SPOTLIGHT ON: Icelandic Music


While another Icelandic musician is releasing her album today (ahem), we thought we’d spotlight some other Icelandic musicians in the burgeoning scene. Iceland has a centuries long tradition of folk music and classical instrumentation, birthing a wealth of mystical and fascinating musicians. With only 320,000 people, the “scene” in Iceland involves the whole island, with musical collectives and independent festivals incomparably popular among Icelandic youth. There is often a distinct “sound” to Icelandic music, which regularly includes odd instrumentation such as violins, accordions, and strange percussion.

No Smoking has compiled some Icelandic music for you to try out.

Samaris: Góða tungl
Samaris is a trio of teenager who blend spacey synths, clarinets, and trap drums to create a fascinating blend of electronic music (witch house?) and trip-hop.

Oyama: Siblings
You can find Oyama on bandcamp with their hazy and dream-pop drenched debut album Coolboy. They describe themselves as “sleepy melodies wrapped in puffy clouds of noise and angsty peach fuzz”.

Lay Low: I Forget It’s There

Lovísa Elísabet Sigrúnardóttir, who releases music under the name “Lay Low”, encompasses folk music, blues, and electronic in her piano-driven creations. Her first LP was recorded entirely in Icelandic encompassing poetry written by the Icelandic women over the last 200 years.

Cell7- cellf
As her facebook describes, cell7 is “emcee artistry straight outta Iceland”. cellf is decidedly non-Nordic sounding, but her flow is cool as ice.

Reykjavíkurdætur: Tíminn Tapar Takti

Reykjavíkurdætur, which translates to Reykjavík’s Daughters, is a hip-hop group comprised of (seven?) women. Though the information about the group in English is scarce and unclear, the group discusses contemporary and political issues through a feminist lens. Tíminn Tapar Takti is an intimate song about desire, uncertainty, and womanhood. You can click the CC button to see English translations.

Kría Brekkan: Place of You

Kría Brekkan was married to Avey Tare, but she is best known for her work in the Icelandic band Múm. A native piano player and multi-instrumentalist, Brekkan is known for her high, whispy voice and creative use of loop pedals. Place of You is a song written about Avey from her album Uterus Water.

Photo by Berit Watkin.

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