Wanna feel inadequate? Try describing the music of Sigur Ros.
I only came across these guys a few days ago. Over at Largehearted Boy, they do a series called Book Notes, in which authors talk about the music that they listened to while writing their novel. Lauren Groff, author of The Monsters Of Templeton, talked about Sigur Ros’ track ‘Glosoli’, saying there’s this wonderful half-marching beat and water background, and the singer’s eerily gorgeous voice floats and feels ancient and powerful. Even after thousands of listens, it still makes me want to weep.
That was more than enough for me to track down some of their stuff, and I’ve been thanking Lauren from afar ever since. Incidentally, I’ve never read any of her stuff, but I think I’m going to have to now – she also talks about Jeff Buckley and Regina Spektor, so the woman’s clearly got taste.
Back to Sigur Ros. Bear with me while I fumble along here and try to describe their awesomeness. A couple of facts about the band first. They’re from Iceland and formed in 1994. They’re named after lead singer Jonsi Birgisson’s little sister Sigurros, which in English means ‘Victory Rose’ (which is also a great name for a band). Keyboardist Kjartan Sveinsson is the only band member with any musical training and it’s ridiculous to think that a band with so little formal training could be capable of such a majestic sound.
Wikipedia states their 2002 album ( ) – not a typo, that’s what it’s called – employed the use of Vonlenska, also known as Hopelandic, a constructed language of nonsense syllables which resembles the phonology of the Icelandic language. It has also been said that the listener is supposed to interpret their own meanings of the lyrics which can then be written in the blank pages in the album booklet. They’re a little eccentric too, which is always welcome in my book.
Now the music itself. I’m usually quite lyrics-driven, which doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the odd pop tune, but I guess songs that employ a good turn of phrase are often more attractive to me. The fact that I haven’t got a clue as to what Sigur Ros are saying means that I’m not distracted by words, with the vocals instead becoming a musical element of communication and not an intellectual one.
And now I find myself forced to use adjectives only as I can’t seem to construct a proper sentence that I feel does them justice. So, here’s the best I can do. Epic. Ambient. Ethereal. Other-worldly. Vaporous. Celestial. Ancient. Uplifting.
Why are you still reading?
Check them out below: