in the 'Ambient' music category rather than Experimental/Post-rock. There seems to be very little experimenting going on musically. To me, the songs seem to run together and not differ much from beginning to end (which is saying a great deal, i think, coming from a so-called 'Post-rock Specialist'). This is in contrast to the strong melodies and variant dynamics of the AB and Takk... albums.

The one major progressive point on this record (which has been pointed out before) is that the lyrics are in a made up language, with the intention of the listener coming up with his/her own interpretation of the song. This is a great idea on paper. But being the ignorant American I am, I don't know a word of what they're saying when they're actually singing in real Icelandic, so I end up doing the same thing. However, this fact truly speaks to Sigur Ros' abilities as composers, and the singer's emotive capabilities. When I listen to them I haven't a clue what they're saying, but I know EXACTLY what they're feeling.

In the end, this is not the Sigur Ros album to start out with. Get their masterpiece Agaetis Byrjun' or the more accessible 'Takk...'. This album is not bad by any stretch, but this band is capable of so much more.

Report this review (#84767)
Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album will always have a special place for me, as it was what got me into "post-rock" more or less. This is one of the most depressing albums I have ever heard. The vocals always seem as if he is "crying out for help" and that something awful has just happened, which is especially noticeable on tracks 1-4.

The gloom is mostly gone when we reach the halfway point on the album, and the rest of the tracks build toward the "journey track" of Untitled 8. This is my favorite track on the album, with a broad range of ideas and the real feeling you get of having been somewhere and gone to somewhere else. It really "takes you away and let you fly". No, I didn't listen to this stoned or anything, this is the general feeling you get.

A very pretentious concept for this album, but the band succeeds and creates an excellent album for listening to on those rainy days.

Report this review (#85593)
Posted Thursday, August 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars OK, let me see if I can get this straight...

() consists of one song... Really... Divided into two parts... With each part divided into quarters. How do I know this (I hear u ask????)

Hopelandic does not appear to have a lot of words in its language, with the same 'words' being repeated in each track. Also, this album appears to be not so much a concept, but a single moment with the varying emotions that consisted with it - the sorrowful/greiving emotions in part 1, and the underlying anger that bubbles its way to the surface so as to explode (and boy, does it explode) in part 2.

The musicianship is astonishing, ensuring that you 'get' what they are saying before going to the next musical sentence, taking its time to carry you to a planned plateau before the next shift takes over and takes you further in their mindset. If i speak metaphorically, then that is my intention, as this album concentrates almost entirely on Sigur Ros's ability to create the appropriate mood... the music itself seems to be what was found on the way.

However, one aspect of this album prevents it from being 5 stars for me. The first half is a continual journey and brings the 'sensation' of a constant flow and of reaching a completion. I felt satisfied with that, and, with tears in my eyes, saw it as a classic. The second half, however, is different. Each 'track' starts at a particular point to go in one direction, and when it is over, the band seems to think it has gone to the wrong place and starts again from the original point. They do this 4 times. It removed any aspect of continuity with the album. Not a problem really - just that this half should be heard as individual tracks. However, It makes it difficult to see this album as a whole.

The windswept cover, and the lack of song or album titles adds further to the emotiveness of the album... 4.5 stars for an amazing 'snapshot in time'.

Report this review (#87505)
Posted Thursday, August 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars 2.8 Stars

() is a good ambiental and melancholic album from Sigur Ros. However, there is not a lot of experimentation here as it's basically Agaetis with a more bittersweet tone, more stretched songs, less complex songs, the made-up language taking over, and a subdued use of the orchestra. Also, the booklet is quite empty.

The First 4 tracks is the strongest half as the songs stand on their own as opposed to the last 4 tracks which sound similar to each other and could lose my interest quickly. Track 1 is probably the most successful track with a memorable theme introduced on a piano that is developed nicely over six minutes under a mournful tone. Track 2 is a bit darker but it also can sound hopeful as well. It is very repetitive as it contains the same rhythm throughout the whole 7 1/2 minutes but it's good background music. Track 3 uses a piano theme and develops it, just like in the first song, though the style is getting a bit old. Track 4 is one of the strongest tracks here as the melodies are excellent, and it has the soaring reverb guitar they are known for. The song ends with organs.

The second half sounds different, sadder, and unfortunately dull. For example, Track 5 is probably the weakest as it sounds like it crawls with noise and droning for 10 minutes. Luckily, there's a good climax at the end, but it doesn't redeem the boredom preceding it. Track 6 is better. IT uses a simple, yet effective drum line and slowly grows into a memorable climax with the guitar (or bass guitar) on reverb. Track 7 is similar to track 6, but longer and probably less effective as the song is too long. The climax is extremely powerful here. Track 8 is another good ambiental piece that takes too long to reach its climax and I think it is overrated as the climax isn't much better than the average () climax.

This album is good when you are not paying attention to the music. If you want to pay attention to it, it might bore you to sleep.

Good, but not essential. Get Agaetis or Takk instead.

Highlights: Tracks 1 and 4

Letdowns: Track 5

My Grade : C-

Report this review (#88135)
Posted Thursday, August 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Sigur Ros' third full-legth titel is perhaps their most pretentious release ithe Icelandic bands discography. To label the album untitled, have a stencil of parentheses outlining dreary riverbank underscores the minimilist approach many post rock outfits pursure during their careers, and often times, fail to achieve. This one of the more melancholy releases in the post rock genre. This album and Mogwai's Happy Songs for Happy Peple being the most depsondent post rock album I have ever heard, I felt this would convey a similar, despondent sentiment more beautifully, considering Sigur Ros seems to be the backstreet boys of the current post rock movement. I would do a track by tarck overview of this albums however, the tarcks titles are untitled as well (if you go their website you can get them though).

After listeing to this reocrd a few times, the opening track is simply brilliant, and naturally sets you up for a long, drawn-out, increasingly uneventful that ends 70 minutes later. This track has beautiful, ethereal pian that engenders bleak despair and overwhelming sadness. Its beautiful.

The other tracks on this album incorporate soft drumming and the use of Sigur Ros contrived language Hopelandic, which I guess works well, but it is nothing fascianting.

Track Four, seems to demonstate more othe despereato eident on the first tarck of the albumm, and does a decent job at at emulating the musical beauty of the opening track.

Track Five is more the same but of a lesser caliber.

From Track till the end, the album becomes increasingly pretenstious as well uneventful. some of the songs overdue their time an could easily be shortened for the better of the overall song.

Overall, if you are depressed and into post rock, check out Happy Songs for Happy People first, and then, I guess, get this album you are still deprrsssed. If you have Ágætis Byrjun and Takk, you should pick this up to fill a few hole in Sigur Ros collection. After listeing to this album, I am reluctant to buy Takk, even though people have liked it more than this album.

Not a Great album, but it has its moments.

Report this review (#88607)
Posted Thursday, August 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first week of October may well be the perfect time of year for listening to Sigur Rós, and in particular to their anonymous 2002 album, identified by title only with a pair of parentheses. This is music for marking the Vernal Equinox, when the long evening light of Summer gives way to the low overcast skies of early Autumn.

Pardon the dime-store poetry, but the sound of this Icelandic quartet can sometimes have that effect on a sensitive listener. And with an untitled album of eight untitled songs the spell is even more hypnotic, engaging the imagination at a level not possible in a more explicit musical arrangement (obviously, the language barrier is an added bonus here).

At its best, and I have yet to hear anything by them that qualifies for anything less, the music of Sigur Rós combines an almost liturgical sense of serenity with moments of joyful pagan release. A few of the songs here still rise to that familiar cinematic crescendo (notably tracks 5 through 7), but for the most part there's less emphasis on the high- decibel guitar and string drones of other Sigur Rós recordings.

The pace is slower, the soundstage even less cluttered than usual, and the writing is more open and organic, sounding almost acoustic despite the heavy emphasis on Eno-inspired ambient electronics. Like the wide arctic skies above their native Iceland, it's an album of stark, introspective beauty, best experienced between a pair of good headphones, without any distraction.

Report this review (#92944)
Posted Sunday, October 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars To the age old question: "If you could have one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?" I say (). In my opinion, it is perfection. Many people argue that other Sigur ros releases are much better, and that for this one they need to be in the right mood. But for me, this album puts me in that mood. From the opening chords you feel the ethereal sounds flowing through your body. The beauty of the whole mix of sounds is almost frightening. Then comes his voice, so tender and soft, yet so powerful. It sends shivers down my spine every time. The next 3 tracks are the first 'side' of the album. Full of beautiful melodies and great soundscapes. [Untitled Track 3] is one of the most gorgeous melodies I've ever heard. It builds and builds and builds, till finially it reaches its climax and falls back down ever so gracefully. The fourth track has power and grace.

Seperated by 35 seconds of negative track, the second 'side' comes in. This side is much darker and moody, but still just as beautiful. It creeps in has has a great flow. Even though I can't understand a damn word he's saying, You can feel the emotion pouring through. There's no stopping the greatness of these songs. The album closes with a powerfull bang, but it still stays in suit with the ethereal mood of the album.

