Sigur Ros
Hvarf/Heim


4.0
excellent

Review

by Lewis P. STAFF
November 5th, 2007 | 46 replies | 17,716 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sigur Ros releases an unsurprisingly beautiful compilation album that serves as a companion piece to the band's documentary, Heima.

While Hvarf-Heim’s most obvious title is that of a compilation, that's only a simple description for the album. Indeed, whether or not Sigur Ros’ compilation of unreleased tracks and acoustic re-releases evokes some warranted snow-covered landscape, it isn’t for lack of atmosphere and tone, Hvarf-Heim full to the brim in carefully constructed and placed settings. Released as a dual album, Hvarf-Heim works as a balance, letting us wander in the ethereal space of Hvarf (“disappear” or “haven”) and come home to the comforting sounds of old, reworked fables with Heim (“home”).

By giving us this balance (like some metaphoric representation of the album title ( ), even in the album’s dual cover art of a frigid, blue field and a warm, orange living room), Sigur Ros can work in a more bombastic manner, Jón ór Birgisson’s Icelandic diction or nonsensical gibberish just part of the story, not the storyteller. With that in mind, Hvarf begins just as uncertain as its title proclaims, the slow and calculated “Salka” channeling the post-rock styling of Explosions in the Sky, building and releasing under Birgisson’s shrill, pain staked cry and distilled, archaic chords. It’s sad and desperate; an elongated, daunting seven-minute opener that hangs in the air like frosted breath. “Salka” (named after bassist Georg Holm’s stepdaughter) embodies the blanketed aloofness of direction that builds to an excited head in “Hljomalind,” a rolling stone of space-y guitars that build into an art house, stadium rock final third and more of what could be Birgisson’s Icelandic gibberish.

Even under the skewed lyricism of Birgisson, Hvarf-Heim is painted with miniscule strokes, the twinkling lullaby of “"Í Gær" (“Yesterday”) breaking into the sinister warps that clouds the commanding drums and bass line. In two different versions, “Von” becomes at once adamant in a slow crescendo under the hollow reverb of stadium guitars and cymbals. In the other, placed appropriately at the end of Heim, it grows from the carpet, a tale of minimalist that slowly drives its production wary drumming into a lazy sense of apathy. With "Hafsol", Hvarf ends as a retreat towards an earth-toned wonder that relies less on actual instruments and calls more upon sounds of thunderstorms and garden noises, though "Ágætis Byrjun" comes out for the best as the acoustic guitar tinged ballad full of front porch ambiguity.

And through Heim, Sigur Ros’ original releases become homespun nostalgic trips, ( )’s “Untitled 3” a persistent staccato piano in “Samskeyti,” led in on diluted organs, the pianos intensity subtly thickening until merely filtering out under faded violins. “Vaka,” or “Untitled 1,” becomes a beautiful trajectory of childish piano notes that work better out from under the reclusive production ( ) placed it in, and Birgisson shines in some wistful perception of hope. It might lose most of its mysterious luster, but there’s enough brewing under the sedated surface to make Hvarf-Heim (and especially Hvarf) a satisfying listen.



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user ratings (287)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
plane
Staff Reviewer
November 5th 2007



6085 Comments


i mean the review sucks and stuff but you can listen to the album here!

http://www.muchmusic.com/music/firstspin/sigurros/

Serpento
November 5th 2007



2351 Comments


untilted?

PHAIL

This sounds pretty intriguing.

Aficionado
November 5th 2007



1027 Comments


The album cover looks like The Jungler's avatar

plane
Staff Reviewer
November 5th 2007



6085 Comments


Sigur Ros stole it.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
November 5th 2007



2806 Comments


irrelevant commentThis Message Edited On 11.05.07

ColdDamnation
November 5th 2007



159 Comments


so wait a second, are the acoustic tracks the live tracks? or are they a seperate cd?

plane
Staff Reviewer
November 5th 2007



6085 Comments


Yeah, they aren't. I didn't add the track list but I just edited it, so yeah. All fixed.This Message Edited On 11.05.07

MrKite
November 5th 2007



5020 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fuck, I can't wait to buy this.This Message Edited On 11.05.07

The Jungler
November 5th 2007



4827 Comments


Sigur Ros stole it.
lol
Teacher inservice day tomorrow, I'll definitley listen to this. Great review.


ColdDamnation
November 5th 2007



159 Comments


I really can't wait to hear acoustic Sigur Ros. I was born to hear that crap

DWittisarockstar
November 5th 2007



1501 Comments


I can't get into Sigur Ros at all, no matter how hard I try.

McP3000
November 5th 2007



3941 Comments


They're amazing, but i dont think i would want to listen to them live.

cometuesday
November 5th 2007



959 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Whoa, totally needing this.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
November 5th 2007



16081 Comments


Look at that sexy staff tag.

plane
Staff Reviewer
November 5th 2007



6085 Comments


tbh I'm just really excited about no negs.

cbmartinez
November 6th 2007



2525 Comments


Only listened to this like once but the new version of "Staraflur" is beautiful, reminds me of that amazing scene in The Life Aquatic.

ohcleverhansyou
November 6th 2007



885 Comments


Yeah congrats on the staff tag, the movie looks like it will be pretty awesome.

br3ad_man
Emeritus
November 6th 2007



2125 Comments


I really wasn't impressed with this album at all. I wish he'd learn a syllable other than "YOUUUUU"

Kiran
Emeritus
November 6th 2007



6000 Comments


Congrats on staff!

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
November 6th 2007



15727 Comments


Come on, Hopelandic isn't that bad.

Youuuusiiiidealawntafiiiiiiiie. Yousawwwwwwwteliiiigghh.

Gotta love Vaka.

Digging: A Sunny Day In Glasgow - Sea When Absent



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