Sunday, December 3, 2006

#20 Agaetis Byrjun - Sigur Ros (FatCat, 2000)

Some guy named Captain Ultra kept driving through the neighborhood trying to get me to get into his suv. He wasn't offering candy though, only swells of guitar and made-up languages. I wished I had given myself up earlier.

This may still be the best selling album in Iceland's history, and well it should be. The recording is beauty. These guys exist to try and make the world right again for a minute or 7. From the first full track, the 10 min. "Svefn-G-Englar" to the last "Agaetis Byrjun" (or "a new beginning") time just stands still for me. This album, like some posts to come, is one where I wish that I had expressed my thoughts on tape or on paper the first few times I experienced it. After years of saturation, copycats, and just the flow of life it's difficult to express how uplifting and other worldly this album is.

Jonsi sings in both Icelandic and a made up Hopelandish-to let his voice soar with the same swells as his bowed guitar playing. Of the 8 proper songs, none clock in at less than 7 min. Epic, but in no way over the top, as his voice floats effortlessly through it all. The first time we saw these guys, tears were rolling after the first song sung off their ( ) album-which is mostly a repetitive vocal exercise (with strings). It was slightly ironic that after being treated to a night of dreaming, hope, and togetherness by a collective from a pastoral/peaceful land, we would leave the club in our nation's capital only to hear the sounds of 'shock and awe' broadcast from Iraq to our car on the invasion's first night.

But that did nothing to change the part of my being that knows that the moments afforded at a show or during the spinning of a record don't have to be imprisoned there. "Olsen Olsen" can make a whole day better by itself. And so can this "Glosoli" video from their most recent album Takk. Memories abound at the second show as well as ahemamen and Shawna and me made it into the orchestra pit at a sold-out show with some persistence and insider savvy.

#19 s/t - DoMakeSayThink (Constellation, 1999)

Same label as Godspeed, but different flavor. Still 2 drummers...but warm analogue synths, spacey guitar, and lots of lounge. This is their first of soon to be 5 albums and it got this guy and this house started on an instrumental frenzy. Because of these guys, 1 of every 3 record purchases is instrumental. 2 of my favorite musical components are exploited here (just not tender breathing): most tracks go beyond 7 min., and there is repetition aplenty. This collective would one day bring us Broken Social Scene and a host of Canadian side projects. Oh, and this album was my friend for 2 years while I was a courier. In my book this is not to be confused with 'other' post-rock. Their catalogue and diversity attests to that.

1 comment:

Big Cougar said...

Spoken truly and earnestly. These are my two most favorite Papa Shoe records yet.

I'll never forget that show in Washington. I think it was the closest I've ever come to experiencing transcendence. Except maybe when the D'backs came back and beat the Yanks in '01.