386 of 1001 Albums: Sigur Ros’ Agaetis Byrjun

Well Sigur Ros is one of the bands that has emerged from Iceland to show the major talent that resides there. The whole album also seems to be sang in the language there as well. There are a couple of different languages in the album though, one known as gibberish. The album is a little puzzling for those who might have to get used to what they are hearing, but does have some beautiful moments, and moments that run a little long.

History: The English translations of the song titles haven’t even been made official, so I assume the lyrics still have some obscurity as well. What this song does drive a lot off of though is the emotional sound of the instrumentals that are building up the tunes. The album didn’t garner a lot of attention upon release, but did build a lot of exposure in Iceland on the radio, and eventually at the reward shows as they released singles. The album has since to grow to have worldwide attention with magazines often topping it as some of the music in the past decade.

Vocals: The vocals have a higher quality to them, but it does go with the ethereal vibe of the music. The tone they create is theatrical and it does make for imagining a good movie with it. The vocals though don’t always fit with what my listening mood is, and it sometimes does remind me of a fantasy world. I like the emotion that is conveyed, but the range is really high when vocals are merged into the tune.

Instrumentals: The instrumental arrangement is the best part of the album. The guitar, bass, keyboard, guitar, and drums sound like so many more instruments, and since they are going for a tone that is more ethereal it does fit that epic vibe. There are moments where the tunes really stand out instrumentally but since each song usually runs over seven minutes at least it gets a little old, and you get lost in the tune that doesn’t do anything extreme after several minutes. I liked the vibe of the instrumentals at times though, and there were moments I was caught off guard putting together a story with it though.

Recording: The recording definitely doesn’t like 1999. The music is definitely ahead of it’s time in arrangement and in production. There are tunes that could still be relevant in meaning and usage for catching the emotions that modern songs do. You can hear that progressive aspect of the album. I think the album just could have been better summed up because it feels very overextended.

Sigur Ros may have deeply departed from their first endeavor on an album, but this second one has landed the start to the long career they have had, and even the celebrity status of their music. I think the length of the songs were a bit difficult for me to get past because I can’t find any reason I would personally be intrigued to listen to a ten minute ethereal toned song that often. It’s got a lot of talent though, and it added a modern touch to music.

Rating 7 of 10.

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