Music Review

Valtari by Sigur Ros


If you look over to the right you’ll see a list of albums that I’m currently listening to. That list basically serves as a preview of what will be reviewed in the future, unless I have no opinion about it, which I can guarantee will be a rare occurrence.

The problem with that list is that I’ve stuck myself in a quandary where I’m listening to a number of bands’ albums where I just know what to expect and without extrapolating which albums those are (because that list to the right will change as I change the albums I’m listening to for review). Sigur Ros‘ new album Valtari fits right into that description. They’re Sigur Ros, ask yourself if you’re familiar with their music: What do you expect from a Sigur Ros album? It’s an easy question with an easy answer.

Valtari is an album that’s going to give quiet, soft, muted, beautiful soundscapes that slowly build with a singer whose falsetto voice sings lyrics in a mixture of Icelandic and occasionally in a gibberish version of Icelandic called Hopelandic.

Sounds just like any Sigur Ros album review right? Yup.

I agree with all the cliche stuff above, but I also want to add to cliche if I could. When I listen to Valtari (or any other Sigur Ros album for that matter) I get a similar feeling Sigur Ros‘ bass player Georg Hólm gets, I feel like I’m traveling up an ice mountain alone. And less than the mountain or the ice the thing I get most from the music is that feeling of loneliness. It’s a beautiful wonderful emptiness.

The problem is that’s the same feeling with every record. This band is one of those bands I suspect people who like them will always feel that the first album they heard is the best album. My favorite by far is the first album I heard of theirs, Untitled {actually it’s called ()}. To me everything else they’ve released sound like a lesser version of that album (one done almost entirely in the Hopelandic gibberish language). Most hipsters, or people that were turned on to this band before me, or people that are flat out liars who want to sound cool will claim or say that Agaetis Byrjun, the band’s first album is the best album.

If you’ve never given this band a chance and you want to experience what beautiful wonderful loneliness means then by my above theory you can go ahead and choose to start with Valtari. Despite all of that Untitled is still by far their best album in my eyes and that likely won’t change. (How cool would it be if they really surprised me one day and that did change!)

One thing that Sigur Ros has done that’s original is they’ve given a number of film makers the same budget to produce music videos for the album that Sigur Ros gets no say in. Basically the directors will take the music and do whatever they want with it. Because of this little interesting tidbit the rating rose to seven, just the music though it’s probably closer to a 6 because I’ll stay around though to watch the videos that are produced until they’re all released.

The first and second of those videos are after the jump