Asgeir
In The Silence


3.5
great

Review

by RHCP1999 USER (19 Reviews)
February 8th, 2014 | 11 replies


Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Moulding the post-rock oddities of Sigur Rós in to a more malleable form ensures that Ásgeir's debut is a folktronica treat.

Since the arrival of Bjork and Sigur Rós in the 1990's, Iceland has developed into music’s geographical curio. Perhaps it is the land’s extreme isolation, pristine nature and clandestine mythology that guide even the most ordinary of musicians to melodic bliss, or perhaps it’s just that these guys are more talented than the rest of the world. With this in mind, it seems staggering that ten percent of the Icelandic populous own a copy of Ásgeir’s debut LP, Dýrð * dauðaþögn, which translates to In the Silence.

The conception of In the Silence is as unique as the sounds that are contained within it. Ásgeir began the composition of the album by placing a melody to poetry written by his 72-year-old father, before employing various family members to perform on everything from bass to saxophone for the albums recording. From here, fellow friend and famed American indie rocker John Grant translated the Icelandic lyrics into English for the albums international incarnation.

Unsurprisingly, the Icelandic landscape is perhaps the albums dominant sculptor. The opening track, “Higher,” commences with shrill puffs of air before slowly dissipating in favour of a gentle piano melody that compliments Ásgeir’s brooding falsetto, one that evokes memories of Bon Iver’s vocal renderings of his Wisconsin winterscape. The prevalence of Iceland’s landscape is not ignored in the lyrical content either; “Head in the Snow’s” looped humming refrain forms the bedrock for several metaphors on nature and sadness, “biting cold takes its toll/ in the depths of the mind/ damaging happiness.” However, perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Ásgeir’s lyricism is how the gloominess of his land juxtaposes with the vibrant instrumentation, most notably on the sparse “In Harmony” and the balmy “Summer Guest” where he awaits the “pure tones” of the songbird in the short Icelandic summer.

In the Silence’s most impressive aspect is that it avoids the pitfalls of the sometimes cliché acoustic singer-songwriter genre without sounding as abstract as the post-rock of Sigur Rós. The lead single, and most impressive number on the album, “King and Cross” bounces through its three minute lifespan thanks funky acoustic fretwork, swirling synth motifs, DJ samples and a bass line that Flea would be proud of. Neither folktronica nor pure acoustic folk, “King and Cross” see’s Ásgeir hitting upon a unique formula that transcends through the record’s following tracks with varying levels of success from the soothing “Was there Nothing"” to the disappointingly washed out closer “Soothe this Pain.”

While I can see one in ten Irish people enjoying the derivative tones of Gareth Brooks this summer, I do not envisage the same fate for Ásgeir. Nevertheless as a debut LP, In the Silence is a stunning effort. Though transcribing the artic Icelandic landscape through the medium of song is nothing new, it is how Ásgeir applies this practise through the mainstream listening ear that makes In the Silence such an enjoyably soothing record, despite an odd sprinkling of dull moments.



Recent reviews by this author
Warpaint Warpaint7 Days Of Funk 7 Days Of Funk
The Mars Volta B-SidesPearl Jam Lightning Bolt
Jagwar Ma HowlinLorde Pure Heroine
user ratings (15)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
ExcentrifugalForz
February 8th 2014


2124 Comments


excellent review am checking the album now.

"Mostly a joy, most of the time."

That last sentence though...60% of the time is correct 100% of the time.

RHCP1999
February 8th 2014


53 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I know, hesitant on keeping that in, your right though ill take it out now man, thanks for the pos!

AliW1993
February 8th 2014


7511 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review generally, but that last sentence is awkward. A few more issues...



"nineteen nineties" should be 1990s or '90s. Years are always written numerically.



"Nevertheless as a debut LP, In the Silence is a stunning debut effort." Get rid of the second "debut."



Also the semicolon in your penultimate sentence should be a comma.



I was unconvinced by this at first, but it slowly grew on me. It's still a bit beige, but there's something here for sure.

RHCP1999
February 8th 2014


53 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I wrote this in a bit of as rush, but again i'll see to those errors. Cheers.

Douglas
March 25th 2014


9283 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This could be my album of the year unless the Tallest Man On Earth drops something, which is expected... the icelandic version of this is also stunning.





Also, curious to why this hasn't caught much attention here?



silentstar
March 29th 2014


2526 Comments


yeah, I'm surprised as well. this sounds quite similar to Bon Iver, so I'd have thought it'd at least be decently popular

really liking what I heard so far - hope the rest of the album will be strong

wacknizzle
March 29th 2014


14521 Comments


Liking what I've heard so far

Douglas
March 30th 2014


9283 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

He is basically the Icelandic Bon Iver.

silentstar
April 5th 2014


2526 Comments


you guys should check out Vancouver Sleep Clinic; very much in the same type of music:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GX1xm95htPo

Douglas
February 9th 2015


9283 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album was definitely one of the best last year, torrent is such a jam

playswithpassion
March 4th 2015


292 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just discovered this album recently...I'm also kind of surprised this didn't catch on a bit more here. Torrent was the tune that convinced me to pick up the album.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy