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SIGUR RÓS

Post Rock/Math rock • Iceland


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Sigur Rós picture
Sigur Rós biography
Founded in Reykjavík, Iceland in 1994

SIGUR RÓS was formed by three Icelandic young men: Jónsi Birgisson (guitar, vocals), Georg Holm (bass) and Ágúst (drums). Later joined by Kjartan Sveinsson on keyboards they began their recording career in 1997 with the album "Von" which was not released outside of Iceland until the late 2004. "Von" was followed by a remix album "Von Brigđi" in 1998 and their first masterpiece "Ágćtis Byrjun" in 1999. After the recording of "Ágćtis Byrjun", which was received with praising reviews all around the world, the drummer Ágúst left the band and was replaced by Orri Páll Dýrason. The fourth album, untitled and often referred to as "( )", was released in 2002 and was received with love and acclaim both by critics and fans. The production of the much anticipated fifth album is under way and waiting to be released some time in 2005.

With "Ágćtis Byrjun" and "( )" SIGUR RÓS have really perfected their unique sound full of space and atmosphere. Jónsi Birgisson's falsetto and the use of a cello bow to to play his guitar are the most distinct factors in creating that sound incomparable to anything any band has ever come up with. The groups closest to SIGUR RÓS in terms of feeling and atmosphere are probably GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR and MAGYAR POSSE. "Ágćtis Byrjun" is a collection of very orchestated songs with Birgisson's voice and cello-bow-played guitar flying high and far across the horizon creating a place of beauty and tranquillity. "( )" is divided into two halves, the light and the dark, the summer and the winter, or however you like to describe it. The songs are much rawer and more straight forwardly arranged than on "Ágćtis Byrjun" creating a more solid but a little narrower, yet equally as exciting experience.

The biography on the official site says it well: "It's impossible to justify it with words, you have to listen to it to understand." Go to the official site linked to on the left and download the full songs offered there. You will love it.

: : : Pekka Turunen, FINLAND : : :

SIGUR RÓS Videos (YouTube and more)


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SIGUR RÓS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SIGUR RÓS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.56 | 112 ratings
Von
1997
2.81 | 38 ratings
Von Brigđi
1998
4.13 | 612 ratings
Ágćtis Byrjun
1999
3.00 | 12 ratings
Sigur Rós & Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson: Angels Of The Universe (OST)
2001
3.98 | 390 ratings
( )
2002
3.03 | 29 ratings
Hlemmur (OST)
2003
3.89 | 352 ratings
Takk...
2005
3.31 | 173 ratings
Međ Suđ Í Eyrum Viđ Spilum Endalaust
2008
3.22 | 144 ratings
Valtari
2012
3.64 | 129 ratings
Kveikur
2013
3.68 | 18 ratings
Átta
2023

SIGUR RÓS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.20 | 55 ratings
Inni
2011
5.00 | 4 ratings
Odin's Raven Magic
2020

SIGUR RÓS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.26 | 83 ratings
Heima
2007
3.09 | 11 ratings
Valtari Film Experiment
2013

SIGUR RÓS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 57 ratings
Hvarf / Heim
2007

SIGUR RÓS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.29 | 17 ratings
Svefn-G-Englar
1999
3.69 | 13 ratings
Ný Batterí
2000
2.67 | 6 ratings
Rímur
2001
3.68 | 12 ratings
Untitled #1 (a.k.a. Vaka)
2003
3.31 | 33 ratings
Ba Ba Ti Ki Di Do
2004
2.42 | 12 ratings
Hoppípolla
2005
3.78 | 18 ratings
Sćglópur
2006
3.50 | 11 ratings
Hljómalind
2007
2.85 | 7 ratings
We Play Endlessly
2009
2.52 | 14 ratings
Brennisteinn
2013
3.29 | 7 ratings
Ísjaki
2013
4.00 | 1 ratings
Ovedur
2016
3.25 | 4 ratings
Route One
2017
3.50 | 2 ratings
Blóđberg
2023

SIGUR RÓS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Átta by SIGUR RÓS album cover Studio Album, 2023
3.68 | 18 ratings

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Átta
Sigur Rós Post Rock/Math rock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars The band's first studio album in ten years shows the band relying completely on atmospheric synths, full orchestra, and the virtuosic voice of their angelic leader.

