Bónus Plötur 7″ Singles (2017)

When I first learned of the new Iceland label Bónus Plötur I quickly resigned myself to the fact that I’d likely never get my hands on any of their releases.  The series of 7″ singles are put out monthly in minuscule editions of 30 records each and only available for sale at the vegan cafe in Reykjavik appropriately named Kaffi Vinyl.  So when the opportunity arose to get my hands on three of the five issued so far this year I jumped at it and counted my blessings.  Since all are split releases with only one or two songs per side I decided to just write one combined post to cover all three.

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The Reykjavik Grapevine has a nice feature on the label that can tell you way more about it than I ever could, so go check it out HERE.  The one piece of info I can add to that story, however, is that the Krummi behind Bónus Plötur is not the same Krummi who appears on they’re third release with his duo Döpur.  I suspected, incorrectly as it turns out, that they were one in the same, and had this confirmed by a friend in Reykjavik.

BP-03
A:  Döpur – “Frosin Jörð”
B:  Roht – “Get Ekki Meira”

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We first encountered Döpur, which features Krummi of Legend fame, at Airwaves in 2014.  I was trying to track down Holly at Harpa and I knew she was thinking about checking out a venue of experimental music happening there, and when I walked into the red-lit room there as a huge cat image on the wall and a couple putting on a mind-bending show (left).  We caught up with the duo again a year later at Lucky Records and once again had our minds re-arranged by their music.  “Frosin Jörð” is, I believe, the first actual recording of theirs I’ve put my hands on, and it didn’t disappoint with a raw feel laid over the machine beats, an intentionally unpolished and charged track.  The flip side is a new song by Roht, who I’ve written about a number of times recently on Life in the Vinyl Lane as it seems like every time I turn around they have a new song or tape or single.  “Get Ekki Meira” is heavy as hell, but with vocals that actually remind me a bit of an even more lo-fi Purrkur Pillnikk.  I’ve listened to a decent amount of Roht so far this year, and this may very well be their best effort.

BP-04
A:  Exos – “Zoo York”
B:  Kosmodod – “Mars Elektro” and “Magnetic Distortions”

I’m not sure what’s up with my copy of BP-04.  The others I’ve seen online all have glittery paper on the right side, whereas mine is white, plus it’s not numbered on the reverse.  Could it be an early test press?  Not sure.  It also, unfortunately, appears to have been put into its sleeve before the ink was dry and as a result I have all kinds of stains on the jacket.  But whatever, this is DIY stuff.  I’m just glad to have a copy!

I’ve never heard Exos before, and the beat-driven “Zoo York” has a slight tribal feel with its repetitive percussion and occasional higher notes that sound like two sticks being struck together.  Kosmodod I’d run across previously on the Sweaty Records Compilation a while back, a track I compared to the material appearing on Gusgus’ seminal 24/7.  And “Mars Elektro” is in that same mold, a darker bit of electronic music but one that doesn’t stray towards the more industrial side instead keeping the sonics clear and crisp (though the vinyl itself on this side is a bit noisy, despite having been cleaned).  The same was true for “Magnetic Distortions”.  I really like what Kosmodod is doing – hopefully we’ll see a full-length from him at some point.

BP-05
A:  Kuldaboli & russian.girls – “Hvaða Týpu Ert Þú Að Vinna Með?”
B:  Bárujárn – “Vopnafjörður”

Not only are we familiar with all three performers on BP-05, but we also have releases by each and have seen two of the three live.  The combination of Kuldaboli and russain.girls is an intriguing one, and the song does not disappoint – “Hvaða Týpu Ert Þú Að Vinna Með?” is a killer piece of electronica.  It reminds me more of Kuldaboli’s general style than it does that of russian.girls, and overall it’s probably my favorite track across these three Bónus Plötur releases.  As for Bárujárn, we seem to somehow manage to see them live almost every year at Airwaves, though usually completely by accident, and “Vopnafjörður” is consistent with their general surf-inspired sound, though this time with a touch of western thrown in for good measure.

 

I still need to try to track down the first two Bónus Plötur singles – hopefully I can track them down when I’m in Reykjavik for Airwaves in November.  Fingers crossed.

Iceland Airwaves 2015 – Day 5

This will probably be a bit briefer than I’d like it to be, but today we leave Reykjavik and head back home, so that means last minute packing and goodbyes with not enough time and not enough sleep.

The Sunday schedule is pretty limited with only a handful of off-venues going during the day.  We saw two acts at Lucky Records, singer-songwriter Man in Between and the punk/noise duo Döpur, a project by Krummi of Legend, Esja, and Minus fame.  I missed Döpur last year so I was glad to be able to catch them this time around, and they had Lucky almost complete full for their noise/drone set.

We headed over to Vodafone Hall for the main on-venue program, arriving probably 30 minutes after the first performer was scheduled to start only to find a long and growing line outside.  We were afraid this was going to be a repeat of Saturday’s attempt to see Beach House, since the capacity of Vodafone is quite a bit lower than the number of festival passes sold.  After about 15 minutes a staff member came out and let everyone know there were some delays and that they’d be opening the doors soon.  <phew>  At least it wasn’t raining.

The line-up at Vodaphone was strong, though the first four or five performers all shortened their sets a bit to try to get things back on schedule.  Vök opened, the second time we’d seen them on the trip, and they put together another great set.  I made a point of picking up their CD at Lucky earlier in the day.  Next was an interesting run of three performances, all of which saw the instrument playing band members of Agent Fresco performing.  First they backed hip hop artist Emmsjé Gauti, then they did their own five song set as Agent Fresco which featured my favorite song of theirs, “Eyes of a Cloud Catcher” off of A Long Time Listening, and concluding as the backing band for the hip hop duo Úlfur Úlfur, who I really enjoy.  Next up was the UK hip hop duo Sleaford Mods, with their more cadenced storytelling delivery who were interesting to listen to but not terribly compelling to actually watch.

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Copyright Life in the Vinyl Lane 2015

That all led up to the two main performances, beginning with a roughly hour long set by the electronics group Hot Chip, who put on a great show both musically and visually and seemed to surprise the crowd with an electro cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark.”  The crew at Vodafone turned the stage surprisingly quickly following that set and the world’s greatest party band, FM Belfast, hit the stage and took it home.  I’m convinced that every Airwaves should end with an FM Belfast set – it’s simply the perfect way to conclude your festival on a high energy high note.

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Copyright Life in the Vinyl Lane 2015

It’s hard to believe it’s all over… sad, but we’re all so tired that bringing some sense of normalcy back to our lives will probably be a bit of a relief too.  Takk to all our friends we got to see this year, old and new, and we hope you’ll all be coming to Iceland again next year for Iceland Airwaves 2016 from November 2-6.  Early bird tickets go on sale November 16…!