Pure greatness, that's what this music is!

Now that's just the music. The cd packaging is one of the most unique I've seen, and also the most fitting. The album is full of minimalism in the music, and this idea is definitely replicated by the art work and packaging. Slipped on is a white covering with nothing but the () cut out of it and the simple signiture of Sigur Ros. You slide that off and get to the actuall cd holder. A beautiful splatter of whites and grays and blacks are on the front of it. You open it up to a plain white cd and the booklet, filled with 6 pages of these splatter arts. No words, no track titles, nothing. Even when you put the cd into your computer, the songs come up as [Untitiled Track] for every single one. The names haev only been known through press releases and other things like that.

In whole, this album is pure genius. The pinnical of post-rock, and just plain beautiful.

Report this review (#97081)
Posted Saturday, November 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Of the Sigur Rós triad of really good albums, I'll admit this is the one with the most down points. However, as a whole, I think lacking and unfulfilling moments are made up for by very emotional waves, which are present in their other albums, but not to the extent of, for example, the climax of Popplagio. This album has a much different purpose than its predecessor and follower as well: its more ambient nature is meant to make someone listen to the entire album rather than a song or two. There are no songs on this album that really stand out as legitimate singles; they are meant to be woven together. And while this concept stands for Takk... and Ágætis byrjun as well, there are songs on the aforementioned that don't really require the support of other songs to put them into context.

The main thing that separates this album apart from other Sigur Rós albums is the amount of mood swinging that so smoothly take place across the album. ( ) starts in a relatively calm state, and by the end is in straight rage! Anything that can accomplish this kind of feat, and essentially without words (Vonlandic is made up) gets 5 stars from me.

Report this review (#103710)
Posted Tuesday, December 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
The T
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars I waited a long time before writing a review for this album by Sigur Ros. The reason for my waiting was to give the record a chance to catch on with me, to get to me, to grow on me. After the first listen I was so dissapointed I had the impulse to sit down and bash the album with all the words I could come up with; but that was not the right thing to do: the right thing to do was to listen to the work at least three or four times before making a judgement in regard to its quality. So that I did. And, surprise of surprises, the result is...

... the same.

This is the cd I like the LEAST in my whole collection (and a somewhat big collection at that, so it means something for me for an album to be the LEAST LIKED). I do not dare to say it's the WORST cd in my collection because I have some albums where the performance levels are worse or in which the recording or the songs are really low- grade. But even in those cd's I find some elements missing from this release: variation, control, hope...


Yes, light. This album by Icelander Sigur Ros is the darkest collection of songs I've ever heard, and I don't mean that in a "darkness-hellish-black" kind of way; I mean it in a "enlightening my life" kind of way: this cd doesn't add anything to my experience on loife, to my musical journey, to me as a person. Because whoever wrote this music decided just to express his or their own inner depression and dispair for life and tried to reproduce it for the listeners in the most concise, boring, uninspired possible way. The result? A single-color album, just as the "booklet" is so bland and uncreative (I don't know who thought it was "pure genius" to devoid the cd of any graphic design or at least any's just over-pretentiousness and self-indulgence), the music is SINGLE-COLORED: white as ice, if you want, black as the NOTHING, if you prefer, but just ONE COLOR, no shades, no tonalities, no desire to ENLIGHTEN someone's life.

The songs in this album follow the same incredibly simple pattern or formula: each and every one start with a single idea played with the utmost delicacy, as if the performers were afraid to break some strings or drumheads or keys, in the lowest possible volume (pianissimo); then, a crescendo, the same idea gets repeated plays but with slowly increasing intensity; then.... more of the same; but, at last, finally, we get..... more of the same. I'm not exaggerating: the same slow, tedious, lamenting ideas are repeated till death with just a few adjustments in intensity; finally, a kind of climax when some instruments as the cymbals make their debut takes place, lasts for about 20 seconds, and dies out, slowly fading into oblivion and into... the next song which is very similar!

Someone may say this album is full of melody. I say: WHERE?!? Oh, excuse me, at the start of every song... but, that same melody is the ONLY one in each song! Where's some melodic development? Where's the playing around with a musical theme? Nothing of that to be found, only repetition.

The level of playing is hard to judge. Hard to judge because I don't know if I should rate it high because of the accuracy in playing pianissimo all the time or very low because of the utter lack of variation in the playing. And after some thought put into this, I'm going for the second choice. There's hardly any merit in playing a slow, repetitive melody over and over again.

One of the two things that bothers me the most is the "singing": this isn't done ina aconventional language like english, spanish, swedish, etc. It's just vocalizations performed by the singer in no particular language that are supposed to "fit the music". I would say they DESTROY THE LITTLE MUSIC THAT WAS THERE TO DESTROY. The "vocals" in () are the MOST ANNOYING EVER, period. NOTHING compares to the annoying-level of these "vocals": imagine being subjected to a high-pitched, spoiled- brat-like cry for something like 70 minutes! Medieval torture, isn't it? Well, add boring music to that and you get the recipe for the best possible torture device this side of the Iron Maiden (not the band, but the torture device).

The other element in this albums that gets to my nerves is, well, the mood of the music itself. This album is the most depressing, no-hope-left, suicide-apology, despair-for- creation, apathy-and-self-destruction inducing music this side of, well, some other post- rock band I reviewed a while ago. What's the point of this? Should we accept the depressive incoherent ramblings of a self-indulgent character that wants us to feel as crappy and worthless as he feels? I can accept some depressing music when it's in the right context, when it's not THE ONLY KIND OF MUSIC IN A 70 MINUTE ALBUM, and specially, WHEN ALL THE MUSIC DOESN'T SOUND THE SAME.

So, these are my thoughts on this "post-rock" atrocity. Pure genius? Maybe. Maybe I'm wrong and this un-developed, poor-thematic-variety music is the way of the future...

... I'm so glad that future is not for me. Who wants a future with music that gives no hope for one?

Recommended for: post-rock ultra fans, Sigur Ros fans, people who want to feel sad and low about their expectations in life.

Not recommended for: Fans of intelligent, diverse, challenging music; fans of variation in music; but mostly, not recommended for people taking anti-depressants... may drink the whole bottle after this.

Report this review (#107061)
Posted Wednesday, January 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is a most interesting album from the master of the post rock genre, Sigur Ros. It was, in fact, the first post-rock album I purchased and it was far from what I expected. I was really surprised by how dark yet beautiful this album seems. Far from uplifting but artistically more than just satisfying, ( ) will always be the curious staple of the post- rock genre. This band embraces minimalism and excitement in such a way that can not be duplicated, but this album is not the best example of their work. I'll admit, the album isn't all doom and gloom, but it is all very pleasant atmosphere creating music that for some reason, helps me focus and relax.

It seems that every instrument has a place on the album, not one note does not contribute to the overall effect produced by the song. Guitar and piano add to the lush sounds but can at points, turn extremely dark. The vocals are completely used as an instrument. The fact that there are no vocals ensures that the listener does not focus on the lyrics alone, he or she must focus on the piece as a whole to achieve its full purpose. This is not music to entertain with, it is music to be taken in a different light. It's evident that the band was not trying to become accessible, so this may be a very difficult album to grasp. The work as a whole is amazingly beautiful, but many can see it as an ambient regression after Aegetis Byrjun. I don't feel this way, it is a moving piece showing darkness and light through music.

The instrumentation and overall sound quality are very good. It certainly gives that transcending atmosphere and though inaccessible, many prog fans can see how well strings, piano, guitar, voice, and drums. The album artwork is an exceptionally beautiful accompanyment to the music. It's devoid of writing, but depicts wonderful landscapes that are as pleasing to the eyes as this album is to the ears.

As far as specific tracks go, it's hard to give specifics for two reasons. The first is that none of the tracks are named. The second is that the album flows so well, it's hard to pick specifics out. However, the most striking example on this album is the final track, referred to on the site as "Popplagio" I do consider this one song to be the quintessential post-rock song, only contested by Godspeed You! Black Emperor's "East Hastings." It has all of the dynamics that a fan of the genre desires, the buildup, the mood, the integration of instruments, and primarily, the beauty. The fourth song, "Njósnavélin" is a highlight for other reasons. It does possess all of the perfect instrumentation and phemoninal atmosphere that make Sigur Ros the great band that they are.

I sincerly do enjoy the album. I only gave it three stars because I feel that it is not developed well enough and that it is not really essential like Aegetis Byrjun and to a lesser entent, Takk... There's a lot of beauty to be found on this disc, but there's a lot of depression to sift through to find it. But once you do, the rewards are endless.