1. "Glóđ" (3:39) Jónsi with orchestra. Pretty flat and nondescript. (8.5/10)

2. "Blóđberg" (7:16) nice meditative float. (13.125/15)

3. "Skel" (4:58) more angel-hosted slow walking. (8.75/10)

4. "Klettur" (6:31) nice cinematic low end opening--with tympanic tribal drum driving the way. Definitely a top three for me. (9/10)

5. "Mór" (5:47) big orchestral song with early crescendo and long, drawn out postlude. (8.75/10)

6. "Andrá" (4:07) Jónsi's low-register dirge slowly builds with orchestra support for two minutes before yielding to a gently picked nylon string guitar. At first it's alone, but then Jónsi returns and the orchestra swells around them. Interesting. (8.75/10)

7. "Gold" (5:13) piano, synth textures, and distant, ethereal Jónsi vocalizations are topped by Jónsi's clear (though heavily effected) up-front vocal dominating the soundscape. Slow, steady beat from a low percussive in straight walking time as Jónsi, synthscape, & strings swirl heavenly like water flowing upward. Another top three song. (8.875/10)

8. "Ylur" (5:55) 45 seconds of atmospheric cave-guitar chords before Jónsi joins in. Nice music for a nice vocal--virtuosic. My other top three song. (8.875/10)

9. "Fall" (3:27) effected-electric piano, playing a sequence of chords, spaciously, over and over. Jónsi joins in to sing within the chords, in time with the chords' syncopation. Again, very professional vocal. (8.666667/10)

10. "8" (9:41) more PETER GABRIEL-like slow treated piano chord progressions with light strings and Jónsi's protracted vocalizations. The second half of the song devolves into a kind of HAROLD BUDD funeral dirge heard as if coming from a different room in the same funeral home. (17/20)

Total Time 56:34

B/four stars; a nice, peaceful, almost meditative journey into the pre-Gates of St. Peter clouds and sky. Nice if you're a fan or collector or contemplative; not sure if there's anything here for the prog or Post Rock lover who's looking for something fresh or innovative.

 Átta by SIGUR RÓS album cover Studio Album, 2023
3.68 | 18 ratings

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Átta
Sigur Rós Post Rock/Math rock

Review by alainPP

5 stars Sigur Rós releases his 10th opus to get out of the grandiloquent musical emotion, to create spaces of intimate atmosphere, to talk about the climate, the decadence with a note of hope.

'Glóđ' major departure, the sound, the voices, some upside down, the bewitchment; the dreamlike journey with the keyboards of Kjartan which returns, everything is there to train you, to melt you like the ice filled with embers. 'Blóđberg' connects languorous beauty based on wave crescendos and Jónsi in hopelandic walking near you for a dark, symphonic, sublime meditation. 'Skel' continues, sound by the way, over the voice in falsetto; contemplative, fabulous latent air, filled with hope where the orchestra shows the power of the instruments; final with a horn, an archaic cello for 'Klettur' with the atmosphere 'the last temptation of Christ', a metronomic pad, angelic choirs, melancholy violins from which we expect the explosion; the post becomes cosmic, leaving on ethereal limbo and gives relief, immense. 'Mór' with Jónsi to prolong the state of religious trance in which you got stuck, waking up from a dreamlike nap tending to plunge you back into it with a gentle finale.

'Andrá' first sounds of 'Radio activity', first moments of life of Man on Earth; the hopelandic is perfect to symbolize this, a contemplative air, a climb to the heavens while remaining alive, this is what we are aiming for; the acoustic guitar and the air swell, the sounds raise the mood before the end, it feels like riding a wave. 'Gold' resembles but dissimilar, more majesty and grandeur; soaring and pensive. 'Ylur' on the crystalline piano and the voice of Jónsi forward for yet another bucolic drift on the black southern lands, one more to stay in weightlessness. 'Fall' occurs, piano and its sustain pedal to prolong, the minimal vocal as an interlude and the solemn air to keep hope alive. '8' closes the album, a consensual title repeating the theme of dark light, one more oxymoron for these fantastic 3 and their orchestra; 5 minutes and it's over... for a final meditative de-crescendo.

