In Living Rooms, Homes, Beautiful Music as a Ritual: Olafur Arnalds; Matthew Flook; Free

For centuries, music was something made in a living room, made at home. It was a brief fluke of the 20th Century that music came out of a heroic process in a hidden-away studio. But if the gold-plated, magical record is threatened, some artists are trying to bring the daily ritual of home music making back. Ólafur Arnalds and Matthew Flook are each making gorgeous, cinematic-ambient tracks, and each have made projects that involve doing so on a regular basis in their homes. Let’s listen. Arnalds has been making some of the finest scores anywhere, and now has earned the …

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Sound of Threads: Music Extended Onto Strands of Icelandic Wool [AV Installations]

Sound of Threads from Bertrand Lanthiez on Vimeo. Satisfying multiple senses at once, Paris-based artist Bertrand Lanthiez shares his “Sound of Threads.” It’s a pair of audiovisual installations – and beautiful music – that combines musical elements with frail beams of light across webs of wool and dangling pieces of cloth. The interaction is simple triggering, but the result transforms his delicate sounds into a textile, material reality. And the music holds up on its own, too – a rarity, to have music from an installation that can also be self-contained.

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Crisp Beats from Iceland’s Magnoose, Free to Download, with Videos

Is anyone in Iceland not a musician/producer? Given the island nation has an absurdly-tiny population, there must be some explanation that so much music pours out. Well, we’re going back there again. This weekend’s selection is the lovely music of Magnoose, aka Magnus Skarp of Reykjavik. This little-known producer is putting out some really fine-quality music, in the form of clean, chilly-cool grooves. He labels these “dubstep,” and the tilt is there. But while there are some broken beat influences, the overwhelming impression is of pristine, perfectly-designed percussion, crystal-clear in the uncluttered foreground. Given the tendency of many emerging producers …

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From Empty Bookshelves, Music Video Composes in Form: Chat with Harald Haraldsson

Baarregaard & Briem – “Love With You” from Harald Haraldsson on Vimeo. It begins with the hopping groove of a house track, and it’s shot using only light, projection, and an array of empty bookshelves. But somehow in the volumes of those shelves, Icelandic director Harald Haraldsson creates an abstract expressionist composition, rotating in fragmented spaces. The black-and-white narrative behind then takes on a kind of architecture – stereotyped emotions, confined in structures like a sort of neon-colored neuro-scientific portrait. It adds a new layer of drama to the dancefloor-friendly ballad, the work of Baarregaard & Briem, a collaboration between …

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Nonstop from Iceland, the perfect soundtracks to your winter. Photo (CC-BY) James Cridland.

Cool Yule: Iceland’s Bedroom Community Spins Wintry, Eclectic Releases [Listen]

It’s easy to be bleak about new music releases, the vast quantities of new work spreading before you in their sameness like a blizzard – plenty of particles, but all a white wash. When feelings like that hit you – or the depressed mood that might strike during midwinter in the far reaches of the Northern Hemisphere – there’s a solution. You can warm yourself with good friends in intimate surroundings. And that’s what Iceland’s Bedroom Community collective and label are all about. This group has literally assembled a group of close friends for “intimate” musical connections. Getting in on …

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The Intimacy of Gesture, in Videos for Sigur Ros, aka Let’s All Run Through the City

Sigur Rós: Varúð from Sigur Rós Valtari Mystery Films on Vimeo. Perhaps there’s no science to transforming music into visual medium, any more than there is a single way to translate a poem from one language to another, or a single way to feel. But because music is a tongue that can speak in a mysterious syntax, it’s all the more fascinating when the image we see is one we can share. It’s like sharing a dream. So, as Sigur Rós shares their new album Valtari with a series of filmmakers, with no instructions or intervention on interpretation, you see …

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The Intimacy of Gesture, in Videos for Sigur Ros, aka Let's All Run Through the City

Sigur Rós: Varúð from Sigur Rós Valtari Mystery Films on Vimeo. Perhaps there’s no science to transforming music into visual medium, any more than there is a single way to translate a poem from one language to another, or a single way to feel. But because music is a tongue that can speak in a mysterious syntax, it’s all the more fascinating when the image we see is one we can share. It’s like sharing a dream. So, as Sigur Rós shares their new album Valtari with a series of filmmakers, with no instructions or intervention on interpretation, you see …

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Sigur Ros: INNI, New Project Trailer

Out of an explosion of terrifying industrial noise, through a murky haze of retro-tinged monochromatic texture, Sigur Rós emerge in an enigmatic teaser for a new project dubbed INNI. In case that arresting grind of gears and aggressive cacophony don’t square you away, you’re treated to film of the band playing and more-characteristic, lullaby-like tunes. It remains extraordinary to me what a phenomenon Sigur Rós and, via bandmates, Jónsi have become. These Icelandic maestros have made all manner of sonic experimentation wildly popular, bringing their moody, sometimes-cinematic, meandering compositional genius around the planet. Some music I like, personally, is very …

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desert

Led by Deru, a Wonderful Band of Artists to Head to Iceland to Make a Soundtrack, Film

A merry band of complementary filmmakers, photographers, and musicians, a curated ensemble perfectly fitted to the landscape, are heading to remote Iceland to make images and a musical soundtrack inspired by the landscape and its people. Photographers Tim Navis + Kim Høltermand and film collective Scenic are heading up the visual component, while composer and electronic producer Deru has assembled the musicians. Improvisation is intended to be a guiding force, say the creators. With the assistance of a community organized on Kickstarter, it’ll also be crowd-funded. In addition to the obligatory, pretty photo book and prints and boxed set of …

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