Report this review (#107511)
Posted Monday, January 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Difficult follow-up time here. With their time-stretched minimalist rock symphonies, they are still inhabiting the same sound world as Ágætis Byrjun. Or outer cosmic dimension, or whatever hyperbole reviewers of Sigur Rós are supposed to use. Though they still manage to build up a considerable amount of power in their control of dynamics and space, it will never have the same impact as its predecessor. Maybe I'm being revisionist in my opinion of this album. If the material here had been released in the place of Ágætis Byrjun, it would probably have seemed more incredibly original.

Even out of the historical context, there seems to be much less emotional variety here than on Ágætis Byrjun. The energy of this album isn't enhanced by Jonsi Birgisson using the same lyrics, or set of syllables, throughout, giving a lugubrious and static effect that's often depressing. While Sigur Ros are fantastic at using controlled instrumental repetition to build up tension, the constant refrain of "You sigh all on the fire" (or some such) just conveys futility. Not that there's anything wrong with depression and gloominess in music, this is just a health warning.

The album's eight tracks do actually have titles, from their previous live incarnations. They just were omitted from the sleeve, along with any credits or words, in a display of stubborn coolness. But they can't stop me pronouncing the album's title "brackets". The two sides, separated by twenty seconds' silence, convey light and dark to me. The first half is shorter and easier to digest, starting with the stately piano chords of "Vaka" followed by the deliberately shy guitar chimes of "Fyrsta". The emotional peak comes with the instrumental third piece, where a repeated piano figure is urged with some lush organ-like harmonies to a stately climax. It's by no means a new sound (think Brian Eno's "Another Green World" album) but they do it better than anyone these days. The chilled "Njosnavellinn" comes across as positively cheerful among the dirges.

A grey-brown fuzz of bowed guitar and grinding organ swathes the darker second side, extending to an epic 43 minutes of spacious melancholy. The abstract sound painting, and Jonsi's unconstrained vocal lines are as beautiful and physically exhilarating as ever. But the timing of the buildups to the big climaxes does get predictable after a while. Everything seems to follow the pattern of two or three repeats, then a big fattening up. But by the monumental drum crescendo of the final "Pop Song" I can just love them for what they are, and let myself be washed along with the sound.

Report this review (#108250)
Posted Sunday, January 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars A very strange album indeed. First of all it is not written in English, in fact, it is not written in any real language at all. The album is written in Vonlenska, more commonly known as Hopelandic, a language of meaningless syllables loosely based off Icelandic.

The whole album, from the use of a pseudo-language to the whited album cover of a landscape outside of the studio is was made in, are meant to be interpreted differently by everyone who listens to it. In fact, the CD comes with a 12-page booklet comprised entirely of blank pages, on which listeners are encouraged to fill with drawings of their own interpretations of the songs. Even the tracks are anonymous, named from "Untitled 1" through "Untitled 8". The whole album is meant to change from person to person, and from listen to listen, in this way, the album can be meaningful to you. In whatever situation you are in, it can be relevant.

This idea is novel and effective, but repetitive. Though the album is split into a lighter and heavier half (separated by 38 seconds of silence), it still seems like much of the same. When you first hear the first song, you hope all the songs are as original as the first, they just seem to blend together though, and you become bored near the end. An interesting listen however, for those who desire something a little different. And there are only so many times I can hear the fake word "Usidelo"

Report this review (#108892)
Posted Thursday, January 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Last week I received my paycheck as always, so I thought why not buying a couple of albums now? The first one was Pink Floyd's Meddle, I was hesitant about the second one, but my first idea was () by Sigur Rós.after reading the reviews posted right here I thought, maybe they're right and this is not a very good album to buy, then I thought well I'll buy Mogwai or Godspeed You Black Emperor.

I went to the store and my girlfriend told me, love! Buy that Sigur Rós album you wanted, it can't be that bad, just try it and let's see what happens. I can't thank my girl enough for this, turns out this is one of the best albums I've heard by this band, at least it is their most Post-Rockish disc in their entire history. People hoped to hear a follow-up so similar to Ágætis Byrjun that were disappointed when () saw the light back then.

The bottom line is, if you don't like this album or any of the songs inside it, chances are that you don't even like Post-Rock in the first place, you might like Sigur Rós for their digestible chords and melodious vocals, but believe me when I say that Digestible does not necessarily means better and complex doesn't mean bad at all. It's just that with () Sigur Rós styled their music in a Godspeed You Black Emperor kind of way, their songs are long. really long.but they get somewhere, and when they get there it's maybe the most worthwhile minute of the whole album.

Yes their other albums are good, and I do listen to them quite often.but musically this is by far their best and most amazing album to date, thanks god I didn't pay attention to the bad reviews found in this place. Don't you hesitate when buying () it's just to great to be missed.

Report this review (#108972)
Posted Friday, January 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars It begins with a click as if a machine had been switched on, but what follows is anything but inhuman. Then the low, pleasantly droning, synth starts in and the first untitled track of Sigur Ros' ( ) begins. For their third full album Sigur Ros have taken away the orchestral flourishes of Agaetis Byrjun, and work instead with string quartet Amiina in a more minimalistic way, slowly building their songs like an intricate poem until the weight of them seems too heavy--then there is the release. The climax to most of the songs on ( ) are fully worth the time invested, especially track 8, which begins on a hopefull note until an air of darkness presents and is burned away by the pure, almost frustrated, energy at the end (Sigur Ros added a new drummer just before this release, and it shows).

Most people find this album depressing, and while I know the last four track have a sadness about them I would hardly think of it as depressing. The songs have too much purpose, so much stark beauty, to be truely depressing (for them to be depressing, in my mind, the songs would simply fizzle out and stop. None of the songs on ( ) ever actually do that; there is always some kind of resolution at the end). Like the best minimalist music, I think the songs on ( ) require a bit of audience participation. The listiner must put a bit of thought into the songs as well as passively listen. Just a fair warning.

In terms of Sigur Ros albums, I think it's their best, most coheared and consistant work. Hell, I think it's probably one of the best post rock albums that have been released so far; it goes along with Spiderland and Lift Your Skinny Fists quite nicely.

Report this review (#109291)
Posted Sunday, January 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars Sigur Ros are really a tricky bunch. Everyone seems to love this album, but the warning signs are all over the CD case before you need to even press play. It is intentionally untitled as well as all of the songs, which is good warning that there is nothing in this album. It's boring and empty. Everything is slow and repetitive, which provides for a very boring listen. It doesn't even make for good "atmospheric" music or whatever. I tried to like it, but I guess I just like music that actually goes somewhere. I mean, I'm even having a hard time describing the music. There's nothing going on, just some slow drums, some guy whining and some slow keyboards. The music is repeated over and over for 70+ minutes. Woo. Don't think about suicide or buying another Sigur Ros album while listening to "( )" because you probably will. To end on a positive note, the packaging is really nice. Props. Too bad the album sucks.

Standout songs: What you're listening to next after this album is over.

Report this review (#125757)
Posted Thursday, June 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is by far the most beautiful music ever created.

Sigur Ros doesn't create music around an idea or concept, they create it around a mood. Words cannot describe the beauty presented in the 71 minutes of this album. All of the tracks are essential to the album. I don't know how a group of people can create something as beautiful as this album. The emotional tension builds constantly throughout this untitled masterpiece until the amazing final crecendo. Listening to single tracks from this album doesn't do it justice. This is an album that needs to be heard from beginning to end uninterupted.

I can only see one possible downside to this album. It takes quite a bit of patience, and if you're looking for exciting positive music, you're definately in the wrong place.

But buy this album, give it some patience, put aside some time to just listen to it without any distractions. This is one of the few albums that I can say everyone must hear regardless of musical taste. The music is so emotionally charged. When you listen to the album you are hit with a flood of emotions. Some may say that the album is very depressing, but i don't think it is. The album presents two sides, the first is hope, the second, anger. Sigur Ros left the album blank so that you can come up with your own interpretation, but that is how i see it.

Anyone who has lost faith in modern music needs to hear this.

Everyone needs to hear this.

Report this review (#126575)
Posted Saturday, June 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The sound of coldest winter and of thawing.

This album is so slow and brooding, so seemingly monotonous and boring on the surface, so pale and anonymous. It is not music I choose very often. Sometimes when I do choose it I just can't finish it. And yet I haven't been able to part with it either. There is a part of me that understands this and yet I don't really know that part of myself, if that makes any sense whatsoever.

I have mixed feeling about this album. I find it beautiful, constraining, calming all at the same time. Many feel it is quite depressing. But are we always supposed to enjoy our music in the usual way? Are we always supposed to grab our 5-star CDs and have the "up" experience? Is the only role of our music to entertain us or please us? Or are there other uses for this stuff in our lives? These are the kinds of questions I ask myself when I ponder selling a CD like this one. I think being a prog music lover means we need to challenge ourselves occasionally by playing music that confounds us, annoys us, makes us sad, or that we just plain detest.