Sigur Rós launches this musical pad, a cosmic neo-classical sound, a concept album to listen to in one go, at a time when many are surfing on 2-3 titles thinking they know everything and understand everything; meditative, dreamlike, simply beautiful.(4.5)

 Átta by SIGUR RÓS album cover Studio Album, 2023
3.68 | 18 ratings

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Átta
Sigur Rós Post Rock/Math rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

3 stars The Icelandic falsetto king Jónsi is back with his Icelandic friends to deliver the newest ethereal chill out from his majestic SIGUR ROS band, an act that pretty much dominated the late 90s and early 2000s on the post-rock scene but in recent years has fallen fairly silent. I have to admit that i have not kept up with SIGUR RÓS since its 2013 album "Kveikar" but i've noticed the discography filling up ever since. Well as it turns out that was their last official albums and all those releases in between were either soundtracks, remix albums or an ambient project that has sported the SIGUR RÓS PRESENTS moniker.

This band has been around in some shape or form for almost three decades and is back in 2023 to prove once again who dominated the ambient pop sector of the post-rock universe only this time the band has gone full blown symphonic on us with a 41-piece orchestra to craft those fragile soundscapes that made albums like "Ágćtis byrjun" sound like the soundtrack to the gates of heaven with an army of producers and engineers to bring it all to fruition. Technically the band has only four members this time around but ÁTTA (which means "eight" in Icelandic and coincides with this being the band's eighth studio album) sounds like a monstrous modern classical masterworks of the ages.

With an eye-catching album cover of a rainbow igniting in flames, ÁTTA may not deliver a fiery set of tracks but rather maintains the band's status quo as that Icelandic band that can emulate the landscapes of its homeland through sound. Icy and cold motifs slowly gestate like icebergs slowly navigating in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic with Jónsi's distinct vocal style captaining the ship. Very much in character of the band's earlier works, ÁTTA features ten tracks that add up to 56 1/2 minutes. In addition to this ambitious album that features a whopping 41 musicians providing the modern classical backdrop, it was announced that there will be a live tour with as many musicians to match. Sounds like one expensive event but SIGUR RÓS is clearly still about the art form above all else.

While the album is as impressive as the band's earliest output up until around "( )" or "Takk," what ÁTTA seems to lack is a firm sense of perspective and therefore falls flat as far as maintaining some diversity in the varying tracks. Pretty much all the tracks from the opening "Glóđ" to the closing "8" maintain a nonchalant post-rock procession that eschews percussive drive altogether and allows the orchestrated atmospheric touches to dominate the flow. While there are really no annoying tracks on board, it's also the case that SIGUR RÓS has fallen into its comfort zone and pretty much delivers a set of tracks that have been done before and better for that matter. The fact is that ÁTTA doesn't add anything to the SIGUR RÓS universe save the pompousness of a larger than life orchestral presence.

This album is pleasant enough and if you are a diehard fan you will eat this up like Icelandic Ţristur (fudgy chocolate pieces filled with licorice) but for my tastes i'm fairly underwhelmed by this comeback album some 20 years after this sound still possessed a major wow factor. ÁTTA finds SIGUR RÓS floating around by taking the business as usual approach and while this may be the right setting for a beautiful live tour which incorporates past glories into the mix of a 41-piece orchestra, as a new album this is fairly average. The world of post-rock has evolved significantly since SIGUR RÓS first unleashed this sound almost a quarter of a century ago and it's not one that really sounds awful or anything of the sort but it does sound a bit stale considering this band has tackled a variety of differing styles over its career. A good album but really nothing beyond that.

 Svefn-G-Englar by SIGUR RÓS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1999
3.29 | 17 ratings

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Svefn-G-Englar
Sigur Rós Post Rock/Math rock

Review by alainPP

4 stars SIGUR ROS laid a hybrid egg that you see on the cover, I am laying you the singular chronicle!

