Album Review: Sigur Ros – Valtari
Most people only know of Icelandic music through ‘Bjork’. However, there are many bands from that country that are creating unique and compelling music. After the release of their fifth album ‘Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust’ in 2008, the members of Icelandic band Sigur Ros decided to spend more time with their families and went on a break. In 2009, they announced they had been working on a new album and that it was more ambient and melodic than both their fourth album ‘Takk…’ and ‘Með suð’.
Later that year however, they said that these were just rumours and that they didn’t have a new album ready. Fast-forward to March 2012 and they complete a new album called ‘Valtari’ set for release on May 28th. So what can we expect from the band that defines the word “ambience” through their music so efficiently? Well…. I’ll tell you.
Valtari has much more of an electronic feel to it than any other Sigur Ros album but still maintains the iconic sound they so cleverly produce that puts every listener into a relaxed state of mind and sends them off to a tranquil place. The album consists of 8 beautifully hypnotic tracks that never fail to make you feel as if you are walking on clouds. Some brilliant tracks to look out for include ‘Ég Anda’, that starts with humming from lead singer Jónsi that straight away puts you into a meditative state and will keep you there throughout the rest of the album. The track continues with Jónsi’s echoey vocals through half of it and then bursts with his falsetto. ‘Ekki Múkk’ is another track from the album that makes it so listenable. The track makes everything slow down while you are listening with its slow-building melodic sound and vocals.
‘Dauðalogn’ is one of the most engaging tracks from the album. It uses hymns in the background supporting Jónsi’s vocals. These both compliment each other so well and add to the feel and emotion of the track. ‘Varðeldur’ is another track that repays the listener. The track is a different version to “Lúppulagið” that is from their live album ‘Inni’ and cleverly uses hymns again but this time, they are over the instrumentation and this makes everything in life seem more easy and less stressful.
For ‘Valtari’, Sigur Ros have done something they haven’t done before and have given film producers the same budget it cost them to make the album and asked them to create films of the first ideas that come into their head when listening to the album. They have called this The Valtari Mystery Film Experiment. A video for the track “Ég Anda” was released on May 21, filmed by Ragnar Kjartansson, and is the first of many videos to be released for the experiment. It shows how to react if somebody is choking and what you should do if that were to happen.
If you are looking for new and different music to listen to, Sigur Ros’ will fit the bill and I recommend picking up ‘Valtari’ today. Be sent to a different place with their music like I was and you wont regret it.