The cold, barren, white landscapes of Sigur Ros are not where I am or want to be most days in my life. But I do have days like that. There are days where I sink lower than I want to, when life is stark winter, and when I need music that is ambient or drone one-level mood music to share those moments with. I have Eno albums that serve that purpose as well as Voice of Eye's "Vespers" which I can't believe is not on this site. Sigur Ros pulls the curtains on the outside world and the gentle piano and odd vocals can provide a useful emotional conduit for those days when ice is what our heart feels like. With that said, I also don't feel that this album is completely depressing. Not to me, anyway. I think it has passages that are sad and desperate, but also many that are hopeful and introspective. I find some songs have these nice piano runs that really sound like winter turning to spring. One example would be from about 4:15 to 5:15 in track 3. Beautiful and yes, hopeful. There are quite a few moments like this sprinkled throughout this album and playing this repeatedly lately for this review has made me realize I like this more than I thought I did.

This is an odd review that sounds more like a therapy session and I don't know if anyone will find it helpful. But an odd review for an odd band I guess. I don't know what else to say about Sigur Ros and perhaps that's what the boys want, just for the listeners to absorb and close their eyes for an hour.

Recommended for people who like to turn off their minds occasionally and just float away, for lovers of ambience and drifting. Not for people looking to rock. Definitely not for over-the-road truck drivers trying to stay awake.

Report this review (#129218)
Posted Wednesday, July 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Sigur Ros explore beauty of sadness in this musical magic, ( ) album. But it is not bitter sadness, it is beauty and hope everywhere, this album is n o t depressing, it is certanly their heaviset one.

It is to notice that while it is not as accesible like other SR works, it still manages to be so much varied, and somehow much intense. Even sad songs here (first one is Alafoss) have rocking dimension, and remain full of sweet keyboards and great bowed guitars. This is the same piece of music reinvented for eight times and left to listeners to reinvent how they wish, how many times they want. Songs have no origin meaning, no lyrics, and anyone can understand it in their own way.

Melodies are so nice and original, and this time string quartet puts music where it is the best place; musicianship is really impressive. And drumer is so much talented, never goes over limits, every hit is on its place, he is also much varied in songs. This is an excellent piece of music, brilliant prog rock album, atmospheric and calmed, heavy and sharp, and with perfect sense of connection between these two sides.

Report this review (#129805)
Posted Sunday, July 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Sigur Rós is an Icelandic post-rock group (not experimental) whose largest and most explicit goal is to create beautiful soundscapes. Just like anything that tries too hard to be beautiful, the end result is sometimes superficial or tediously unoriginal. In Sigur Rós' case, they are normally sincere in their songwriting. ( ) is not one of their more notable releases, though deserves its praise as well. With the intriguing cover - simply a negative ( ) - and the even more intriguing booklet - 10 pages of semi-transparent art without a single word - ( ) really manages to catch the interest. Unfortunately, as soon as you hit play, half of the creativity and intrigue vanishes, and delivers another light, bright, somewhat daunting piece of post-rock - with some tiny, and yet strangely unsatisfying touches of minimal music.

Some of the melodies that dominate the album are quite touching, sometimes as far as moving, but are all somewhat similar in execution and identical in atmosphere. In contrast to other Sigur Rós releases, and most post-rock in general, ( ) has some moments of darker tunes. But for the most part, this is optimistic mush, mixed with steady and simple beats. Fortunately, the entire album is not static, and the music develops into the climax of Untitled # 8 (A.K.A. Popplagio), though songs 2 through 5 are unsubstantial, un-energetic, un-provoking blah. I wouldn't suggest this, personally, as a good starting point for either this sub genre or for the band, but if the description I have given you of the music sounds like your thing, then go for it.

Report this review (#131413)
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Post rock" is the way humans try to define infinity. "Post rock" is the musical genre that wants to reach the perfect and absolute sound. And maybe Sigur Ròs (with Godspeed..) managed to obtain a sound like that. The album cover (and title) is a metaphore: our lives are contained in two brackets: these parenthesis are the limits, and between them there's nothing. So our lives are nothing. But Sigur Ròs want to show us what are those brackets, and define our limits. This cd is simply magic, and maybe better than "Ágætis Byrjun". Sigur Ròs' music smells of air and wind, it really smells of infinity. And this is not easy to obtain. 5 stars without any doubt.
Report this review (#137732)
Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Sigur Ros is possibly the most pretentious band in existance. This is prog, we love the pretentious!! As you may or may not know ( ) is sung in a made up language, the idea being that you could decide what the song means yourself. (the disk even comes with blank linear notes for you to write your oun translations of what the songs.) Over all it is an interesting idea, or would be in any regular rock band, but post-rock rarely has singing at all and I end up listening to this in the same way.

About the music: warning this is not for evryone and is not where you should start with Post-Rock or even Sigur Ros. The music on this album owes more to new age and ambient than it does to prog. This album is also not your every day post- rock, you wont find dramatic build ups or dark textures, what you will find though is relaxing minimalist composition at its most minimal. Sigur Ros fuses minimalist composers with their music much in the same way as Yes, ELP and Genasis fused the earlyer classical composers with their sound. Obviously this is not going to be for evryone.

#1: The perfect opening to this type of album, ambient organ sounds forming a pillow over wich piano and bow guitar can lay down their ambience. As the singing comes in you can hear the melody slowly start to change and at the point where most other post-rock bands would turn up the volume they turn it down and go into a different melody with strange baby voice singing and tons of insane bowed guitar. Finally we arive back where we started with emotional piano lines closing us out.

#2: Starts with some weird fuzzy distorted samples, one of my favourite Sigur Ros trademarks. Afterwords the song goes into a melody with a lot of fuzz still hanging around the song. During this song the drums really get on my nerves as they are to "clicky" and in too high of a register for somthing so ambient. Ignoring the drums this song has some great spacey atmospheres and the most powerfull singing in the genre (not that the genre gives much compotition) The end of this song is perfect, overall this is one heck of a tearjurker.

#3: Starts a little too slow but when the piano kickes in you forgive them. One heck of a dreamy atmosphere, this song hits all the same emotions as does #2 but it goes about it in an almost opposite mannor, while #2 gave noise and drones #3 gives highly restrained melody and minimalist repitition that slowly changes and fades. While not the most engaging song it will make you feel.

#4: great drumming on this song you actually find yourself nodding your head for the first time on the album, it feels good to get a real sence of rythm into your ambience once in a while. This song is verry climactic and while being probably a more traditional post-rock song it gives us somthing new in terms of melody and ryhtm. The keys work on this song is among my favourite for a post band. The music box theme is rather fun and brings a smile to my face every time. This song makes a good break after #2 and #3 because rather than having a hopless despair it brings a sence of hope and a vague feeling of happyness. This one is among Sigur Ros's most progressive songs.

#5: A slower number that is extremly durge-ish, almost to the fault of not having enough going on. This song is bleak, its not sad its definatly not happy it is the feeling of emptyness. This song never really picks up, one of the weaker points on the album (not that its bad its just there isn't enough to it, especially following the near perfect #4) at around 2 minutes it starts to finally do somthing, by this point however its too late to save the song, especially because it sounds too post like GYBE! from Iceland and not particurally exciting, it dosn't help that the beutifull melodies that Sigur Ros is known for are absent. Hey they can't all be winners

#6: another verry good slow opening the singing sounds verry natural and relaxed here almost like a lulaby. The way that the keyboards cut out behind his voice amazes me evry time it just feels so natural. when the fuzzyness kickes in the song really gets interesting. The sound of feedback reminds you that they are a rock band and not some strange elecronic project and the anguish in the voice reminds you he is not a child, and then a new melody emerges as beautifull as any that they had ever crafted. and the tempo picks up and the insturments work together as one mass no one player stealing the forground. I really cant say enough how emotional it is to be brought through the sludge for somthing this magnifacent, a normal band would have given it to you outright but Sigur Ros made you wait for it, and like a child waiting for chrismas presants the wait made it that much better!!!

#7: The longest song on the disc, the "epic" if you feel so inclined, though unlike an epic in amlost evry way except length. The vocals on this song sound tortured and worn out the high register ditched for a moment, though dont worry it returns soon enough. This has a verry dark mood, that puts you on the edge of your seat, and then there it is, anger, dissonance, loud, but its only for a moment and your back to the quiet contemplation. The wistling in the back is as one may susspect from the falling bomb, that would no doubt soon hit again, but it dosn't instead you get a cleaner sound even that may have put you at ease if not for the dissonance. Dont worry the bomb took its time but it does get here. The emotions that are captured in the vocals work great despite the lack of words showing most strongly what Sigur Ros was trying for with this wordless consept. Following is a long strech of calm before the storm, and what a storm it is. It makes the other build ups that you felt so strongly at the time seem weak in comparison the anger and the darkness are extremmly strong, and its perfect after all Post-Rock is the music of feelings. Perfect

#8: Starts quickly with little build up, but it dosn't need one. The melody feels great and the precussion fits well. This song reminds a bit of Pink Floyd and especially of Meddle with its calm spacy atmospheres and rythmic yet ambient guitar. at 3 minutes you get a great build up, though short lived, and then you get a few more. Whats this you say "basic post rock formula" but you would be wrong, the build ups are too fast and too unexpected for that old formula and the bits in between sound like a pop-rock ballad deconstructed with synth strait from outer space not to mention a catchy chorus that I cant help but sing, though the words are made up. Following this is a dark section with tribal drumming and interesting bass work, this bit feels like it could be the soundtrack to some epic movie. Soon all we are left with is a guitar rythim and pretty singing. Of course this is really just a build up and will soon turn to loud but it makes a great build that rivals GYBE! in intensity the drumming here is perfect, and the electronic noises leave your mouth watering for more. Possibly one of Sigur Ros's best.