1 Intro' ideal, avant-garde, ethereal, the intro you put back, too short, you didn't see it coming! 2 Svefn-G-Englar' which comes from the sonar we agree; an abyssal sound, a bow that will become famous, the unequaled vibration, the sound and the voice in glossolalia, additional falsetto to disturb pleasantly, the soundtrack of a film that I recommend before 50 years old, otherwise it's cooked, the sulfurous 'Vanilla Sky'; the 1st part of RADIOHEAD which had felt the innovation dripping from this young group; short, let's get back on topic, a new minimalist sound that blew me away when it was released... for the cover, here it is... it must be insane; short 10 minutes passed and I forgot to mention it anyway it's so personal that everyone who knows will want to keep SIGUR ROS in his musical heart and not share it. 3 Starálfur ... ah those classical instruments that make you melt, the bucolic, dreamlike atmosphere; the sound, the voices from elsewhere, this heady redundant melody, these sinister violins which illuminate our vision of the world, it's beautiful... quite simply, shh, a message from the morse code I thought it was over 4 Flugufrelsarinn attack; ah yes the titles are often chained and amplify the art-rock sound, hello Louis!; a recognizable sound here with the diabolically played bow, in an angelic way I allow myself; brief oppressive atmosphere, heavy as a midnight sunrise; the sound becomes more basic for listening, where you get used to it or you are picked up and transfigured, well we continue 5 Ný Batterí with its dissonant brass, an air that does not know where it should go, a musical dawn, an unreal atmosphere and the falsetto voice that clouds the mind; I adore these noises of abacuses that are put away, I adore these suspicious noises which keep your ears alert, I adore this dismembered battery which gets going, I adore; do you realize that we have a sound that comes from a non-rock band that does art-rock, do you realize that? 6 Hjartađ Hamast (Bamm Bamm Bamm) for the 1st proto rock title precisely with bass, piano, harmonica, good yes in the Scandinavian countries we have plains; the hard guitar licked by the bow, you have to see it to understand this sound; the voice always between two languages, even three; a title that breaks away from the unhealthy precedents, filled with unhealthy complacency, everything the prodigy actually adores; it's good and austere, it's colorful and full of grey, it's funny, laughable and magnificently spleen; the final stressful not possible brings 7 Viđrar Vel Til Loftárása with the aerial piano and synth intro, those that WRIGHT used in the titles of PINK FLOYD, psychedelic period we agree; you remember the clip that went with it, with these slow motions... proof that the prog really slows down time; you remember Vanilla Sky where time seems suspended... yes some of them still haven't understood the plot, ah a flight of violins, it's over! 8 Olsen Olsen for the most listenable title on a radio, so as not to frighten those who listen only to stupid noise all day long; ; the title where the heady bass sets the tone, where the singer with his Jumbo hat gets it on, where the final tune makes you want to go frolicking in the green meadows, in the gardens of Lewis CARROLL where the big toad from LOVE IS ALL 9 Ágćtis Byrjun for the eponymous title, repeat I didn't quite understand; a conventional piano changes; we no longer know if we are in a cabaret for the drum brushes, if we are in a western for the saloon piano; it's sweet, Jónsi with his characteristic voice gives the change for the ballad that kills, conventional but after all this past hour, we have the right to a little rest. 10 Avalon moreover, in the end, the title that closes the album on an old wind keyboard not tuned at all, on a soundtrack found from a potential crash in the desert of area 51, a sound from nowhere, dark, look like we're in Dunkirk in 40 all of a sudden, this reverberating sound that monopolizes your air and your attention SIGUR ROS is therefore the album to have in your discotheque so as not to die stupid, yes the watch at 50 years old I have already said it! The grandiloquent borderline album that doesn't get done, the standard album that reminds me of who it corresponds to an hour, even if we go over 70!

An OMNI isn't the 70s, not the 80s, not the year 2000, it's something outside of time that will be heard when we're gone! It's this album. (5 for the album of course.)

 Inni by SIGUR RÓS album cover Live, 2011
4.20 | 55 ratings

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Inni
Sigur Rós Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Gallifrey

5 stars Listening diary 13th April, 2022: Sigur R's - 'nni (post-rock, 2011)

I'm gonna be honest, seeing Sigur R's live didn't totally blow me away. I learned since then not to have inflated expectations for artists that feel like they should be good live, because it was a serviceable show in a soulless arena, but I definitely set myself up expecting something miraculous. And so, I avoided this for a while, for similar reasons - and perhaps that was a mistake, because this is good enough to be their only major live album. The use of bowed guitar really stood out to me when I saw them, and this does a great job of showcasing how much they can do tonally just with one peculiarly played instrument. It honestly amazes me that more artists don't do it, because this is practically carried by it. It's a great setlist too, with most of the classics that you know but can't remember the names of, and even some of the ones that I didn't really care that much for before, like 'Hafs'l' actually come out of this with increased stock. It's not mindblowing, as you might hope it to be, but it's a decent summary of their catalogue at this point, and what more can you want from a live album?

