The vinyl is still on the plate when I decide to take a pen and a sheet to describe what I felt, what I feel every time after being absorbed by a listening that you never forget easily.
The overall impression is that I witnessed to a long story, with moments of extreme delicacy and poetry. But it takes heart and sensibility to listen to this record, to enter its logic, to accept its hypnotic slowness. It’s not something you can enjoy while you are distracted, standing on the border. You have to be brave and cross the line, if you want to enter the enchantment.
I’m talking about the record known among the rock spirits as “the parentheses one”: (). The artists are the Sigur Rós, who were born in Iceland in 1994, on the same day as the sister of the frontman, Jón Þór Birgisson a.k.a. Jónsi: the little Sigurrós. The name, quite common among Icelandic women, means “Rose of victory”.
It is the masterpiece of a band destined to mark its name in the history of rock: because of the electronic experimentation, the elegant, atypical and hypnotic voice of Jónsi, the atmospheres suspended and incredibly rarefied, inspired by the spirit of their mysterious land, Iceland.
The record was supposed to be recorded in a dismissed base in the north of Iceland, but then the band preferred to change direction, after careful inspection, and to detect a small land near Reykjavik. They built a studio, then they broke the roof, in order to find the best acoustics for the album. The sound came up in an unusual way: it appears splendidly expressionist. None of the eight tracks have a name, no lyrics are understandable. Everything is sung in Hopelandic, the neo-language which become protagonist of their works after the first records in Icelandic. There is no grammar, nor a dictionary to translate it: it is a disjointed code, composed of letters amalgamated for pure sound purpose.
It’s hard to elevate a track in particular as a representative of this album, which should actually be enjoyed as a whole. But if emotion has a sound, it would be summarised in track n. 2, the most touching one.
How easy is to dream.
Dario Giardi loves music, photography and writing. He is the author of “Trip among the notes. The Secrets of Musical Theory and Harmony”. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.