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LIVE REVIEW: Samaris, Ideal Bar, 02.12.2014

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Winter has fallen suddenly on Copenhagen. It’s only in the last week that the temperature dropped those crucial few degrees to make it feel properly cold, that the wind picked up enough to make the cold really bite, that everyone has been chased indoors.

So people clustering themselves in Ideal Bar to see Icelandic trio Samaris seems wholly appropriate on different levels. People are sitting on the floor in a ring, leaving walking space between themselves and the stage. The band, with their downtempo music and gentle movements, inspire similarly subdued reactions from those who are standing. There is no threat of anyone getting stepped on — so much the better for those who have taken off their shoes.

Even though Samaris build their songs around loops and echos like an aural reflecting pool, there is a decided ambient quality to their music. The sounds produced from the table of gadgets manipulated by a floppy-haired boy are mostly subdued, lulling, and even when the beats kick in it’s all very relaxing. The conflicting pattern in “Lifsins Ólgusjór” unfortunately demonstrates how delicate the balance is, how easy it is to throw off the groove, but things fall back into step.

The one other instrument, a clarinet — also looped and delayed — provides an organic counterpoint to the electronics, and to synthesizers in general. It’s really an under-utilized instrument in alternative music. When the electronics angle towards noise, the clarinet is lost, and that applies to the vocals as well. But these are clearly strategic decisions, and singer Jófrídur’s voice is mostly up to the challenge.

What is it about Iceland that produces singers with voices that are atmospheric in their own right? Jófrídur could be the linch pin that pulls the electronics and the clarinet together, but then it all feels like it’s been perfectly slotted together. The sense of what’s been scaled down from what could be — kimonos instead of costumes, fake yoga poses instead of choreography, a cosy bar instead of a theatre — is still tailored specifically to this experience. That if we’re going to sequester ourselves from dark and cold, minimal, chilled out electronica is exactly what should soundtrack the escape. It’s going to be a long winter, and this is a good way to ease into it.

Roskilde Festival Warm Up Schedule

in Roskilde Rising by

Monday 30th June

Rising Stage
14.00 HEIMATT
15.00 BRYNJOLFUR
15.30 GET YOUR GUN
16.30 IBERIA
17.00 BLAUE BLUME

Apollo
18.00 FRANSKILD
18.30 THE DIVERS
19.30 WE ARE THE WAY FOR THE COSMOS TO KNOW ITSELF
20.00 THE MINDS OF 99
21.00 PANDREAS
21.30 SLÖA KNIVAR
22.30 JAAKKO EINO KALEVI
23.00 EMILIE NICOLAS
Resident DJ: Borneland

Tuesday 1st July

Rising Stage
14.00 TIDLIGE ARMBÅND
15.30 COMMUNIONS
17.00 KINDRED FEVER
18.30 MY HEART THE BRAVE
20.00 RA
21.30 FÖRTRESS
23.00 MONT OLIVER

Apollo Stage
15.00 SAMARIS
16.30 UNKWON
18.00 DNKL
19.30 KANT
21.00 SAY LOU LOU
22.30 NAUSE
Resident DJ: Borneland 

Wednesday 2nd July

Rising Stage
14.00 KARL WILLIAM
15.30 NARCOSATANICOS
17.00 BLOODY BEACH
18.30 KILL J
20.00 KÖNSFÖRRÄDARE
21.30 HEXIS
23.00 THE AWESOME WELLES

Apollo Stage
15.00 SHADOW SHADOW
16.30 BLOKSBERG
18.00 S!VAS
19.30 SNAVS
21.00 SLICK SHOOTA
22.30 TBA
Resident DJ: Borneland 

LIVE REVIEW: Iceland Airwaves Day 1, 30.10.2013

in Live Reviews by

Leaves: A lot of changes have development in this band since they played their first gig at Airwaves 2001. They were so close to world-wide popularity when they released their first album, Breath, in 2002 but something was missing and maybe has been ever since. 

It was rather obvious that Leaves haven’t been performing a lot lately when they stepped on the stage. The members looked a bit stiff and stressed but still cool, and there is no doubt that these guys are professional performers.

I went to see Leaves play because of my love for Breath and also some of their stuff from The Angela Test and We Are Shadows. Most of the songs they performed were from their newest album, See You In the Afterglow, and for me that was a bummer and I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one in the hall with that opinion. Still they put on a good show and they performed the songs well. The singer, Arnar Guðjónsson, has a great high pitch voice and sounds a lot like Matthew Bellamy from Muse. The show was good but if they had just played two old classics and added a little bit of passion, it could have been so much better. Also, I have to add that having the keys on playback is not cool. 2,5*/5*

soley by  Magnús Elvar Jónsson

Sóley: It was really crowded and there was obviously a lot of excitement in the audience to see Sóley perform. Even though some were standing 100 meters from the stage when she performed the whole audience was brought close when she raised her sensitive voice. She flirted at the microphone and told silly jokes between songs, which made the show more fun to watch. All through her set she got complete silence from the audience and everyone’s attention was on her. As she pointed out during the show, it was obviously Wednesday. The show peaked in the last two songs when she performed “Pretty Face” and “I’ll Drown” with remarkable looping skills. Sóleys career as a solo artist is still rising and soon she will have a tighter set. When that happens, it will be even more interesting to see her perform. 3*/5*

Photo by Alexander Matukhno

Samaris: I was on my way to see Mammút play at Harpan when I heard the tripping heavy beats of Samaris coming from the next room.  I don’t regret sticking my head in to the hall to see if I was missing something good because I would have. There was no way I was leaving this concert after the first song. Their setup consists of the singer Jófríður sounding a lot like Björk, computer musician Þórður and clarinet player Áslaug, who had to be replaced during this show. This combination brings something special to the air and watching them perform is pure pleasure. Þórður provided dope, heavy electronic beats which fit Jófríðurs voice perfectly and her weird performance style makes it even more interesting. Songs that stood out were “Hljóma þú” and remixed version of the song “Viltu Vitrast”. Already having made a magnificent show they topped the performance with their well-known hit “Góða Tungl” which made the audiences obviously happy. 4*/5*

Retro Stefson

Retro Stefson: There is always so much energy in the air when this band goes on stage. This time they were supported by Hermigervill. Retro Stefson alone can provide some good grooves but with Hermigervill onboard the funky grooves they showed off were irresistible. They played the set on full speed almost without stopping and mixed the songs together making it even more fun to watch and listen. The singer of the band Unnsteinn made an entertaining performance directing the crowd and telling them to move left, right, up and down. His brother, Logi Pedro, meanwhile was slapping the bass like a maniac. The end of their gig was brilliant when they jammed between “Qween” and “She Said,” then ending it with “Glow” which made the crowd go wild. Suddenly it didn’t feel like Wednesday. 4*/5*

emiliana torrini by Rúnar Sigurður Sigurjónsson

Emilíana Torrini: She sometimes has a way of making her shows personal and touching. This show was one of them. She talked a lot about her new born baby boy and said that he had inspired her recent work. Emilíana brought six band members with her to back her up, but still she dominated the stage with her outstanding voice. She was always smiling and giggling during the gig and dedicating songs to her child and the audience. The beginning of her show was very powerful and set a good mood to the audience. As songs went by a little bit of power was missing but she made up for that when she got her encore and performed “Sunnyroad” and “Jungle Drum”. 3,5*/5*

All photos via Iceland Airwaves.

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