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.
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.
A: Döpur – “Frosin Jörð”
B: Roht – “Get Ekki Meira”
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.
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.
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.