Iceland in India

I guess without doubt the natural fenomenone that had the profoundest impact upon the philosophical depths of how we view the world were the ashes of the volcano eruption beneath the Eyjafjallajökull glacier in Iceland. However, over the past years, also pop music from Iceland has been quite a phenomenone. Two of the most prominent artists from Iceland are the singer Björk and the band Sigur Rós.

Björk gained first modest recognition with the band “The Sugarcubes”. This video of the 1986 song “Ammæli” by the Sugarcubes foreshadows much of Björk’s later solo work, which would prove to be far more successful, especially internationally:

Ammæli features a straightforward and distinctly 80s bass/guitar riff, that is accompanied and in a way distorted by rather dissonant synthesizers – later on, it would be straightforward techno-beats that Björk would adorn with her eclectic melodic style in a similar manner. Also her singing alternates back and forth between melodies that go against the underlying 80s riff (for example, by being in a different key), as well as melodies that go along with it, a technique that she would apply in later singles such as “Venus as a boy” and “It’s Oh so Quiet”. Finally, the video that is simple, yet strange – later videos would become much more sophisticated while always preserving a distinct björkesque element of eccentricity.

Sigur Rós had been well known by the kind of people who had previously also known Radiohead, before Radiohead became well-known by a larger population. What “Creep” is for Radiohead, is “Hoppipolla” (English Translation: “Jumping into puddles”) for Sigur Rós: the break-through of their music to a broader audience. In the case of Sigur Rós this came about by the inclusion of their Icelandic song in the trailer to the movie “Slumdog Millionaire”. Here is the original music video from 2005, which depicts rather strange vignettes of childhood in an even stranger way:

Have an inspiring week,


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