Halleluwah is the newest project from Icelandic musician and economist (no, seriously, he’s an actual economist who is currently pursuing his Ph. D.!) Sölvi Blöndal, who previously gained fame with the rap metal group Quarashi from 1996 to 2005. Although I started becoming a big fan of Icelandic popular music in 2009, I’d never heard of Quarashi before, so I wasn’t able to associate Quarashi with Blöndal’s new project. Thankfully my main man Ingvar at Reykjavik’s Lucky Records practically insisted I buy this 10″ single, basically telling me that when he’s working in the store he constantly rotates records on and off the turntable… but when he put Halleluwah on there for the first time he just kept flipping it over… and over… and over, listening to it multiple times in a row. High praise from Ingvar, so I picked up a copy.
The K2R 10″ has two tracks, “K2R” and “Whiplashes”, and as an added bonus the vinyl came with a CD of the for easy digitizing. The lyrics/vocals are not Blöndal’s, but in fact contributed and sung by Egill Ólafur Thorarensen, a.k.a. Tiny, who was a bandmate of Blöndal’s in Quarashi. The two tracks are relatively standard length, clocking it at a combined 7:24, and it appears they’ve been getting some radio play in Iceland. Both songs are sung/rapped in English.
The song “K2R” opens with an old school 60’s style pop beat, and “Whiplashes” follows a similar trend but with a more surf-style psych sound to it. Tiny’s rapping is pretty straight forward, making for an interesting mix of two musical styles that you normally don’t find together. There is a touch of sampling here as well, with “K2R” pulling a line from Little Anthony & The Imperials 1964 classic, “I Think I’m Going Out of My Head” (plus I think there’s at least one other sample in there that I couldn’t identify).
Bitch you got a degree for that body?
Shake that ass magna cum laude,
Young and excited,
Every single thing about her is erotic.
If you can find me another rapper who turns a phrase about degrees and magna cum laude, and uses it to describe a woman’s body, I’d like to know.
Halleluwah has two other tracks out there that can be found on Soundcloud – “1000 Eyes Instrumental” and “The Christmas Krautmix 2010”. The first is a more standard electronic hip hop number, while Krautmix is a 26 minute electronic marathon with some vocals and sampling.
I’m disappointed we didn’t see Halleluwah live at Airwaves this year. So many bands, so little time, though to be honest had I listened to the CD while we were there, I probably would have sought them out. Hopefully they’ll be back in 2013 and I’ll get my chance.
Halleluwah has a great fresh sound, and I encourage you to take a listen to them on Soundcloud. I think you’ll like it.