Overall: great disc, not quite a masterpeice but a definate must own especially because of the strange consept that must be seen and heard, with only a few weak points to bring it down therefore I give it a 4 because it is definatelly excellent but not a masterpeice

( )

Report this review (#145454)
Posted Wednesday, October 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Post Rocks version of Yes hit me hard with (). There is one word I can think of for this album: Cold. Unlike it's precessor, Takk, () is very dark and inhospitable, giving an atmosphere of a COLD feeling of being comfortable numb (ha), with moving music at an almost slow motion pase, it's easy to not be immediately turned on by this album. I was however, this was my first Sigur ros album, and I had no idea what to expect, and the second Untitled 1 came on, I was immeditely drawn into the COLD feeling it gives you. Once I got Takk, I was blown away wih how happy it was compared to this album, the comparison is so great, if didnt know any better, you'd think they were two seperate bands. So that should draw the line for ya, if your a Harmonium kind of guy, you want Takk, if your a universe zero kind of guy, you want ().

The music is prett much keyboard driven, consisting of oragans or piano's, with Jonsi's classic E-Bow guitar in the backround to complete the mood. Untitled one (vaka) is almost misleading, setting an almost positive and WARM mood, with a memorable piano riff, and little happy voices in the backround throught the song. This feeling is destroyed through out the next four songs, which are started by some weird ambient noises, then go on with super slow beats, and minimal lead action by either guitar or keys, these songs will build into a very small climax, where they thrwo in as much ambient noise as possible, then quicky decline into the end of the song. Good song structure IMO, but after four or five of these, it gets very predictable, and almost boring. Thankfully, staring at Untitled six (E-bow) the songs become more guitar oriented, more than weird backround noise and piano led. These song then build to a huge triumphant climax where the drums thrash around like crazy, and the guitar actually starts to strum, while the vocals are flying over the choas under them. The best song of these is the revered untitled eight, the darkest and most intense of the last three, and the whole album. Staring as the rest of the song typicaly do, then all helll brakes loose, after an eerie wait of just vocals, the drumming just becomes ferocious, and everyone is playing as hard as they canm while Jonsi is just wailing! GREAT SONG. One of the best post rock songs I have ever heard!

If it werent for the repetitiveness of the songs 3-5, This may have hit masterpiece level. A good album none the less, beautiful also being a good description. The awesome melodies, and sometimes moving arpegios of the guitar and piano are really what make the album, besides the intense climaxes. Going against the grind here, I'm gonna venture to say that this one is a better album than Takk, more subtlety, and less super jumpy happy moments.

EDIT FIVE STARS, I will redo the review soon!

Report this review (#152465)
Posted Friday, November 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Definetely their best album. Perfect balance between rock and modern minimalism. Jonsi's voice is at it's best, nevermind the "hopelandic", i have no idea what he is singing about, but it is beautiful nonetheless. A must have for any prog fan, and if you like Radiohead's most downer songs this is totally for you. The album artwork is also outstanding and very original. The album is divided into 2 parts, the first one being very laid back, and the latter one being more aggresive, the drums have much more presence.
Report this review (#152712)
Posted Sunday, November 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album takes quite a few listens before you get to understand what it is you're listening to. Sigur Ros have a very intense sound that often doesn't go anywhere for quite some time. They are clearly not a band in a hurry. The repeated plays are oh so worth it though. The stand out tracks are 3,4 and 8 but all work well. I see that this site is giving all the songs names but that's a recent thing. If you buy this CD you will still get a track listing of Untitled 1 to 8. All in all, a very good album from a very good band. If you're starting out with SR though, I'd suggest Takk as a better way in.
Report this review (#152792)
Posted Monday, November 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Absolutely beautiful melancholic album. Like Gorecki's 3rd symphony there is sorrowful tranquillity and a depth of sadness that cannot (somewhat paradoxiacally) do anything other than give strength and solace to the listener.

This album has a sense of grandeur that is hinted at in the more immediate Takk and the inspirational Agaetis Byrjun. Both of which are amongst my most listened to albums. i'm not sure if that will remain so, I can imagine becoming much more selective about the tracks i lsiten to in those two albums. I have never picked out a track form this album. I've always listened to the whole.

it is absolutely essential.

Report this review (#154539)
Posted Thursday, December 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
3 stars Cripplingly emotive minimalist atmosphere and sad droning make ( ) an enigmatic mix of light/dark tones which will both uplift the listener and, more likely, throw them into the darkest corners of isolation through its long, slow compositions. The vocalizations throughout, but especially in the latter half of the album sound as if the singer is crying out for help, a reprieve from the shadowy textures and ambient tone.

( ) will take several listens to understand, but even then it might be too ponderous and bleak a payoff to make it worthwhile for everyone. The few occasional breaks in the ambience-- specifically in the form of roaring cascades of sound-- might not be enough to hold one's attention for the entire spin, which may make ( ) better suited to background music. However, there are some undeniable beauties in here, like Dial:Revenge which lightens the mood halfway through, and the amazing conclusion Secret Pint, which combines both light/dark into one savage sonic assault of pain, anguish, and beauty complete with screaming guitar and heavy drumming from Dryason.

Taken as whole, ( ) is an acquired taste, but worth the effort. Interested parties should check out other Sigor Ros albums first though, which have a more approachable feel.

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

Report this review (#156869)
Posted Thursday, December 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars very beautiful album, i think a highly underrated masterpiece. Definately one of if not the best Sigur Ros albums. a must have. listen and pay attention though. although it may annoy some the icelandic chanting and monotone singing. i think its incredible and soothing.
Report this review (#161903)
Posted Saturday, February 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Brilliant album, nothing more to say. No title, no song titles, no booklet, no inscriptions on the sleeve or on the box. () is probably one of the most mysterious and evocative (and magnificent) albums of all times. Recommended at any price ! This album is perfect for any desert island.
Report this review (#163570)
Posted Sunday, March 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Sigur Ros - ( )

Even before writing, I can promise that this will be a short review, for, while the music contained here is good indeed, it is all very much the same, and therefore, it requires little in the way of description.

Sigur Ros is one of the definitive post-rock acts, some would say, and I suppose rightfully so, although their music tends to be a bit too minimalistic for my tastes (not that I don't love minimalism--I do, I just think these songs are not exactly benefited by the choice of such minimalism on this album).

This album was designed without track names or even a proper album name, as the band wanted the music to completely speak for itself, which it does; however, sometimes the music comes across as boring or derivative--the tracks begin to sund very much the same, which is not exactly a compliment for an album that spans over 70 minutes in length.

Now, the music:

The music here is all very slow, minimalistic, and highly ambient post-rock, with occasional climaxes thrown about and Icelandic vocals at teh forefront, which is, for the most part, pleasing enough. The entire album is untitled (tracks included), as mentioned before, as the band wanted listeners to come up with their own images and ideas connected to the music, rather than letting the band themselves do this. An interesting concept that works rather well with this release, which I believe to be their best, despite its flaws.

The good news is that most of the music contained here is very nice and well-performed, as well as well-produced. The bad news is that it all seems a bit redundant and over-long; yes, this seems like something that would've worked a bit better as a 4 or 5 song EP than a fleshed out album, in my opinion, and the overall album suffers on the whole because it is too lengthy and repetitive.

Recommended for fans of ambient music and of post-rock, but not many others. Worth listening to for sure, and likely more than once. Scores about a 6.5 or 7 on my scale, which is 3 stars on this one.

Report this review (#170945)
Posted Wednesday, May 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars ( ) has generated some mixed reviews, and it's understandable why. First off, it's entirely in Sigur Rós' made up language hopelandic, which is a language with no meaning; the words are merely used as syllables with which Jonsi makes a melody with. Nothing more. It's a little more sophisticated than skat, but the purpose is the same: to use the voice as strictly an instrument. Second of all, it is a slow and largely ambient album. It's not ambient in the way that is just a series of lush soundscapes, but rather ambient in the sense that the pieces are very minimalistic and very ethereal. They have structures and riffs and what not, but the atmospheres are perhaps even more important than the instrumentation that drive them. Third, it's a long album. 71 minutes of ambient, low tempo music may be a bit much for some. But, for those who are willing to take the time, Sigur Rós' oddly titled album of untitled tracks will envelop you in their sheer beauty.

