One of the crazy things about the Icelandic music scene is that it seems like most musicians participate in multiple bands at the same time, and often these bands play completely different styles of music. If you go to Airwaves, you might see a guy fronting a hardcore band one night, and that same guy playing rhythm guitar in an electro-darkwave band a few days later. Everyone seems to know everyone else, and no one feels constrained to only play one type of music.
Which brings me to russian.girls, the one-man project of Guðlaugur Halldór Einarsson, who is perhaps better known as a guitar player for Fufanu (who I believe previously went by the name Captain Fufanu, and who we first experienced when they backed Ghostigital at a show in 2009). In fact, we saw Fufanu at Airwaves last year, and in typical Airwaves fashion the show took place inside a clothing store (see below – Guðlaugur is playing the white guitar). I kind of felt bad for the guy who was just trying to buy a sports coat, but it’s Airwaves. That’s how it rolls.
Copyright Life in the Vinyl Lane, 2014
The other day I ordered the new Ghostigital 6″ from the guys over at Lady Boy Records, and also picked up some of their cassette releases that I didn’t have yet. One of these was the 2014 russian.girls tape Old Stories. It’s been sitting around for a couple of weeks and I finally got around to playing it yesterday. And holy hell this is an insanely good tape!!
In the broadest sense Old Stories qualifies as “electronic” music. It’s not higher BPM dance, but is a bit more up-tempo than basic ambient. There are some trance elements, but there are also some weird-ass vocalizations like those appearing at the end of “How Long,” one of the tape’s better tracks. Not all of the songs feature vocal samples, but those that do tend to be my favorites, like “Sunny Day” (a song that borders on being a sort of electro-pop-industrial kind of thing) and the aforementioned “How Long.” The incorporation of the human voice, even when only sampled and therefore being used more like an instrument, makes it easier for me to connect to the song.
In an interview with Iceland Monitor Guðlaugur said that the Old Stories material was derived from demos he was working on that didn’t seem to fit the Fufanu sound. I’m glad he had an outlet for these songs, because they’re excellent. You can listen to all of the tracks for free HERE, and it looks like they have at least a few copies of the cassette available for sale – it’s a limited edition of 50 (yes, just 50 copies…) and mine is #35, so I’m guessing there are no more than 15 left. Even if you don’t want the cassette (or, more likely than not, have no way to even play it), if you like electronic music go give russian.girls a listen.