Sigur Rós – in concert from Theatre Of The Living Arts – Philadelphia – September 22, 2001
Sigur Rós in concert to end the week. Recorded live at Theatre Of The Living Arts in Philadelphia on September 22, 2001. Another dose of much needed sonic comfort food tonight. Iceland’s Sigur Rós fills the bill.
Jón Þór “Jónsi” Birgisson (guitar and vocals), Georg Hólm (bass) and Ágúst Ævar Gunnarsson (drums) formed Sigur Rós in Reykjavík in January 1994. The band’s name means Victory Rose. They took their name from Jónsi’s younger sister Sigurrós, who was born a few days before the band was formed. They soon won a record deal with the local Sugarcubes-owned record label Bad Taste, because they thought the falsetto vocals would appeal to teenage girls. In 1997, they released Von (pronounced [vɔːn], meaning “hope”) and in 1998 a remix collection named Von brigði ([vɔːn ˈprɪɣðɪ]). This name is also Icelandic wordplay: Vonbrigði means “disappointment”, but Von brigði means “variations on Von”. The band was joined by Kjartan Sveinsson on keyboards in 1998. He is the only member of Sigur Rós with musical training, and has contributed most of the orchestral and string arrangements for their later work.
International acclaim came with 1999’s Ágætis byrjun ([ˈaʊ̯kaɪ̯tɪs ˈpɪrjʏn] “A Good Beginning”). The album’s reputation spread by word of mouth over the following two years. Soon critics worldwide were praising it effusively, and the band was playing support to established acts such as Radiohead.
Three songs, “Ágætis byrjun”, “Svefn-g-englar”, and a live take, from a summer 2000 concert in Denmark, of the then-unreleased “Njósnavélin” (later ‘unnamed’ “Untitled #4”) appeared in the Cameron Crowe film Vanilla Sky. The former two also subsequently appeared in the US version of the television series Queer as Folk. Their music has also appeared in the TV series 24 with “Ný batterí”, and CSI with “Svefn-g-englar”. In 2004, Wes Anderson used “Starálfur” in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou as did the Emmy-winning 2005 TV film The Girl in the Café. In Enki Bilal’s Immortel (Ad Vitam) the song “Hjartað hamast (bamm bamm bamm)” is used. The song “Svefn-g-englar” was also used on V on 24 November 2009, and features prominently in Café de Flore released in 2011.
After the release of Ágætis byrjun, the band became well known for Jónsi’s signature style of reverb accentuated guitar work using a cello’s bow.
Still very much together but with personnel changes over the years. Their latest album, Odin’s Raven Magic was released in December of last year. It was based on a work originally debuted in 2002.
Enjoy the respite and the magic.