I adore Sigur Ros. That`s the only way I can describe it… I simply adore them. Er, that is to say: I adore their music.
Long before I had first begun to listen to their music, my peers had been recommending them to me. “I`m not crazy about their sound,” a friend of mine said in early `01, “but it`s perfect for you.”
Unfortunately, I get this sort of referral all the time… the rise in ambient shoegazing noise bands of the last ten or so years (and my own interest in experimental arrangements) has made this a rather commonplace occurance for me.
Though I have, on rare occasions, been introduced to under-the-radar bands that I have embraced (Aarktica, the Album Leaf, Godspeed You! Black Emperor), there are many more whose work I find tepid and artless.
When I did finally bother about Sigur Ros (in the late Winter/early Spring of `02), I was awestruck at what I was hearing. Simply awestruck.
Sigur Ros composes the score to my dream-filled sleep. A soundscape of dense percussion and soaring guitars can suddenly melt into the gentle minimalist harmony of Jonsi Birgisson`s quiet falsetto Hoplandic vocalizations. Like trickling water slowly rolling down a glacier, under the heat of the Sun`s light. Epic. Powerful. Complex and simple. Simply beautiful. O, but I digress…
Last November they released Heima (which translates as both “at home” and “homeland”), their first ever film, with an accompanying double-album soundtrack. Today I learned that Sigur Ros released Heima on YouTube, in its entirety and free of charge.
Filmed over two weeks last summer, when the band performed a series of free and unannounced concerts in Iceland (just the sort of thing I would love to do, were I a rich and famous musician). Barnstorming small-town city parks, out of the way coffee shops, tiny community halls, and abandoned cannery warehouses: Sigur Ros weaves a sonorus tapestry throughout the land of their birth, music wailing and reverberating off of canyon walls and willow trees.
Heima is visually stunning in that “too beautiful to be real” sense. Landscapes contrasting lush fields of soft green grasses and hard wet rocky outcrops. Fresh water running freely down pristine mountain valleys, stoic slate-eyed Northmen in heavy wool sweaters, blood-red kites being sailed by pale blonde-headed children, and music… music of a rare and precious kind.