( ) is divided into two sections: the first half is a more bright and hopeful set and the second half, quite a bit longer I might add, is more along the dark and brooding side of music. It's all melancholic, all emotive, and it's all absolutely gorgeous. The vocals, while they may be an acquired taste, are very nice. The hopelandic works perfectly here. They convey such great emotion that words aren't even necessary! We all knew that to be true from Ágætis Byrjun, where even those who have not the slightest clue as to what the lyrics were (as they were all in Icelandic, with the exception of one hopelandic song) we knew exactly what they were feeling. It's quite a testament to their songwriting prowess. Truly, I can not say enough about how beautiful, emotive and powerful this band and album are.

Really, I feel unjust in singling out tracks, because they are all so stunning, but it's possible that the final song on this album is Sigur Rós' finest piece to date. It follows that traditional post-rock slow start with a build to a climactic ending, but it's done quite differently than the other post-rock groups. It should be noted that while this band is often identified as a post-rock band, they are in a group all their own. The atmosphere is dark and portentious. Tension starts to build until we are paralyzed by the finale. It must be heard to be understood. I have no idea how to describe this music; it's so darn ineffable. What's the deal with all of these bands that are just too awesome to be describable. It's ridiculous! And Sigur Rós is one of the hardest to describe.

All you need to know is that ( ) is a paralyzingly beautiful masterpiece. It's worth the effort, really. I'm not kidding. Why would I need to move when I could listen to this? I wouldn't As a matter of fact, I'm dictating this review to my brother from my bed because I can't move. And truthfully, I am content.

Report this review (#173156)
Posted Friday, June 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars I think the main reason I like this album more than the higher rated "Agaetis Byrjun" is because this one is darker and more melancholic. I would describe this record as tranquil, beautiful and emotional. For me this is not depressing at all, as I find this style of music uplifting and moving. I know most people don't feel this way but I agree with Steven Wilson who finds dark and sad music beautiful and not depressing at all.

This album is the kind of music that for me works great as background music, or if I just want to think and drift away in my mind. And I like the fact that this whole album has this same mood throughout. In that sense it really works as one long suite, and the fact there are no song titles given only helps to experience it that way. This is mostly slower paced music with those wonderfully sad vocals as piano, guitars and drums mostly add support. There are a several outbreaks that are quite uplifting and effective but you could probably count those moments on one hand. My favourite tracks are 1, 4, 7 & 8. The last track ends the album in a surprisingly powerful way with the guitar tearing it up.

This along with "Takk" are important recordings in my Post-Rock collection. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#180395)
Posted Wednesday, August 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Crow
3 stars I get mixed feelings every time I hear this album... Maybe because this disc has also some mixed ideas.

I like the first half of the album very much... The most happier one, while the second half of the album is a bit boring to me. The first listenings I gave this album were really possitive, but after this four or five listening, I started to get tired of this repetitive music. At the beginning, I was pleased of this style of music, wich I had never heard before of buying ( ). I found this post-rock original, modern and exciting. But after this surprise, I was aware of the lack of depth this album has.

Maybe the tracks are too repetitive for me... Specially the second half of the album. While the first 4 tracks are pleasant background music, I find songs 5, 6 and 7 just boring. I like melancholic music, and sometimes I need to hear some sad feelings... But these songs are different. The usual Sigur Ros layers of instruments are great in the happier songs in ( ), while in the saddest and longer ones are just annoying.

Best tracks: 1, 3, 4 (the best track in my opinion...) and 8, the only sad song of the album I really like.

Conclusion: I can easily recommend this album to everyone who has never heard Sigur Ros... They are a different band. Maybe not really progressive (at least not usual progressive music), but very original, and sometimes surprising. And this is hard to say in music today... Nevertheless, this album lacks some variety in my opinion, and sometimes the tracks are too repetitive for me (they are a kind of Red House Painters, but in a post-rock form...) This fact made that I was a bit tired of this album after some listenings... Nevertheless, I enjoy to submerge myself between this layers of instruments and beautiful sounds wich Sigur Ros are.

My rating: ***1/2

Report this review (#190175)
Posted Saturday, November 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is usually bashed for being a very dark successor to the brilliant "Ágætis Byrjun", well it is in fact not as good as AB, but is beautiful anyway, it is a more ambient album (yes! even more!), that flows almost as two tracks, is has less vocals and much more minimalistic soundscapes, heaviest and dirtiest moments but also some very stunning hymnal moments.

The first half of the album, from "Untitled 1" to "Untitled 4" is sort of "light", it is richer in instruments, more fast-paced, and more cheerful. While it is not as good as the second half of the album, it is more regular, all four tracks are great. The second half is way longer than the first, and heavier, slower and darker, "Untitled 7" and "Untitled 8" are two of the greatest Sigur Rós compositions, but "Untitled 5" and "Untitled 6" though they are good, don't really reach the same level.

This one great soundtrack to calm night with headphones and doing nothing else than listening to this, well, it is post-rock.

Report this review (#201200)
Posted Saturday, January 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Even for a Sigur Rós album this is very ambient. Full of atmosphere and moods, sad and melancholic moods mostly, very sad melodies.. by the way, why would someone want to listen to sad music, I mean, sadness is a negative feeling, isn't it? What's the point of purposely feel sad and melancholic? Well, melancholic melodies just happen to sound really good. And that's what Sigur Rós does best. Create melancholic melodies. Actually someone would say they're not sad, they're just beautiful. Nevertheless it sounds wonderful.

The interesting thing about this album is that it's sung completely in a gibberish language, that is, the lyrics are not meant to mean anything, they are just meant to be there to create melodies and textures just like any other instrument. The language is called Vonlenska, a language which sounds like Icelandic but only contains words that are meaningless, but fit into the music very well. The album sleeve's pages are blank. There are eight white pages where you are supposed to write your own meanings for the songs, what the songs mean to you. Someone could say that it shows just a lack of inspiration, like: We haven't got anything to say, you come up with something. But I think it's brilliant! I mean, all of their songs are gibberish to me anyway, since I don't speak Icelandic, actually, most of the world doesn't. They can as well sing gibberish, then I don't have to feel ignorant when I don't know what they are singing about, and I can freely figure out what the songs mean to me, and nobody else.

The music is what matters here. And it's spectacular. It's mostly undynamic and mellow, but not always. There are smaller and bigger climaxes every now and then. The biggest one is at the end of the album; it's gigantic and dramatic, almost beats GY!BE's climaxes. This album is an excellent piece of work, highly recommended. Maybe even the best work of Sigur Ros.

Report this review (#206732)
Posted Thursday, March 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "()" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Icelandic post rock act Sigur Rós. The album was released through FatCat/Bad Taste in October 2002. It´s the successor to the band´s successful second full-length studio album "Ágætis byrjun (1999)" (which has sold more than 500.000 copies) and features one lineup change as drummer Ágúst Ævar Gunnarsson has been replaced by Orri Páll Dýrason.

The slow building, atmospheric, and melancholic post-rock style of "Ágætis byrjun (1999)" is continued on "()", although the band are if possible even more subdued and mellow in their delivery on this album. This is the perfect soundtrack to standing alone on top of a windswept hill looking over the ocean, taking in the incredible beauty of nature. Understanding man´s symbiosis with nature and the fragility of that union. Sigur Rós have created a delicate, ambient, and quite exquisite release with "()", with layers of strings (played by the Amiina string quartet), keyboards, guitars, an organic and dynamic working rhythm section, and of course the fragile and high pitched vocals by Jón Þór Birgisson. It´s music requiring patience and peace of mind, because of the slow building structures of the tracks, but it´s an emotionally rewarding ride, if you enjoy ambient melancholic music.

It´s not the words which are sung, resulting in an emotional effect, because Birgisson sings the entire album in a made up language called Vonlenska (also known as Hopelandic), but it´s the way he uses his voice to convey feelings of sadness and deep melancholy, which have an impact on the listener and of course the multi-layered high volume climaxes of the music. The trick with singing in a made up language, was to give the fans a chance to make up their own lyrics for the music.

"()" is divided into two parts. After the first four tracks the album feautures 36 seconds of silence before "Untitled ("Álafoss")" opens the second part of the album. All eight tracks on the album were originally released as "Untitled", but Sigur Rós later posted song titles on their website, so the fans had a chance to tell the tracks apart and discuss them as individual compositions rather than just an untitled part of a full album.

"()" features an incredibly well sounding production, providing the material with the right atmospheric and organic touch. This is through and through a gorgeous sounding album. It´s a bit more introvert and not as easily accessible as "Ágætis byrjun (1999)" but it´s a strong release on its own terms and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#213041)
Posted Thursday, April 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Jake Kobrin
5 stars "The most beautiful music that has ever graced my ears."

