by Chris Sea and introducing Massaka Brain
ROK is taking a special effort with this year’s Sónar Festival to offer a more specialized approach to Icelandic music journalism, and thus we thought, there’s no better way to get the word out than to really get a grasp as to what the musicians that we are interested in is doing, down the roots of the notes which are played themselves. Here are some of our highlights…but before we do that, let’s say Hi to our newest contributor, Massaka Brain. According to his webpage, Brian is a:
“Music producer, composer and jazz guitarist active in Icelandic, Danish, Polish music scene. Finding his style between Hip hop, jazz, electronic, classical music. ”
As someone who made an effort last year to incorporate as many elements as possible into our coverage, I thought it would be nice in this year’s round of reportage to have someone on board with us who really can shine with his inherent musical talent. Brian is such a person. Brian is studying jazz at FÍH and Odense in Denmark, and I myself cannot think of a better person to help us assess the current state of electronica in our fertile Icelandic scene. A regular of many a jazzy evenings at KEX and Húrra, I felt that Brian would be an excellent edition to the team, and therefore I thought it would be great to have him work with us while I share duties with the Reykjavík Grapevine. So without further a do, let’s get started. What follows are our notes on various highlights of the event, as well as our special interview with Jón Ólafsson & Futuregrapher.
Jón Ólafsson & Futuregrapher
Listen to our interview with them here.
Modal harmony, open chords, creating natural reverb using sustain pedal, using plenty of common notes in the harmony, reminds film music soundscape, piano player might want to use different modes for each composition to give different colours to each composition.
Their moods were narrow, with some characteristic melodies or motifs for every single composition in the set (perhaps more melodic texturing could develop around the samples of certain surroundings for example. restaurants or streets.) They gave a great first impression. It was its hard to keep focus, and this was because of all of the audience shifting. One is curious as to what happens next, the music takes shape after some time. It is difficult music for a concert situation.
Great concept of using two drummers, and dividing the percussion role in the band is both logical and musical. There was a great synch of visuals in certain moments, drops, interesting turns within compositions but it became predictable after hearing couple of tunes and rhythmic variations. There is a nice use of triplet subdivisions in the backing track or acoustic drums, and cool doubling sampled sounds with acoustic drums for example, tambourine. The female member of the band’s vocals are inspired by Björk, but sometimes too-less featured. Oriental, ethnic samples. There an interesting layering vocals on top of each other, inventive outros, and a very conscious use of dynamics within compositions, sometimes unpredictable buildups.
Ghostigital has an adventurous approach, combining acting with hypnotic, psychedelic and expressive rhythms, based on rhythm and then harmony. There are specific breaks in unexpected moments, great responses from Einar to Curver, demanding delays, pitch shifts and beat repeats. There are definitely audible tips-of-hat to African music. The performance has a some momentum, even though a lot of the music has almost the same idea to it. They suck you in, keeping your attention all the while.
Chris’ favorite performers, quickly described:
Phenomenal live act and brilliantly programmed tracks.
Unbridled, ass-shaking, danceable confidence.
Getting to a good place.
A skilled craftsman who knows how to make great music.
A living legend with a crate of deep house to get you moving.
Lord Pusswhip + VRONG
Where Icelandic hip-hop should be heading.
Zero fucks given, in control, in his element, a force to be reckoned with
dj flugvél og geimskip
Someone not afraid to be themselves.