Sigur Rós

Making ethereal, ambient soundcapes that seem to grow from the stark, icy, volcanic landscapes that they inherit, Reykjavik’s Sigur Ros built a loyal cult following, gaining huge respect from critics and peers. As teenage friends, singer and guitarist Jónsi, bassist Georg Holm, and drummer Ágúst Ævar Gunnarsson formed the band in 1994. They signed with the Sugacubes-owned label Bad Taste, releasing debut album Von (1997) in their native Iceland. The international release of Ageatus Byrjun (1999) brought the lads to worldwide attention, winning them the prestigious Shortlist Music Prize for albums that have sold less than 500,000 copies in the US. Equally beguiling and baffling, vocalist Jonsi is known for his falsetto voice, playing guitar with a cello bow and his unique lyrics of made-up, gobbledegook words referred to as Vonlenska or Hopelandic. After the success of fifth studio album Meo Suo I Eyrum Vio Spilum Endalaust (2008), which peaked at Number 5 in the UK and Number 15 in the US, the band took an indefinite hiatus in January 2010. But it was just one year later they issued the double live album Inni. 2012’s Valtari turned away from their growing melodicism, doubling down on their roots in sonic landscapes. 2013’s Kveikur hardened their sound, and after some line-up changes the band contributed to a variety of television shows including The Simpsons, Black Mirror, and Game of Thrones, on which they made a cameo appearance. In 2020 they put out Odin’s Raven Magic, a conceptual operatic piece about Norse gods that the band had first performed nearly 20 years before but had never officially released until this LP.

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