Iceland Airwaves 2019, Day 4

This is our first Airwaves since the festival was shortened to four days.  It seems weird to be heading out on Saturday night and knowing “this is it”.

We opted to pass on the big closing show at Valshöllin, opting instead for a more low-key evening.  We started with Hermigervill‘s early evening set at Lucky Records.  We’ve been to a ton of shows there in the past, but this was the first time we’ve seen people dancing and grooving and Herigervill bombarded us with his funky beats.  As an added bonus he trotted out a pair of jams he’d performed the other night with the early 1980s synth act The Magnetics, which was super cool.

From there we headed to Hressingarskálinn, aka Hressó, where we caught the tail end of Sunna Fridjons set while settling in for the band we were there to see, :PAPERCUTZ, Bruno Miguel’s project that this time saw him performing with a female vocalist.  Their set was low key and fun, though the PA did give them a few problems here and there.  After that was local electronic artist Einar Indra and his unique approach, one that is sometimes freed from the constraints of traditional song structures to provide something both atmospheric and environmental, yet also neither at the same time.  It’s hard to explain with words (clearly) and it definitely holds your attention.  Last up, at least for us, was Danish musician/DJ/singer/performer Lydmor.  Artists take risks when they get on stage and do something that’s way different that what others are doing, and often it fails flat.  Honestly that’s what I thought was going to happen as Lydmor’s set opened, but she reeled me back in with a performance that was both familiar and unpredictable, her approach seemingly changing instantly and leaving you constantly wondering what was coming next.  I’m not entirely sure how this will translate to a non-visual album, but I’ll be checking out her stuff when we get back to the states.

hotdogsairwaves2019

And after a late-night hot dog (left)… it’s over.  At least the official festival is done.  We still have one more full day in the city to catch up with friends, and to try to figure out how I’m going to get all these records, tapes, and CDs home…

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.

Einar Indra – “You Sound Asleep”

Einar-IndraAs mentioned previously, I’m now contributing reviews of some new Icelandic releases to ROK – Icelandic Music Review.  The most recent has some thoughts on the new electronica album from Einar Indra, You Sound Asleep, which I enjoyed quite a bit. And as an added bonus, he’s going to be performing at Iceland Airwaves 2014, so hopefully I’ll get to see him live before the year is out!  You can read the review HERE, and make sure to check out the rest of the ROK website while you’re there!