Here is part 2 of our Reykjavík Music Mess 2011 artists overview. Enjoy!
Kippi Kaninus (IS)
Also known for his recent collaboration with amiina, Kippi Kaninus (alias of Icelandic musician Guðmundur Vignir Karlsson) declared in many occasions his love for computers as ideal tools to produce music. Although the name may sound totally new to some, Kippi has been active in the Reykjavík music scene for years. Launched by legendary Kitchen Motors record label in 2002, he describes his music as “fast, slow, theatrical, absurd, beaty, cheerful”. Indeed, Kippi’s music is an eclectic blend of instrumental perkiness and drama, permeated by bizarre and extreme experimentation.
Lára Rúnars (IS)
Reykjavík-born Lára is the new queen of Icelandic alternative pop. Foreign media, always looking for easy comparisons, described her as the next Björk. With three albums already to her name and a fourth in the works, this girl is likely to see her popularity skyrocket one of these days: if you’re into effervescent poppy songs, bright colors and all that jazz, keep an eye on her.
Composer Valdimar Jóhannsson and dancer/choreographer Erna Ómarsdóttir are both artists known individually for their dance and theatre projects. They recently joined forces to form the band Lazyblood (alternative spelling Letiblóð). Elements derived from theatrical performances, extreme experimental dissonances, strong expressiveness, are all integral elements of the Lazyblood phenomenon. If you want to be surprised, do not miss their show with Icelandic indie rockers Reykjavík!.
Lower Dens (US)
The well-informed will remember Texas-born singer-songwriter Jana Hunter, freak-folk heroine also known for her collaboration with Devendra Banhart. Lower Dens represent Hunter’s reappearance after a vanishing act that lasted a few years. Baltimore-based Lower Dens represent for Hunter a change in style but not in spirit. With their versatile mix of guitars, rhythm and voice, Lower Dens sound a lot like new wave, although this label is so broad and it covers such a variety of motifs to be almost useless to help you have an idea. Lower Dens are one of the most exciting acts present at this year’s Reykjavík Music Mess, so be sure to check them out!
Miri is an instrumental post-rock band from Eastern Iceland. They formed in 2003 at the LungA art festival in Seydisfjordur. If by reading instrumental post-rock you’re expecting something along the lines of Sigur Rós minus Jónsi, assuming all post-rock from Iceland must sound the same, you’ll be very disappointed. Miri’s songs are often described as mesmerizing, compelling and powerful; during their live shows the audience must be prepared to expect the unexpected.
I shouldn’t be telling you this, but urban legends about Mugison abound. Some rumors say he is a man of incredible skills, some others that he is a sort of music superhero: whatever you put in his hands — being laptops, real or imaginary instruments and so on and so forth — he will come up with amazing music. What kind of magic trick will he perform at Reykjavík Music Mess this year? How am I supposed to know? Why don’t you go and see for yourself?
Nive Nielsen (GL)
Nive Nielsen comes from Nuuk, Greenland. She’s an Inuk and proud of it. As she is very fond of her music. Nive is not only a singer and songwriter, but also an actress. In the occasion of Iceland’s release of Nive Sings, her first album, on April 15 she will be at the Nordic House with her band, The Deer Children.
Even though their band has not been around for a long time, the dudes of Nolo have already churned out an impressive amount of material. Their music cuts across a variety of genres and influences, always preserving their trademark all-pervasive lo-fi aesthetics. Nolo will be at Sódóma on Friday night.
Orphic Oxtra (IS)
Can you successfully compose and play Balkan music in Iceland? Apparently, you can. If you need concrete evidence, give Orphic Oxtra a listen. This thirteen-piece band embraces the peculiar sound of highly expressive traditional music from Southeastern Europe, adding to it a timely flavor through confluence of condensed and hyperbolic brass instruments with bass and piano.
Prinspóló are as entertaining and as bare as Icelandic pop can get. Captivating folkish beats and melodies, only sustained by essential instrumentation, to counterpoint unpredictable lyrics: Prinspóló will tickle the wacko in you to death… It’s either love or hate, but I’ve heard eating pizza between listenings may help.
Have you missed part 1? You can find it here. Part 3 is on its way.
Photo @Pu the Owl.