This is one of the few albums in my collection in which I hold a very meaningful and emotional connection with. I often listen to this album in times of sorrow, stress, or "angst" because of it's incredible power to carry my soul away from this universe. That is not to say that it cannot be enjoyed within a brighter mindset (and I have, many times), but it has an uncanny ability to cleanse my spirits in times of darkness. Once the melancholic hymns of Untitled I (Vaka) sound, an amazing progression of emotional (and if I was of faith I would state, undoubtedly, "spiritual") excavation is undergone and by the time that the resounding piano of Untitled III (Samskeyti) is processed through my eardrums, I have truly drifted away from the universe... drifting... as if in a dream... these melancholy hymns guiding me through this mild state of astral projection until I am utterly lost within this sweet reverie.

This album contains a rare form of beauty. It is, in my opinion, the most beautiful album ever created. But what this album contains, is not your "average" beauty. It is an exchange that I believe only SIGUR ROS , as detached as they are from the superficiality of modern (and more specifically American) culture, could present. What this album contains is an honest and thorough beauty... it is the beauty of falling into the arms of a lover that you have passionately and strenuously longed to be with... it is the beauty of experiencing a dream that you have forever wished for... it is the beauty of positive reflection at the end of a life... it is all of these things and more, all contained within the aural pulsations of the compositions.

I honestly pity those that have bestowed a low rating upon this album, as they will never experience the power of these sounds. I wouldn't trade the feelings I experience when listening to ( ) for anything in the world...

5 stars is an understatement...

Listen to most of this album on Spotify:

Report this review (#223899)
Posted Monday, June 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars If this isn't quite the masterpiece that AGAETIS BYRJUN is, it's still a fine follow-up that contains many brilliant moments. The opening "Vaka" (or Untitled 1) is a pretty downbeat way to begin the album, but it's a gorgeous track whose opening somehow reminds me of the creepier moments of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. Track 2 segues into "Samskeyti," a beautiful instrumental that reminds me a bit of the title track from Brian Eno's ANOTHER GREEN WORLD. Untitled 4 ("Njosnavelin") is the clear masterpiece of the album, and one of the finest tracks Sigur Ros ever recorded. The background child-like noises strangely reminds me of Floyd's UMMAGUMMA outtake "Embryo" (found on WORKS).

What ultimately plagues the CD is that there are just too many songs that follow the same tempo and blueprint. This album doesn't have the variety and shifts in mood that AB did. However, if you loved AB you will definitely want this one for the aforementioned tracks.

Report this review (#247756)
Posted Monday, November 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars As I said in my Agaetis Byrjun review, Sigur Ros can be extremely good at times, and not so much at others. This comes out in full force on ( ), hereby known as Brackets. The first half, the "happy" songs, are extremely good, utilizing piano and Jonsi's excellent falsetto that emits Hopelandic vocals to very good use, creating atmospheres of peace, contentedness, joy, and nostalgia- these songs remind me of carefree childhood years, from the perspective of an older person- remembering how the days were loose and pressure minimal, compared to the hard, fast modern life that older people are expected to live. However, the second half, the "sad" songs, are a bit dodgier, and longer. They're not bad, and at the right time, they can be pretty powerful, but they can't hold a candle to the brilliantly made first half. I'm grappling with the issue of how many stars to give it- I think that this record deserves more than two stars, so a three star rating, albeit a relatively weak one, seems to be in order.
Report this review (#264057)
Posted Tuesday, February 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Honestly, if I had reviewed this album right after I first listened to it, the rating would be far worse than this. It didn't help that the first four tracks sounded like a slow funeral procession, and I first listened to it at night when I was mentally tired. I could have given up on () at this point, but curiosity ended up getting the better of me, and I've slowly grown warm to ().

The thing to keep in mind here is that all of the compositions (none are given names anywhere on the CD or booklet) develop very slowly and many times just seem to swamp on time. It's basically this eerie, organic atmosphere that draws the attention; those who enjoy the album might know what I'm talking about. It's very hard to describe this to a newbie or non- fan, so it's a matter of listening to the album and seeing if it sucks you in. The tension and intensity in the last track is just too good to pass up. By the way, the album kind of gives me a mental picture of a winter forest.

Report this review (#265140)
Posted Wednesday, February 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars '( )' - Sigur Ros (8/10)

My first experience with Sigur Ros was suffice to say; not an impressive one. 'Takk...' and it's incessant optimism left a sour taste in my mouth, and turned me off from further exploring the band's music. Luckily, I found this record at discount lying around and having heard it was much different from the one I'd already heard before, I picked it up.

I have to say, while there are some things about Sigur Ros that irritate me still, the cleverly named '( )' has opened this band up to a new listener. Instead of getting the 'progressive chipmunk' treatment, there is alot of depth here, and a penchant for melancholic emotion that I've rarely heard trumped.

The band has implied before that the reason the work is titled so cryptically and it's song titles are (originally) without names is to let the listener come up with their own idea of what the album is all about. This lends a very personal experience for the album, and due to the fact that the lyrics are all sung in a fictional, non-sensical language, it truly is completely at the listeners discretion.

The album is broken into two halves; the first being lighter and more melodic and the second half being much darker in nature and more drawn out. While the first half is certainly more memorable than the second (in no small part due to the fact that I listen to it a good deal more,) the second half seems to have more going on in the music, and a more 'epic' feel to it. A good twenty second silence in between the two sides really gives the impression that the band means for this to be an album listened to on vinyl, which -considering the sonic depth- makes perfect sense.

The main focus here is atmosphere, and ambience. The songwriting itself is here (and quite strong at that) but '( )' would be nothing without it's masterful execution. Each note and timbre played here seems right for it's particular job in creating an atmosphere, although the lack of real dynamic can get boring at times. Sonically speaking '( )' is perfect; with the exception of a few overly shrill vocal sections at the hand of frontman Jonsi. With a little more range and variance here, this album would really be one of the crowning achievements in modern music.

Report this review (#287934)
Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
The Truth
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Beautiful music is still possible.

With ( ) (my first Sigur Ros album) the band really created something great. Melancholic, emotional, melodic, hypnotizing, amazing. It's a true masterpiece of music.

Vaka is my favorite track on the album, a very slow piano driven song with beautiful falsetto vocals by our beloved Jonsi. With about two minutes left the mood uplifts from melancholic to almost floating and Jonsi's voice glides you along. It's a real awesome feeling.

Fyrsta is pretty melancholic track from start to finish, although somewhat more upbeat than the previous. It's probably my least favorite track on the album but the atmosphere it creates is still great.

Samskeyti is slowbuilding beast of a song that really gives you a trippy melancholy effect, an insane experience. The tension it builds is just amazing.

Njosnavelin is almost a dreary little pop tune with more beautiful vocals by Jonsi. Like the rest of the tracks it is sung in Hopelandic, the bands fictional language that's actually not a language at all, just mainly improvisation. The track itself though is a very beautiful one, probably the most catchy on the record.

Alafoss is a track that slowly crawls along with some insanely high falsettos. It's another beautiful track and like the rest of the album, creates a great atmosphere.

E-Bow is an aptly titled track in which the guitar has an E-Bow equipped to it, adding more atmospheric meloncholia (I don't believe that's a word). The beat sounds quite a bit like Alafoss only maybe a little bit heavier.

Daudalagio and Popplagio are two similar tracks that exert a very moody force that didn't exist in many of the others. Jonsi's emotion level is at the top on these two and the effect mixed with the atmosphere is just pure bliss.

A beautiful almost glacial little CD. I've loved it since first listen. 5 Silver coated gold stars.

Report this review (#295153)
Posted Wednesday, August 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars What can be said about this album. Clearly not their most developed album. Clearly not rhythmically driving or harmonically complex. Clearly not even caring about meter very much.

What makes this album tick?

Every note in this album feels twenty fathoms deep. The musicality springing from every falsetto tone and synthesized note creates an inescapable reverie if you so much as give it more than a casual glance. You can feel the depth of the beauty stretching out beyond what your ears can perceive.

I suppose I should teel you something concrete about this one.

Dark. Brooding. Thoughtful. Slow and harmonious. Evolving over time into a huge sound that will blow your speakers as well as any metal, but never losing that icy-chilled tone. The mix of synthesizers, tasteful percussion, beautiful falsetto, strings, piano, and their myriad of other artfully chosen instruments gives each moment a rich tone and a place to go, even when there is almost nothing happening musically.

This album literally has no title, no track names, and the lyrics are all gibberish (Hoplandish, for those of you out there who are picky). All that matters is the art--the beauty behind the sounds and silence.

Oddly enough, not their "best". Oddly enough, the album I listen to most anyways.

Report this review (#335524)
Posted Friday, November 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars While this is a favorite Sigur Ros album among many prog reviewers for its darkness, I find it beautiful but overall a bit too dark and depressing. Still, there is without a doubt gorgeous music here in the same vein of Ágaetis Byrjun and Takk.... Plus the album is blessed with what is, in my opinion, one of the most ingenius titling schemes ever.

