‘( )’ – Sigur Ros.
One thing that I have learnt about Icelandic artists and their music is that they are so deeply inspired by their country and its beauty. They give credit to their land for their ability, and feel that because of this they owe it ‘favours’ as it were.
It was for this reason that Sigur Ros decided to end their 2006 tour in their home country performing a number of small, free, unannounced shows at various places around Iceland. This would have been totally epic; all of a sudden announcing that one of the most popular and alternative bands in the world, was going to play for free right where you live tomorrow night. Oh I dream. Sigur Ros documented this small cluster of unannounced shows on their DVD; ‘Heima’; which in Icelandic means ‘Home’.
This DVD sparked my fire to write about their most recent album; ‘( )’. I don’t know if the album is actually supposed to be called ‘Brackets’, but all it says on the album cover and on the listing in itunes is ‘( )’. How Icelandic of them. Short, succinct, and what the hell?!
Each track on this album is nameless. They are all entitled; Sigur 1 (untitled), Sigur 2 (untitled), Sigur 3 (untitled) and so forth. It’s all very different to the way artists usually write and sequence their music, but there is a certain maturity that hangs about this album that is far above mainstream artists, or artists of the western world. ‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would sound as sweet” ~ Shakespeare.
I really think that their music speaks for itself, and this album is sung in nonsense; a language dubbed by the lead singer as ‘Volenska’ (or the English translation ‘Hopelandic’). ‘One day my mind just abandoned English altogether and adapted Hopelandic instead, thinking only in sighs of emotions.’ ~ Jonsi. Sigur Ros took a great leap of faith singing in Hopelandic, and to explain it at its best is to describe it as soft utterances flowing through an emotional channel of human sound being produced through the most pure of human deliveries; the voice. It’s almost like speaking in tongues; a special language where only you know what is said. Jonsi, the lead singer of Sigur Ros, says that Hopelandic is a collection of sounds that have the freedom to be interpreted in whatever way the listener feels; Hopelandic will mean different things to different people.
This is what I mean by ‘a certain maturity about the music’; it has such freedom and fun in it. Sigur Ros has taken their music to such a deeper level with their ‘( )’ album. It is wholesome and unselfish as it was made specifically for them and specifically for you all at once. I mean, people like different types of music because they can relate to it in different ways. Sigur Ros has left this album completely out for interpretation by the listener; so how can one not completely enjoy this music; it’s not personal for anyone except for you.
The sounds on this album are purely melancholic; like ‘Sigur 2 (untitled)’ and ‘Sigur 6 (untitled). They delve into your emotion and express it. I wouldn’t simply classify Sigur Ros only as a ‘band’, but also a ‘process’. Listening to their music feels healing; sounds that don’t necessarily speak to you, but in all ways speak you and clean you out. Sigur Ros is smooth, melodic, harmonic, consistent, soothing, gentle, easy and peaceful. It’s hard to describe their sounds individually because the importance doesn’t lye within their individual sounds, but within their sounds as a collective and the vibe that rattles off it.
Sigur Ros put a lot of work into their music. Emotionalism is a frustrating thing, and when you are in the business of pouring your heart out through your guitar, unless you get it just right it is even more frustrating when you get it wrong. It’s like trying to speak the native language in a country you have never been to before, and no one can understand you even though you are trying really hard to get your words across. Some people will guess what you are trying to say, but they will never get it right, unless you can speak it to them in their language exactly the way it is mean to be said. Music can be like this. You have to weigh and measure every sound against your emotion, otherwise people get lost in translation.
Even though Sigur Ros pour their own persons out through their music, they want to make it personal enough so that whoever may be listening can also pour themselves into it… if that makes sense. Everything in Hopelandic is up for interpretation, but Sigur Ros use their sounds to guide you. In other words; take it as you hear it, but through their sounds, Sigur Ros are actually encouraging you to do so… trippin’.
People fall in love with this album. People fall in love with this music. I would definitely recommend this to anybody; absolutely anyone. I can think of the most Christian person I know who is totally against any secular music at all, and they would love this. A Goth would even love this; if that’s not too broad a statement.
Overall I would love to give this album 5 STARS. Only my second 5 stars out of every review I have written to this day. It is contentment in musical form.