8.8 (4th listen)

Part of my listening diary from my facebook music blog - www.facebook.com/TheExoskeletalJunction

 Ágćtis Byrjun by SIGUR RÓS album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.13 | 612 ratings

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Ágćtis Byrjun
Sigur Rós Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Nhelv

5 stars This is what plays in Heaven's lobby.

A truly celestial experience. This album doesn't want you to be amazed by complex passages or technicality, but by beautiful vocals and hypnotic instrumentation. Most of the songs end with the next one, which gives it a great sense of continuity to keep you connected with the music.

This album is mostly derivative of Alternative rock and Post-Rock. There's some clear influences like Björk and Swans, however Sigur Rós definitely has its own distinguishable modern-classical influence in their compositions. There's very heavy use of natural string instruments like Cello and Violin.

There's for sure some standouts like the opener Sleepwalking Angels, which has some amazing and hypnotic female vocals. Staring Elf is my favorite from the album and it's legitimately one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard! New Batteries has stronger use of drums and distorted guitar, making it one of the heavier songs of the album.

Good Weather For An Airstrike is the second song over ten minutes. It has a very manthra-like feel. A Good Beginning is the title track and closer and it definitely is the quintessential song of the album, which makes it end the album amazingly.

This album is very ambience-oriented which may not appeal to many progressive rock fans who enjoy instrumental pyrotechnics, but for anyone who like Post-Rock, this is for sure essential. Five Stars!

 Ágćtis Byrjun by SIGUR RÓS album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.13 | 612 ratings

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Ágćtis Byrjun
Sigur Rós Post Rock/Math rock

Review by alainPP

5 stars SR or how to love a new sound!

1 Intro' ideal, avant-garde, ethereal, the intro you put back, too short, you didn't see it coming! 2 Svefn-G-Englar' which comes from the sonar we agree; an abyssal sound, a bow that will become famous, the unequaled vibration, the sound and the voice in glossolalia, additional falsetto to disturb pleasantly, the soundtrack of a film that I recommend before 50 years old, otherwise it's cooked, the sulfurous 'Vanilla Sky'; the 1st part of RADIOHEAD which had felt the innovation dripping from this young group; short, let's get back on topic, a new minimalist sound that blew me away when it was released... for the cover, here it is... it must be insane; short 10 minutes passed and I forgot to mention it anyway it's so personal that everyone who knows will want to keep SIGUR ROS in his musical heart and not share it. 3 Starálfur ... ah those classical instruments that make you melt, the bucolic, dreamlike atmosphere; the sound, the voices from elsewhere, this heady redundant melody, these sinister violins which illuminate our vision of the world, it's beautiful... quite simply, shh, a message from the morse code I thought it was over 4 Flugufrelsarinn attack; ah yes the titles are often chained and amplify the art-rock sound, hello Louis!; a recognizable sound here with the diabolically played bow, in an angelic way I allow myself; brief oppressive atmosphere, heavy as a midnight sunrise; the sound becomes more basic for listening, where you get used to it or you are picked up and transfigured, well we continue 5 Ný Batterí with its dissonant brass, an air that does not know where it should go, a musical dawn, an unreal atmosphere and the falsetto voice that clouds the mind; I adore these noises of abacuses that are put away, I adore these suspicious noises which keep your ears alert, I adore this dismembered battery which gets going, I adore; do you realize that we have a sound that comes from a non-rock band that does art-rock, do you realize that? 6 Hjartađ Hamast (Bamm Bamm Bamm) for the 1st proto rock title precisely with bass, piano, harmonica, good yes in the Scandinavian countries we have plains; the hard guitar licked by the bow, you have to see it to understand this sound; the voice always between two languages, even three; a title that breaks away from the unhealthy precedents, filled with unhealthy complacency, everything the prodigy actually adores; it's good and austere, it's colorful and full of grey, it's funny, laughable and magnificently spleen; the final stressful not possible brings 7 Viđrar Vel Til Loftárása with the aerial piano and synth intro, those that WRIGHT used in the titles of PINK FLOYD, psychedelic period we agree; you remember the clip that went with it, with these slow motions... proof that the prog really slows down time; you remember Vanilla Sky where time seems suspended... yes some of them still haven't understood the plot, ah a flight of violins, it's over! 8 Olsen Olsen for the most listenable title on a radio, so as not to frighten those who listen only to stupid noise all day long; ; the title where the heady bass sets the tone, where the singer with his Jumbo hat gets it on, where the final tune makes you want to go frolicking in the green meadows, in the gardens of Lewis CARROLL where the big toad from LOVE IS ALL 9 Ágćtis Byrjun for the eponymous title, repeat I didn't quite understand; a conventional piano changes; we no longer know if we are in a cabaret for the drum brushes, if we are in a western for the saloon piano; it's sweet, Jónsi with his characteristic voice gives the change for the ballad that kills, conventional but after all this past hour, we have the right to a little rest. 10 Avalon moreover, in the end, the title that closes the album on an old wind keyboard not tuned at all, on a soundtrack found from a potential crash in the desert of area 51, a sound from nowhere, dark, look like you're in Dunkirk in 40 all of a sudden, this reverberating sound that monopolizes your air and your attention.

