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sigurros valtari
Artist: Sigur Ros
Title: Valtari
Genre: Alternative
Release Date: 25th May 2012
Label: EMI Records


Album Review

So, the Icelandic titans return with ‘Valtari’ (translated as ‘Steamroller’) after a mere 4 years hiatus since the intensely euphoric but somewhat fragmented album, ‘Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust’’. During those 4 years, Jonsi Birgisson created a solo album entitled ‘Go’ along with a musically ambient project with his significant other, Alex and Kjartan Sveinsson had taken part in the White Light Festival which had taken place late 2010 where he composed a classical piece, ‘Credo’. The rest of the band had taken a well-earned rest. ‘Inni’, a live document of the band’s latest tour shot in a grainy black and white as well as a CD accompaniment of the performances was released late 2011. It was a significant release as fans with baited breath awaited for the information of a new album. The wait has been well and truly worth it!

Written predominantly during the recording of ‘Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust’ in early 2008, some of the tracks from Valtari were intended to be a part of ‘Med Suð …’ but weren’t included in the final record. It is overwhelming to know that some songs of ‘Valtari’ are older tracks, discarded from the previous album, astonishingly, the enigmatic beauty of these tracks are abundantly moving and captivating and more importantly, collectively, they work together so well. In ‘Valtari’, we hear the earlier sounds of Sigur Ros, unequivocally, an element of ‘Von’ (their experimental-ambient debut album) is apparent especially with tracks like ‘Varðeldur’ and the album titled track. Even remnants of the brilliant ‘BA BA TI KI DI DO’ (songs that they composed for Merce Cunningham’s dance piece, ‘Split Sides’) are comparatively noticeable in some of the less vocalised pieces; Sigur Ros have explored their older traits with this album, indulging in the more experimental layers of sounds.

However, that being said, it doesn’t mean that the album is less melodic or accessible. The resounding, dream-like quality of ‘()’ can be referenced too, mixed along with the eloquent divinity of ‘Takk’. Any Sigur Ros fan of any generation will be pleased by its hypnotic power and immense scope of evocative music-poetry. Still, their music tends (visually, in thought) to the mammoth landscape of Iceland, the drifting, fragmented piano linger on like haunting, natural whispers of the gorgeous yet (at times) hostile environment that is their motherland. The more choir-esque songs such as ‘Dauðalogn’ creatively envelope the dualities of what their music represents, that being the colossal mantra of nature itself.

In this album, they lessen their much loved, self-invented combination of an instrument – the guitar-bow (where Jonsi strikes the guitar with a violin bow) which was heavily used in ‘()’ and ‘Takk’, however, it isn’t missed. This is an atmospheric magnum opus that will wash over you with its lavish tones. It’s a soundtrack for those who enjoy to parade within the ether. The emotive grasp of ‘Valtari’ will have you in a stasis of a profound consciousness, perceiving lost harbours in ethereal mists and grand mountainsides in their godly bliss. Perhaps, the sound itself is nothing as harsh as that of a steamroller but it surely does sweep over you with its empowering benevolence of musical greatness. 


Tracklist

01. Ég Anda
02. Ekki Múkk
03. Varúð
04. Rembihnútur
05. Dauðalogn
06. Varðeldur
07. Valtari
08. Fjögur Píanó


Line-up

Jonsi Birgisson – Vocals, Guitars
Kjartan Sveinsson – Keyboards
Orri Páll Dýrason – Drums
Georg Holm – Bass


Websites

www.sigur-ros.co.uk


Cover Picture

sigurros valtari


Rating

Music: 10
Sound: 9
Total: 9.5/ 10




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