Saturday, December 29, 2007

New tunes for the post-Christmas period of resting

Olly gave me the new double EP from Sigur Ros :: the first disc HVARF (above) consists of 5 tracks of full-sound... mostly rarities. The second disc HEIM (below) consists of 6 acoustic versions of previous material... almost a greatest hits except it doesn't go far enough.

Both CDs are awesome in their graceful beauty and ethereal otherworldliness > best combined to make one album rather than consumed separately. Perfect listening for the dark mornings and late evenings of this post-Christmas / pre-New Year period of resting and recuperation.

The CDs complement the film Heima which is one of the best music / concert films I have ever seen. The premise of the film is as simple as it is noble - Sigur Ros give back to their Icelandic roots and community with a series of free concerts in the towns and villages of their country.

There is something truly beautiful and inspiring about this film... in fact EVERYTHING is truly beautiful and inspiring :: the scenery... the photography... the music... the people... the down-to-earthiness and humility of the band in their interviews... the simplicity of the concept... the nobility of the concert > all this effort for free. I am buzzing from this film > it is a joy to watch > a real, tangible joyfulness for the vibrancy of life.

The photography needs singled out for a moment... scenes are captured in a glorified FLICKR-style > the ordinary spaces and places are captured in a moment of extraordinary perfection... the perfect moment... that reminds me of the photography I am exposed to on a daily basis on FLICKR > vanishing perspectives... use of light... framing... symmetry... all used expertly. This isn't some National Geographic expose in all its wonder (even though they are brilliant)... but something simpler, more rooted and ordinary... and yet extraordinary > finding the beauty that is there all along... I hope this makes sense?

The music is awesome... I tend to overuse that word... but it is apt here > truly awesome. ethereal... otherworldly... tender... delicate... special and unique... melodic and orchestral... frantic... awesome! I hope, one day, to see Sigur Ros live > to experience, for myself, their magic.

In the meantime... as well as the DVD... I have ripped the film using Handbrake and have it on my iPod too > watched in bed this morning... while Olly was sleeping.

I strongly recommend this DVD to anyone with a passing appreciation of great music... beautiful scenery and expressive photography.

Another album for this period of downtime... although it is far from ambient or downtempo... is Scottish singer-songwriter Amy MacDonald's debut album This is the life > not an album I would have naturally picked but it has shown me up in all my pretension > it is excellent and would have been sorely missed if it wasn't for my folks buying me it for a present.

Its chock full of acoustic guitar orientated rock music... simple songs... effective sing-a-long choruses... all executed perfectly with some Scottish charm > her voice is lovely in its Glaswegian brogue. Hers is the music of now for Scotland... and it is fitting that she is playing in George Square in Glasgow on Hogmany > along with The View.

This is a world-class lass who deserves a bigger audience. Love it.

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