SIGUR ROS is therefore the album to have in your discotheque so as not to die stupid, yes the watch at 50 years old I have already said it! The grandiloquent borderline album that doesn't happen, the standard album!

 Takk... by SIGUR RÓS album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.89 | 352 ratings

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Takk...
Sigur Rós Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

5 stars 'Takk'', the fourth album by Sigur Ros is the 3rd album in their amazing run of 5 star albums. This time, most of the albums lyrics are in Icelandic, except for 3 tracks which are entirely in Hopelandic; 'Andvan', 'Gong' and 'Milano'. The songs on the album have some very tricky meters which can change several times within a single track.

The album starts with 'Takk'' (Thanks') which acts as a drone-like introduction to the album, setting the mood for the band's signature sound. 'Glosoli' (Glowing Sun) was the first single released as a download only release on iTunes. The video for this song is one of the band's most memorable, the migration of children to a cliffs edge where they jump off and swim through the air, taking inspiration from the JD Salinger classic 'Catcher in the Rye'. The music has levels of synths and light percussion with the signature vocals. The music grows increasingly intense until it get to the end where it creates a thick wall of sound of guitars, keys and percussion which suddenly drops off leaving soft synths and chimes.

'Hoppipolia' (Hopping Into Puddles) was the 2nd single from the album and was nicknamed 'The Money Song' because the band considered it a commercially successful song. It is quite a bit more standard sounding, but has the lush sounds with a heavily orchestrated sound with strings and brass. The melody and the instruments utilizing lovely melodies making the sound quite victorious sounding and dynamic. 'Meo Bloonasir' With a Nosebleed) acts as a coda of sorts to 'Hoppipolia' and continues with a variation to the melody from that track, with more standard instruments instead of the orchestra.

'Se Lest' (I See a Train) begins with tonal percussion and Jon's falsetto swirling around wordlessly with layered vocals below that. Strings come in developing the sound somewhat and then growing softer again as more vocals continue and soon the strings swell again. This is one of those tracks where his vocals sound more like an instrument then a voice, very beautiful and angelic. Towards the middle, things quiet down to nothing but chimes and vibes, sounding very childlike and innocent, and Jon's voice eventually comes back in softly with the same high falsetto. The brass starts to come in now and starts to swell as the other sounds fade off. There is a slightly carnival type feel as the music slips into a valse tempo, then fades back to the minimal sounds again.

'Saeglopur' (Lost at Sea) is another single from the album and is, again, another recognizable track. This is one of my favorites from the band, and is also accompanied by another excellent video depicting a young child drowning and being rescued, but very artfully done. This track has been used for several movies and TV shows like 'Life of Pi' and 'Aquaman'. The music is very soft and relaxing at first, but halfway through becomes more frantic and intense, the melody becoming more front and center making it easy to recognize. After the long climax, the music softens to a droning guitars and piano with the angelic vocals continuing. The layers ebb and flow in intensity until the end.

'Milano' (named after the Italian city Milan) is the longest track at over 10 minutes. It was written together with the band and the string quartet 'Amina'. It is based around a lovely music box style melody that repeats itself as the music develops around it. The strings become slowly louder as they create a lush layer of sound under the keys and bass. A moderate tempo becomes more apparent as the song continues with Jon's signature vocals bringing in an increase in volume and intensity. This softens again at about the midway point bringing back the main music box theme. The track develops around this melody as other instruments and layers join in and it suddenly reaches another apex after 7 minutes. It quiets down and slowly fades.

