Von” (1997) by Sigur Rós

On 28. December 1993 Jón “Jónsi” Þór Birgisson (vocals, guitar), Georg Hólm (bass), Ágúst Ævar Gunnarsson (drums) formed the band Sigur Rós in Reykjavík. The name is actually borrowed from Jónsi’s younger sister Sigurrós Elín Birgisdóttir, who was born the same day as the band was formed, and then split into two words. They soon had a record deal with the local Sugarcubes and Co.-owned Bad Taste (Smekkleysa) label.
In 1997 they released “Von” (meaning “hope”) and in 1998 a remix collection named “Von brigði”. The RMX album contains however 1 new song “Leit af lífi”, that was not ready in 1997.
The name is an Icelandic wordplay: “Vonbrigði” means “disappointment”, but “Von brigði” in 2 words means “variations on Von”.
It is hard to believe but in the beginning the youngsters were making songs à la Smashing Pumpkins. But while recording more songs, they detected their own unique sound (postrock?). The first song, Fljúgðu”, was recorded at the Hvarf Studio at the Mosfellsbær suburb. It took them 6 hours. This song is not featured on their début. It is featured on the compilation album “Smekkleysa i halfa öld” (Smekkleysa – A Half Century/SM 44 CD, 1997), celebrating 50 years of the Republic Iceland on 17. June 1994. The name of the band on this album was not Sigur Rós, but the English version ‘Victory Rose’.

The “Von” album was recorded during the winter of 1995 until winter 1996, and in the summer of 1997. To pay for the recordings they had to do some renovation work of the studio.

The album was released on 1. September 1997 on Bad Taste label. Many years later, in 2004, the album was officially released in the UK and USA.

The album is unique, very experimental and ambient. The band doesn’t agree with the statement that it is a ‘concept album’.

The first song in vonlenska (Jónsi’s own gibberish language) was the song “Von”. The last song is the song “Myrkur,” but played backwards (and written backwards 2).

The album is long, 72 minutes in length.

It sold at first 313 copies in Iceland, later on 14,000 copies.

It came in a purple jewelcase, but the picture was in black and white.

Tracklist:

  1. Sigur Rós
  2. Dögun
  3. Hún Jörð…
  4. Leit að lífi
  5. Myrkur
  6. 18 sekúndur fyrir sólarupprás
  7. Hafssól
  8. Veröld ný óg óð
  9. Von
  10. Mistur
  11. Syndir Guðs (Opinberun frelsarans)
  12. Rukrym