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Recent discoveries from Iceland’s music scene

Blog
Recent discoveries from Iceland’s music scene

31.05.2019

Text: Cem Kayıran
Collage: Sadi Güran

Iceland music scene, where originality, new perspectives and approaches are always abundant, is livelier than ever these days. From multi-layered forms and minimal approaches to a 30-member chorus and hand-made robotic instruments; here are some of our recent discoveries and suggestions from Iceland’s recent music journey as part of Nordic Film Days.

Indriði

One of the new generation actors of Iceland’s DIY punk scene, Indriði has followed its own path after its introduction to the scene together with hardcore band Muck. The musician has taken up a fine-tuned song making, with unexpected musical flows and brave lyrics on topics like death, family and depression. Indriði, who has released just two albums so far, has built a musical universe with strong references to names like Sun Kil Moon and Smog.

KÓRUS

A thirty-member chorus or a super-group... Founded a few years ago, all of KÓRUS’ members are names that have been active in Iceland music scene for years. KÓRUS comes together weekly at Mengi art gallery and sings the song composed by its members in a chorus format. Also, KÓRUS recently collaborated with one of Iceland’s most famous bands, Múm, for a special project.  

H.DÓR

Halldór Eldjárn, a drummer, composer and computer scientist, is also known from the band SYKUR. The musician, who uses live drums together with his hand-made robotic instruments as well as analogue equipments for his solo project, has also took part in the recording sessions of Ólafur Arnalds’ latest album, Re:member. In his live performances, H.DÓR collaborates with his brother Úlfur Eldjárn, a member of Apparat Organ Quartet and a synthesizer genius. The duo’s sonic universe is built on Nordic melodies and polyrhytmic elements.

JFDR 

The voice of mesmerizing vocals from the band Samaris, Jófríður Ákadóttir, is the daughter of Iceland’s leading composer, Áki Ásgeirsson. Jófríður Ákadóttir was just 14 when she founded the band Pascal Pinon in 2009. Lately, she is focused on her solo project JFDR. JFDR’s debut album Brazil, filled with poetic narrations built on electronic layers, was produced together with well-rounded musician Shahzad Ismaily, and released two years ago.

Kári Egilsson

Kári Egilsson has been playing the piano since he was seven and is now known as the new ‘wonder kid’ of Iceland’s classical jazz scene. 17 years old today, Egilsson is continuing his studies at Reykjavik College of Music, and has also been accepted to the prestigious Berklee College of Music with scholarship. In 2018 Egilsson received the Desmond Child Anthem Award, which is given by ASCAP Foundation to young and child musicians since 2009. Nowadays the young talent is focusing on his own jazz-rock fusion, and we are pretty sure that we will be hearing his name more often in the future.

Reykjavíkurdætur

Founded in 2013, Reykjavíkurdætur is one of the most exciting bands of Iceland’s hip-hop scene. The only hip-hop band in the country that is formed only by women, Reykjavíkurdætur took the stage with 17 to 19 member formations in the past years. Now down to a 10-member ‘core group’, the band talks about women oriented topics such as women’s role in society, politics, gender equality and also heartbreaks. The crew took the stage at important festivals such as Eurosonic, Sónar and Fusion, while also releasing their crowd-funded debut album.

Vök

Probably already on the radar of melancholic-pop lovers, Vök came out as the winner of Músiktilraunir, a competition which also brought in Of Mice and Men to Iceland’s music scene. Heavily influenced by the 80’s, Vök jumped in to 2000’s R&B scene with brave and strong messages carried by dreamy sounds. The band reached its final four-member formation in 2017, and their romantic, groovy sound universe offers wonderful bass riffs coupled with naive vocals and melodies.

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