'Gong' fades in with a guitar arpeggio and it quickly becomes more upbeat and less minimal, but still peaceful yet more like a standard song. The lyrical quality of the vocals drives this song more than the preceding tracks, as they are less of an instrument on the track and thus standout more as on traditionally constructed songs and building towards the heavier middle then settling down to chiming guitars and strings. 'Andvari' (Zephyr) is another tricky song with changing meters and a pattern of time signature changes that is heard in the 27 bar melody. The accents on different beats translates into a complex pattern while playing against 18 bar phrases in a background of 3/8 time. Quite complicated, yet very progressive. That strange pattern still produces a beautiful and quiet track that stays lush and pensive throughout.

'Svo Hijott' (So Quietly) begins with softly ringing synths that bring in a theme with a soft electric piano and vocals. Once again, Jon's voice becomes a beautiful instrument alternating between falsetto and stronger vocals. The music swells, bringing in strings and a strange haziness. The unique e-bow sound comes in more apparent on this track as it intensifies and it all turns into another thick wall of sound, and then backs off a bit leaving a steadier rhythm before building again. 'Heysatan' (Haystack) is the last track and, except for the intro track, the shortest track at just over 4 minutes. It stars with a slow chord progression done by the guitar and a sustained synth underneath it. After a minute, pensive vocals come in as this one remains quite minimal as an epilogue to the album. Yet it is still lovely.

I continue to love Sigur Ros unique sound and beauty. Even when the sound is the thickest, it is still beautiful. This album is more pensive and seems to have a theme of childhood and innocence and the effect that bad experiences can have on innocence. While the previous two albums had more dissonance and heavier sections at times, this one stays on the softer side, yet it still can conjure up some unsettling sections. Where '()', the untitled 3rd album from the band seemed to be based upon each song building upon the last to create a heavy climactic ending to the overall album, this one has apexes at different times, yet still stays more pensive than the untitled album and 'Agaetis Byrjun' before that. The latter album experiments more with dynamics, where this one takes its time to develop, but does so in shorter bursts and less often. All 3 albums are masterpieces, however, and I consider them all easily worth 5 stars for their ingenuity and unique, yet lovely sound.

 Brennisteinn by SIGUR RÓS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2013
2.52 | 14 ratings

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Brennisteinn
Sigur Rós Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars This EP or single was released 3 days after the release of their 7th album Kveikur. At this point, the band was down to a threesome. They had promised their fans that they would be exploring new territory on this new album.

The first track on the EP is "Brennisteinn" (Brimstone) and it shows that this promise is kept. The track is taken off of the new album and appears exactly as it does on the album. It starts off with processed noise, possibly a rainstorm, and soon the music comes plodding in quite loudly considering this is Sigur Ros. Things do mellow a bit when Jonsi starts singing, but there is a throbbing guitar with a limping marching rhythm feeling dark on the low end, but with some positive sounding synths. There is a definite new edge to the sound of this track as it starts off quite intense and discordant, and takes a while before it gets into more soothing territory about half way through. For a while Jonsi stays in his higher register, but the music gets intense again with a very tricky rhythm. I know a lot of Sigur Ros fans that were perturbed about this new sound, but to me it only testifies of their brilliance when it comes to great music, even when it is a little strange and disturbing, even approaching avant-prog at times. It does end on a more orchestral and soothing feeling though.

"Hryggjarsula" (Backbone) is even more experimental with plodding and dark processed guitar and screeching bowed guitar swirling around. At 2 minutes, things suddenly turn more symphonic for a short time and that fades and is replaced by a low- register drone. There is an unsettling low screech in there to, probably from the bow. Though this is dark, it still has a degree of beauty underlying everything. A chunky, processed sound of thunder booms in the distance.

"Ofbirta" (Glow) is the last track. Like the previous track, this is not on the album. This one has more of a brighter sound to it utilizing a multi-tone drone and slow sustained notes deep in the mix. The sound lends itself a bit more to the older sound of the band, but relies more on the sustained drone as the notes emerge from out of the middle of it.

