Ágætis Byrjun

>> Saturday, 13 June 2009

So about ten years ago (yesterday, to be precise) a quartet of inspired Icelandic lads known as Sigur Rós launched their brand new album Ágætis Byrjun in their nation’s capital, Reykjavik. The record-dropping party was reportedly stunning, and the initial 1500-copy pressing quickly sold out.

Over the next few months Ágætis Byrjun spread virally, as more and more music lovers became seduced by the band’s elegant, richly textured, heartbreakingly lovely atmospherics. A sound further brought to life by lead singer Jonsi’s audacious cello-bow-across-guitar scraping and piercing eunuch cry.

Sung in a made up language, too!

Countless reports of fans weeping during concerts poured in. Well-deserved superlatives were thrown around. Melody Maker called it the sound, “Of god crying golden tears in heaven”; Internet critics Pitchfork stated, matter-of-factly, how Sigur Rós are, “The first vital band of the 21st century” while I bluntly shouted to anyone within range, “Damn, this is fucking great!”

To get a copy of Ágætis Byrjun I had to import it from their label which meant a hefty forty dollar price tag. $40 well spent. To this day, it is still amongst my favourite records, would definitely make my top five desert island choices, and is the album I have listened to most over the past nine years. I’ve seen Sigur Rós live in Minneapolis twice now, in 2005 and 2008, and if I get a third opportunity, I’ll gladly go again. With luck and some praying to the benevolent Winnipeg music deities, they’ll come here (after all, the gods answered my Iron & Wine prayers).

Yesterday, I had intended on looping the album, in tribute, but the distracting combination of work, game seven of the Stanley Cup, and a few litres of beer prevented this. So, here I am, a day later, listening to this album in its entirety.

And thinking, "Damn…this is still fucking great!"

Video: From 2007, the band performing the record's title track.

Few shows to pass along...

Diemonds are scheduled to rock the Zoo on June 19th w/ Five Hundred Pound Furnace, Word of Mouth and Hellride.

Toronto's These Three Cities are at the Academy on June 25th.

The Cat Empire stop in at the Garrick on November 24th.

Homegrowners X Engine X play the Pyramid on July 11th.

Also from Winnipeg, The Western States perform at the Lo Pub on July 19th w/ Jon-Rae Fletcher.

Infinite Playlist: Sigur Rós - Ágætis Byrjun


Kelsey,  13 June 2009 at 23:15  

Yep, definitely the same guy I saw in a cafe in Reykjavik, chilling, eating breakfast.

Robert 14 June 2009 at 08:57  

And just a couple days ago while in Minneapolis, I passed by the theatre I saw them play in 2001. That was quite a fine gig. Not just for the performance which was as calm and magical as the CD. The audience was well behaved and quiet. Show report here ... http://rszkolni.blogspot.com/2001_10_01_archive.html

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