Favorite tracks: 3. "Untitled 3 (Samskeyti)" (6:34) (10/10); 8. "untitled #8 (Popplagið)" (11:45) (10/10); (I love the ENO/BUDD piano arpeggio and MIKE OLDFIELD-like screeching guitars in the background; one of my favorite Sigur Rós songs), 1. "Untitled 1 (Vaka)" (6:41) (9/10); the starkly gorgeous and painfully slow to develop and release, 5. "untitled #5 (Álafoss)" (9:57) (9/10), and; the awesomely ambiguous, simplistic and yet bombastic and gorgeous, 7. "untitled #7 (Dauðalagið)" (12:59) (9/10).

Four star tracks: 2. "untitled #2 (Fyrsta)" (7:33) (8/10); 6. "untitled #6 (E-Bow)" (8:48) (8/10), and; track 4. "Untitled #4 (Njósnavélin)" (7:32) (8/10) (love the organ).

This is definitely an album that has grown on me over the years and is rated up for the start-to-finish quality and listenability.

Report this review (#377604)
Posted Monday, January 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Overall, there is a very melancholic feel to "( )". You can also catch some similar aural landscapes to the previous release "Ágætis Byrjun". Tracks 1 through 4 are absolutely lovely, including some production tricks and great synthetic sounds. I love the more gentle and beautiful optimism of track 3, whilst track 4 drifts between two moods in a wonderfully passive, relaxed way. The remainder is not as good but the crescendos are quite nice and something you can hear as background music. It can work well on a gloomy day if one is in the right frame of mind because the sounds can be quite dark and haunting. There aren't as many string arrangements as on the previous album, you can mostly hear atmospheric guitars, organ and piano on this one. Personally, I find "Ágætis Byrjun" and following album "Takk" to be a lot better. I like "með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust" more too with its more mainstream sound and production. 3 stars.
Report this review (#455093)
Posted Tuesday, May 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars ( ) is Sigur Ros' fourth, and most succesful album. It is one of the most known albums in post-rock! The album is most known for it's use of lead singer Jonsi's made up language, Hopelandic, consisting of one 11 syllable sentence. All of the album's tracks have no names and are titled Untitled 1-8.

Untitled 1 is a soft post-rock piece beginning with a beautiful piano line in 10/4. For 2 minutes instruments join in and out until the vocals start. This only band that reminds me of this song is Sigur Ros, for this is their unique style and no post-rock band draws near. The song does not really evolve anywhere but it is very beautiful and calming.

Untitled 2 and 3 are very slow tracks. They fit in with the whole surreal and floating vibe of the album quite well. I can't say I enjoyed them as well as I did 1, but they are fantastic as well.

Untitled 4 is the ending of one "side" of the album. It is a more uplifting song, and more guitar based than the previous tracks. The whole song is filled with reverb, again, to give it an airy feel. Once the vocals start, I can literally feel as if I am floating. This song is like the feeling of hope if it were music. Best track out of this album, hands down.

After untitled 4, a 36 second silence is heard, and then the darker, sadder, side of the album, is heard.

Untitled 5 opens with a very slow (around 30 BPM) organ chord sequence for around 2 minutes, then the vocals kick in. It feels like the aftermath of an apocalypse, if nobody is left alive but you. You cry for help as no one hears and the beautiful organ sounds in the background. A few minutes later, the drums join, but they are very laid back and are not very loud in the mix. The song is still very organ based, very floaty. Few more minutes later, and the band goes into an amazing, beautiful, tearjerking climax, before seguing into the next song.

Untitled 6 is very reminiscent of Untitled 5, in terms of feel. It again feels very dark and empty, very emotional. Jonsi's emotional vocals fill the airy mood together with the E-bowed guitar which give it a very spacey feel. I know I have said it many times, but as this is Sigur Ros, the main thing about their music is space. After some 4 minutes, the drums, that were previously very quiet, enter into a climax-like drum moment, before returning to the song's quiet verse. Near the ending, the song, does indeed climax, and leaves a lone synthesizer note that segues into Untitled 7.

Untitled 7 and 8 are very similar, both musically and in terms of song structure. They both have a very similar chord sequence, powered by heavy organs in the background and Jonsi's powerful vocals. Both songs go into short climaxes during the middle before going into their final climax halfway in. These songs are part of the more dull side of the album, but still pretty enjoyable.

Overall, I give ( ), the post-rock masterpiece, 4 out of 5 stars.

Report this review (#471206)
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Sigur Ros' enigmatically entitled ( ) finds the band moving in the same sort of achingly beautiful crystal wonderland of sound as the preceding album. Many of the tracks on the album had been live staples of the band for some time, which really shows in the way they are polished and judged expertly - of course they develop slowly and organically, that's a hallmark of post- rock, but there isn't one which either outstays its welcome by being too long or fails to realise its potential by being too short. There's also excellent use of the human voice as an instrument, something which isn't often attempted by Sigur Ros' challengers to the post-rock crown like Mogwai or Godspeed You Black Emperor. On the whole, I actually think this is the band's true masterpiece.
Report this review (#657892)
Posted Tuesday, March 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars I can understand how this album has such a low rate, but I don't agree. But then I have a special relation to this album (and all the other Sigur Ros creations) as its been with me a long time now and been there through a lot of tough times in my life. Jonsi´s voice is one of the most comforting voices I know and Kjartan Sveinsson on keyboards is inventing whole worlds with his minimalistic but epic playin. ( ) is a lot slower than all the other records, which says a lot, but also much darker. For a long time this has been my absolute favorite album to put on when going to sleep. For many it may sound as a negative thing, an album that makes you fall asleep, but there comes episodes in life when there is nothing in the whole world you need more!

The interesting thing about ( ) is how it seems to be divided into two parts, where the first part is slow, dreamy and just beautiful with a lot of thought and comfort. The second part is amazingly sad but also very dramatic with songs, slowly building up too dramatic climaxes.

First part opens with the beautiful "Vaka", very calm and simple, a perfect opening track with beautiful vocals and keyboards, setting a nice mood for the whole album. Second song "Fyrsta" is more ambient and strange, but still very comforting. Then comes "Samskeyti", an instrumental song with a beautiful piano track and growing sound of keyboards giving this song a very serene climax. Its hard to explain in words, but it sounds like breathing. Last song of ( )´s first part is "Njósnavélin", a bit more optimistic sounding than the other songs and not as slow ether.

Second part is where people start having problems with ( ), because before you get to know the album all the songs sound pretty much the same. They are all very slow, very dark and very, very sad. Also, if you haven't fallen asleep during the first part of the album, its going to be a bit hard now as this songs is much more dramatic and has drummer Orri Páll Dýrason taking an important and leading role with an explosive way of drumming. To be honest I actually felt this part was boring until I heard some live versions of the songs and also took a walk with the album playing on my iPod. Putting this songs into a new context made me understand them and give them a meaning. All you really have to do is listen a bit more careful than you are used to do with Sigur Rós.

Last song "Popplagið" is probably the highlight of ( ) and a perfect way of ending this album! It starts of with beautiful guitar playing and ambient sounds in the background making this song sound large and, in contrast to the other songs of second part, a bit more pop-ish. The vocals here are probably some of the best Sigur Rós have ever written, its so very easing and melodic. With a bang the song changes mood to something a lot more haunting and a lot more dramatic guitar playing. The vocals transform into stretched out words, almost shouting. Jonsi is master of using his voice as an instrument, and this is one of the best examples. But the thing that´s really driving the song into the climax is Dýrasons fantastic, mindblowing drumming, its almost like he makes his drums cry with the song. A simple key change in the vocals in combination with crashing cymbals and thundering toms, you have a perfect epic. Just listen to the track and tell me that this isn't one of the greatest things ever! My living room is never as silent as after hearing this song.

Report this review (#1161647)
Posted Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
5 stars The first time I put on Svigaplatan or the Parenthesis Album ( ) i was doing some much needed housekeeping and not fully focusing on the music. It was having none of it. It punished me by keeping me from getting into it. I realized my error in playing such intricate and slowly unfolding post-rock music while not fully focusing on it and revisited this album. The difference was that this time my mind was clear. My attention was focused and my expectations were nonexistent. Wow! Blown away I was. Transported to another musical universe, I accepted the calm, placid call of the Icelandic siren who whisked me away into the sonicscape for a peaceful dreamy experience with occasional volcanic outbursts unlike no other.

Although it's hard to detect many differences between ( ) and "Ágætis byrjun" when trying to compare them, it is this one that blows me away more. It continues the fluid flow of the musical feel as the spacey post-rock blooms at an unhurried leisurely pace that makes me think of a progressive variety of dream pop much like the Cocteau Twins may have done had they continued the sound of the album "Victorialand" and ran away with the possibilities. As stated by others, the songs are of the perfect running time. They realize their potential and accept their limits but aren't afraid to let them live out their full lives. I now am a bona fide SIGUR ROS fan and will certainly hear (more)

Report this review (#1195372)
Posted Tuesday, June 17, 2014 | Review Permalink

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