For most people, this EP probably won't be worth the trouble because if you are interested in the new experimental sound of the band, you would be better off getting Kveikur. Those that love the more peaceful and emotional sounds of the band should stick with the older albums, as this EP is quite harsh, though it is still beautiful and desolate. Fans that love the band, like me, and want to hear the other avenues that the band was exploring at the time will definitely be interested in this, especially the unreleased tracks. It is regrettably short though, so we'll stick with 3 stars.

 Valtari by SIGUR RÓS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.22 | 144 ratings

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Valtari
Sigur Rós Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars After an indefinite hiatus, Sigur Ros finally returned with their 6th full length album "Valtari (Roller)". There were several times during the hiatus that they started working on a new album, and after a few starts and stops, recording new material and throwing it away because they were not satisfied, they finally came out with this album which focused on a more ambient sound than before. Instead of trying to describe what the songs were about on this album, Sigur Ros decided to let the listener interpret the music on this album in their own personal ways. They picked the title of this album because they felt that the music slowly rolled over the listener. You should go into this expecting a very ambient and peaceful album.

The first track is "Eg anda (I Breathe)". It starts out with a piano repeating a short, hymn-like melody, with other instruments entering and eventually Jonsi starts to sing. The ambient feel is apparent off the bat, but this one is very reminiscent of some of Sigur Ros' best material, sparse and beautiful, that boils slowly and has a slightly unsettling feel underneath all of the music. Later, a high pitched vocal that sounds somewhat processed stays mostly in the background.

"Ekki Mukk (Not a Sound)" is less melodic than the first and more meandering. It remains ambient most of the way through with a slight build a little over halfway through where shimmering beauty becomes the focus and then it calms to a very slow and quiet pace. It flows into "Varuo (Caution)" which starts with a keyboard playing an arpeggio pattern and Jonsi's subdued meandering higher register. Sustained bowed notes begin a crescendo with a slow changing chord pattern as things intensify. The keyboard changes to a piano in a higher register as bowed guitars reach the top of the crescendo, then things calm quickly. This one is quite repetitive as it is based on the same pattern throughout.

"Rembihnuter (Tight Knot)" starts with a subdued tribal rhythm with atmospheric guitars which quickly go into a melodic pattern. Jonsi starts to sing a fairly repetitive melody and alternates with the guitars for the lead on this song. After 3 minutes, an organ takes over when the rhythm stops with a subdued drone in the background. Soon, Jonsi starts the melody again and percussion starts again. This one is quite a bit more simplistic and melodic and not as immersive as the other tracks so far.

"Dauoalogn (Dead Calm)" is a track that was actually written in 2009 (this album was released in 2012). This has a very slow beat and a minimal sustained melody. Jonsi's vocals are in his higher register with a sustained echo giving his singing a far away feel. Except for a few very short bursts of dynamics, it remains minimal and calming throughout with an expansive yet desolate vibe. Around 8 minutes, things really start to open up with an almost sudden increase in intensity with organ and guitars creating a beautiful climax.

"Varoeldur (Campfire)" is also an older song written in 2009 and is an alternative version of "Luppulagio" from the "Inni" album. It features a constant slow rhythm with a quick build at the beginning which quiets for the vocals. Bowed guitars build a heavy, but not quite monstrous sound which calms about halfway through. The guitars continue an unsettling vibe under the vocals which push it forward to another build. At 6:30, a sudden increase in loudness and a theme is created with the guitars which carries the track to the end.

"Valtari (Roller)" is the minimalistic title track. Again, this is a very slow burn with a lot of ambient atmosphere and sleepy vocals. Layered organ and guitars remain shimmering and almost dronelike. "Fjogur Piano (Four Pianos)" takes old unused material and loops it into an atmospheric track.

The Japanese release also had 2 bonus tracks. "Logn" is completely ambient using electronic drones and vocal loops in an 8+ minute track. This is mostly just a relaxing soundscape without a lot of development. "Kvistur" runs 5 and a half minutes and is another experimental soundscape, this time with a lot of dissonant noise and ambience. The bonus tracks are okay if you love ambient and experimental music, but the best tracks are on the regular album.

This album is different than most of their other albums in that it is very atmospheric and ambient. If you don't like that type of music, then you probably will be disappointed in this album, but I find it very relaxing and peaceful. It is true that it is not one of their best, but there is still a lot to discover in this album, it just takes more time and effort. There is still plenty of beauty found within it's tracks. 4 stars.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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