Only a few days before Reykjavík Music Mess 2011 starts. Sódóma has been added to the venues and will be hosting its own event on Friday night. The official program has been released and I suggest you to take a look at it because the music acts are many and if you plan on attending them all without any strategic planning, you’ll probably go crazy and die.
For those who are confused about the overwhelming amount of music involved and for those simply interested, I’m going into a brief overview of the artists present at this first edition of the festival. This is part 1 — parts 2 and 3 will follow.
Agent Fresco (IS)
Agent Fresco emerged after winning Músíktilraunir in 2008. They have been described as “polyrythmic oddtime rock with jazz and funk influence”. Imagine drowning Tool’s prog rock into Jamiroquai’s acid jazz. Throw some other ingredient in the mix and shake well. Their first full-length album, A long time listening, was released in late 2010 by Record Records.
AMFJ started in 2008 as the one-man project of experimental musician Aðalsteinn Jörundsson. Forget about everything you’ve been taught about Icelandic music, puffins and tree hugging antics in special way. AMFJ is all about altered and chaotic sounds, powerful noise and enrapturing ambiance. It’s sound for sound’s sake. Do you think you’re up to it? Well, to make sure you’re not going to pass out in the middle of AMFJ’s performance at Reykjavík Music Mess, why don’t you give it a listen?
Björn Kristiansson AKA Borko is just great. Seriously, he’s a little too good for your ears, especially live. Borko is a bit of this and a bit of that and everything in between. Describing his music simply as mellow pop or indietronica won’t do. Lo-fi may work better, if you consider lo-fi a philosophy rather than a style. But it’s still not enough. That’s why you should go and listen to him at NASA.
Do you really need a four-or-so-line senseless introduction to this band? Formed in 2001 in Atlanta, Deerhunter have reached a remarkable fame in just a few years of activity. They’re considered as one of the greatest revelations of indie rock of recent times; Bradford Cox is by many considered one of the new gurus of noise rock, also in his solo incarnation, Atlas Sound. A bit too much on the hipster side perhaps, but don’t be fooled by tedious hipster publicity. If you hate hipsters, you can still like Deerhunter, I promise. The band’s latest Halcyon Digest, released after a short hiatus, is an album you should definitely get acquainted to. Deerhunter are headlining this first edition of Reykjavík Music Mess. A boom start, innit?
Einar Örn + Sudden Weather Change (IS)
Sudden Weather Change are true alt-rockers made in Iceland. For their young age, what they were able to achieve is quite impressive. For the average local music panorama, the fact they are not resorting to accordions and massive electronics is also quite an achievement, if you ask me. Their adhesion to the loudest and dirtiest 90’s rock canon is sincere, and your ears will be more than glad to enjoy their live performance. For this Reykjavík Music Mess, they teamed up with Einar Örn Benediktsson, sort of living Icelandic music legend. They guarantee their performance at the festival will be remembered.
FM Belfast DJ Set (IS)
Árni of FM Belfast fame is a multi-talented fellow, they say. Icelandic electropop act FM Belfast is just one of his successful achievements. Árni will contribute to this Reykjavík Music Mess with an exclusive DJ set in the course of the Gogoyoko hosted show at NASA on Saturday 16.
FOSSILS — not a mistake, it’s all capitals, folks! — are a duo from Aarhus, Denmark. Their music is heavily driven by drum & bass, featuring stark and fast rhythms and mixing together hard rock, punk and metal. They will rock you on Friday, the first day of Reykjavík Music Mess, at Sódóma. Be sure to take your vitamins before you go: it’s going to be a riot!
Hellvar formed in Berlin in 2004. The band evolved from a folk duo to a full-fledged band over the course of time. They do not sound like a folk band at all these days, in case you’re wondering. Elements from Nordic rock and electronica are the strongest trademarks of Hellvar. Their latest work, Ding An Sich — Kant meets alternative rock, anyone? But I have no idea about the lyrics… — was released in early 2011 and it is available to you on gogoyoko.
Hljómsveitin Ég (IS)
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. In music it could roughly be: when a band disbands, you simply go on and form another. That’s what happened with Hljómsveitin Ég, born in 2002 from the ashes of previous musical attempts. The band’s name plainly translates as “The Band I” and its influences are many and not to be disregarded: The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac, among others. Yes, no joke! These names are quite a burden, aren’t they? Hljómsveitin Ég’s latest album is entitled Lúxus Upplifun and it was released last year.
Kimono are considered the veterans of Iceland’s experimental rock. Many younger bands from Iceland mention them as their inspiration thanks to their experience and uniqueness, but they’re still a world of their own, even for the local music scene. Their Easy Music For Difficult People, a Kimi Records release, is a must have, not only for fans of Icelandic music. And guess what? Kimono will also be at Reykjavík Music Mess 2011! Yup. If you haven’t been able to attend any of their shows yet, I highly recommend not to miss this opportunity. If you have been to any of their live performances before, I highly recommend to go as well.
Looking for part 2? It’ll be here sooner than you think. In the meantime, join Gogoyoko and listen to more music through the Reykjavík Music Mess profile. Yarrr!
PS: tickets are still available. Check the festival’s site for more info.
Pictures ©Pu the Owl.