Sigur Rós – Hafsól
Posted on Apr 24th, 2008 by Alan @ 1:23 pm

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Sigur Rós are my new obsession. I’ve had their second album, Agaetis Byrjun, for a few years and have always loved it, but for some reason I’d never laid my sticky mitts on anything else by them. That might well be because I don’t know anyone else who likes them and wasn’t aware when they had new stuff coming out – although my guess is that I do know people who like them, I just have never found out about it. I listen to a lot of Sigur Rós, mate, but I don’t like to talk about it. Mate.

My regard for them shot up a couple of months ago though. Whilst shopping for completely unrelated deviant suicide mosh on Amazon, their recommendation widget flashed up a DVD called Heima. It looked interesting, and was duly purchased. Days later, in fact the same day that the DVD dropped through the letter box, I got my weekly email from The Filmhouse in Edinburgh to tell me that amongst the various weird and wonderful films they’d be showing the following week was Heima. I decided to leave the DVD shrink-wrapped for the time being, and watch it for the first time on the big screen.

It’s one of those films that holds every last iota of your attention from start to finish. Beautifully shot, and obviously with a stunning soundtrack, it’s the story of their 2006 homecoming tour of Iceland. A tour with a difference – all 13 shows were free, and they avoided typical venues, instead performing in a derelict fish factory, on an environmental protest site beside a hydro-energy dam, a school classroom, etc. That visit to the cinema was the first time I’ve ever been part of a standing ovation at the end of a film!

Needless to say I was inspired to order the rest of their back catalogue as soon as I could, and they’ve hardly been out of the CD player ever since. The fact that they’re completely incomprehensible to someone with no knowledge of the Icelandic language just adds to the experience IMHO – I’ve no idea what any of the songs are called (and on one album called () none of them have names in any case) so I invariably listen to their CDs from start to finish – I’ll often get the urge to listen to “that one that goes whooo-ooo-ooooooo-ooo in the chorus” but that’s an itch that can’t be scratched, as I can never remember which album it’s on or what track number it is.

My current favourite doesn’t go whooo-ooo-ooooooo-ooo in the chorus, although it does in one of the verses. And I deliberately memorised it’s name so I could blog about it – it’s “Hafsól” from the CD that partners the Heima DVD, Hvarf/Heim. Buy them both now, along with everything else they’ve ever done.

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