Þórir Georg – “Fallið Er Dáið” (2019)

thorirgeorgfallidÞórir Georg has a broad musical palette – indie, folk, hardcore, metal… his musical travels are far and wide, and the one thing you always know you’re going to get from Georg is 100% sincerity.  Whatever he is working on at the moment, he’s pouring everything he has into the music.

Georg’s latest release is a 19-minute ambient track recorded on the day he learned of the passing of The Fall’s Mark E. Smith.  Somber ambient, it captures the damp cold of a Reykjavik winter, the wind penetrating even the thickest leather jacket, your pant cuffs soaked and wicking up cold water as you trudge through the few hours of twilight before darkness arrives again.  It’s a reflective piece that captures the sense of loss we feel when someone important to us dies.  It doesn’t matter that we never met them, because their art touched us at times in our lives when that was of paramount importance.  It’s a different kind of mourning than one experiences for a friend or loved one, but a strong feeling nonetheless, one still capable of dampening our mood.

Bluesanct put out Fallið Er Dáið (which translates to The Fall Is Dead) in a limited edition of 50 cassettes.  It’s available both in physical format as well as digital at the label’s Bandcamp page HERE, and you can also listen to the entire thing for free.

Þórir Georg – “Pantophobic” Cassette (2017)

thorirgeorgpantophobicPantophobia is defined as the “fear of everything”.  The term was first used by Théodule-Armand Ribot who explained it a bit more eloquently and certainly a little more romantically as “a state in which a patient fears everything or nothing, where anxiety, instead of being riveted on one object, floats as in a dream, and only becomes fixed for an instant at a time, passing from one object to another, as circumstances may determine.”

It’s a fitting title for the latest release by Þórir Georg, especially the floating on a dream bit. Georg’s compositions are fairly stripped down, though perhaps not as much so as on some of his other works, while his voice flows through (not over) his musical compositions like a creek – not too fast, but hardly at rest either, with a certain restlessness, a sense of needing to get somewhere soon but not actually going anywhere in particular.  The vocals give the sense of a certain resigned intensity, not fully desperate but more moderately anxious, as if he recognizes this as his normal state and has come to resignedly accept it. The music builds in intensity across the first side of the cassette giving the listener an increased sense of anxiety, moving from slowly acoustic to fuller-sounding to discordant in a way to change the listener’s emotional state.

I’ve run across Þórir Georg a few times in Reykjavik, but never introduced myself.  He’s one of those guys who sort of seems to have a bit of a wall around him, not in an arrogant or egotistical way, but more of a shield of privacy that I feel compelled to respect.  I’m pretty sure every time I’ve seen him has been at Lucky Records, which is probably not surprising given that the cover photo to Pantophobic was obviously taken in that store.  Maybe this year when we’re in town for Airwaves I’ll make a point of saying “hi”.

You can go HERE to experience Georg and Pantophobic in all of its glory.  His catalog runs fairly deep, so I encourage you to poke around while you’re paying his Bandcamp page a visit, because there’s a lot to like there.

Þórir Georg – “Tíningur”

tiningurThis is a link to a review of mine posted on ROK – Icelandic Music Review for Þórir Georg’s album Tíningur.  The album came out in October and I listened to it at the same time, though the review is just now seeing the light of day.  Georg is a talented musician to be sure, and these cool ambient tracks are just another facet of his range.  You can check out the link to the review HERE, and you can go listen to the tracks yourself free HERE.

Þórir Georg – “It’s A Wonderful Life”

Who is Þórir Georg Jónsson?

I have to admit I was skeptical when I first saw the It’s A Wonderful Life CD.  I mean, it’s not exactly the most traditional packaging.  Sure, I bought the Slugs CD that came in a vacuum sealed pouch, the kind you’d normally associate with food preservation systems for sale on late night TV when you can’t seem to fall asleep because you’ve had too much to drink.  But this was something different.  A yellow paper envelope with hand-drawn art, and inside a hand-sewn book containing all the lyrics and a simple CD.  Ingvar at Lucky Records put a copy of this aside for me because it’s local (to Iceland), unique, and about as limited as you can get – my copy is #8 of 40.  Ingvar is all about supporting the local little guy who makes the effort to put out something personal, so I tend to rely on his advice.  And he never steers me wrong.

thorirgeorg

The flyer inside It’s A Wonderful Life describes it as “Icelandic-lo-fi-psych-pop-punk,” which is a surprisingly good description.  Maybe not much on the pop side, perhaps more folkish IMO, but we’ve got plenty of lo-fi and psych, along with a heavy dose of DIY punk ethic.  This is about as DIY as it gets – the songs are all just Þórir and his guitar, with some echoey vocals that sound like they were recorded by a man singing into a something metallic in someplace like a big, old, abandoned prison.  And the desperation… the desperation in his voice… you can’t ignore this music; it won’t fade into the background; there’s too much feeling here.  Is it pain, or sadness, or resignation?

Darkness came and stayed.
It kept me focusing on my vices.

A man can only take so much.
Such weak and weary ways.
Too stubborn to make compromises,
and then dwell on one’s mistakes.
It makes you feel so powerless
when you’re on the brink.
— Þórir Georg

Þórir Georg is the Icelandic lo-fi Nick Drake.

The songs are all in English, and as mentioned previously there is a full lyric booklet included with the CD.  But you don’t really need it, because Þórir sings very clearly – you won’t have any trouble following the words, and his haunting singing forces you to listen, calling you in like a spirit in a dark foggy night.  I’m not sure if the songs have names… because they aren’t named anywhere in the package, and the CD doesn’t generate any track titles when I play it.  But it doesn’t matter.  This isn’t an album in the way we’re used to thinking of one.  It’s a man exposing himself to you in a very intimate way, alone with his guitar.  It needs to come in this envelope that conceals it from view.  You need to make a special effort to look inside.  It’s personal.  And that is it’s beauty.

The songs come from a dark and lonely place.  It’s not feel-good music.  It’s real.  They seem to come from a place not of wallowing in being alone, but embracing and accepting it.  Is it desperate, or just desolate?  Can you find a certain happiness and comfort in the moodiness?  Þórir seems to vacillate between the extremes.  I don’t think we’re supposed to find an answer here.  It’s just not that simple.

I took a look at Þórir Georg’s website… hell, I even found him on Facebook and thought about emailing him to get some comments from him for this post.  But I’ll be honest.  I didn’t do that because I kind of relished not knowing, at least not while I was writing this.  There’s a mystery here.  Would it be spoiled if I exchanged emails with the artist?  Maybe I’ll find out at some point.  But not now.  For now I want to sit back with a cocktail and listen… experience It’s A Wonderful Life… absorb it.  So good….