From the opening crackle of ‘Boy 1904’ from the forthcoming Riceboy Sleeps by Jonsi and Alex, I was immediately transported back to a huge Catholic church in Edinburgh where I happened to stumble upon an evening service. There were only a dozen people scattered throughout the pews and the service had already begun as I took a seat. I let the words of the priest wash over me as I gazed at the arching ceiling and solid stone columns. I felt calm and moved and safe all at once.
Though I’m not religious, I found myself constantly taken aback by the depth of feeling I experienced when visiting cathedrals and churches in the UK. I think it had something to do with the age of the buildings – some of them were over 800 years old and took decades to build and I couldn’t help but marvel at the time and money and effort and sheer perseverance that must’ve gone into them. They’re so solid and steady and the fact that they’re still standing after hundreds of years is pretty amazing – we don’t seem to build anything to last any more. Being inside these places never failed to make me feel calm and peaceful, and ‘Boy 1904’ with its crackly opening and soaring choral voices has the same effect.
I’ve often described the music of Sigur Ros in this way also, and it makes sense that this track does the same thing, as Riceboy Sleeps is the side project of Sigur Ros’ lead singer Jonsi and his boyfriend Alex. Go here to download ‘Boy 1904’ – all you need to do is enter your email address and you can hear it for yourself. I’ll certainly be interested in checking out the rest of the album when it comes out later this month.
I leave you with this acoustic version of ‘Heysatan’. It’s from last year’s Hvarf-Heim and it’s all kinds of wonderful. But then, crazymad SR lover that I am – I would say that anyway, wouldn’t I?
Image: I also get quite a kick out of churchyards. I don’t have a photo of the church I described earlier – the image above is from Greyfriar’s Kirk in Edinburgh.