EinarIndra – “Stories” (2016)

einarindrastoriesBack in 2014 I wrote a bit about Icelander EinarIndra’s new album You Sound Asleep.  It was the first time I’d heard his work, and I came away impressed by the capacity of his ambient electronic style to generate an emotional response from me.  So I was excited when I got an email from him the other day letting me know that he has a new album coming out in March (digital first, but that will be followed by both CD and vinyl).  Stories will include eight songs – four new originals from EinarIndra, and four remixes by other electronic artists.  I was able to get access to the originals, and if the remixes are even half as good as what EinarIndra has created, we’ll all be in for a treat.

“Sometimes I’m Wrong” finds the vocalist leaving himself completely emotionally exposed on top of the bed of rich music.  There’s a melancholiness to the sound, and a desperation to the singing, a man confessing that “sometimes I wanna be wrong,” that secret that you’re not supposed to admit, not even to yourself.  The crescendo that closes out the song creates a sense of urgency, of energy, the feelings taking on a life of their own.  It’s a powerful piece.

“The Songs Are Over” retains the sonic density of the first song, but does so in a more deliberate way, the dry snaps of the snares and cymbals giving it a firmer structure.  Here the roles are reversed and the music is at the forefront, the centerpiece of the song, with the vocals playing a sonic role of their own, another sound as part of the overall whole.

“Thoughts” seems to crackle with an underlying electricity, an ocean-sized, slow moving wave sweeping you along with all that raw natural power.  It’s probably no coincidence that it includes the lyric, I’ve never been to the ocean / I’ve never felt the cold embrace of death, arguably the most powerful point of the song.

“Your Eyes Are Burning” gives us our first duet (I think there were some faint hints of a female voice on “Thoughts” as well, but they were very subtle).  There’s a powerful overdub on the male vocals, a very low undercurrent giving support to the more prominent higher pitch.  There are some wave noises in this song early on as well, something I noted in EinarIndra’s previous work as well.  There’s something very Aquarius-like about this man and his music.

I’m intrigued by how the vocals and music relate to one another on Stories.  In “Sometimes I’m Wrong” the emotional tone of the lyrics and vocals match the tone of the music, while on “The Songs Are Over,” it’s the actual sound and pitch of the voice that that is aligned with the music, functioning like another instrument in the ensemble.  Meanwhile, “Thoughts” matches the meanings of the words themselves to the music (more so than the tone/sound of the vocals), and in “Your Eyes Are Burning” we have our most prominent doubling of the male voice, almost like he’s supporting his higher pitched self in the face of this feminine presence, their voices the focal points in the first half of the song but being almost overtaken by a wave of sound in the second half.

You can check out some of these tunes, along with some stuff from his previous album, on EinarIndra’s Soundcloud page HERE.  He also has a Karolina Fund project to support the printing of the physical media HERE, so if you like what you hear, help him get it pressed and get yourself a copy.  I’m all about what EinarIndra is doing, and I’m going to need to make a point of catching him at Airwaves this year for certain.

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