Artisdir – Hvel
It’s almost impossible to talk about ambient sounding Icelandic pop without mentioning the inimitable Sigur Ros, but it has to be said that there seems to be something in the arctic water.
With rich tones and chord progressions that swim and swirl around your ears, Artisdir’s music swells almost out of control and times, like the ocean tides pulling back and forth with their unrelenting strength. At times things take a slide towards the sounds of Zero 7, particularly on ‘Things You Said’, while ‘Someone Who Cares’ is more of a campfire acoustic guitar number that offers to warm the soul. There is pleasure to be found here in the vocal harmonies that at times feel like a winter coat, surrounding the listener and protecting them from the harsh outer elements. There’s a mix of songs in English and Icelandic, and it is possible that for an English speaking listener the Icelandic songs feel somewhat more intriguing and exotic. In particular, the Radiohead style guitar work of ‘Friðþægingin’ adds a depth and gravity to things, contrasting with the rich and straightforward tones of the cello, before ultimately unfolding into a manic and fraught barrage of string scrapes and hefty drum batterings.