New documentary: Iceland: Beyond Sigur Rós

Iceland Music Export on "Iceland: Beyond Sigur Rós", a new not-for-profit 30m documentary on the Icelandic music scene which is available for free streaming online:
Featured artists include Ólafur Arnalds, Hafdis Huld, Mugison, Bloodgroup, For A Minor Reflection, Seabear and more plus a number of behind-the-scenes folks such as journalists and producers.

Hafdis Huld - Synchronised swimmersHafdis Huld
Synchronised swimmers
Snow Angel Records


Hafdis Huld has the kind of voice that immediately evokes sugar, spice, and everything nice. One part Ali Howard (Lucky Soul), three parts summer of love; it's the kind of instrument that seems intent on landing her sophomore album "Synchronised swimmers" directly into schlock territory. Thankfully, Huld seems intent on playing against type, crafting indie folk that's as unexpectedly playful as it is sweet. From "Könguló"'s angular island beats to the understated banjo of "Action man", there's enough subtle variation to skirt syrup and assure that Huld is the real deal. Really.

Now if only she had something to say. While "slice of life" lyrics aren't inherently off-putting, (Hey, it's done wonders for Laura Marling) the troupe only works if you attach greater meaning. Or, any meaning. Instead of delving into what it's all about, we skim across the surface, getting dime-a-dozen realizations such as "It hurts to be happy" and "Everything is basic in a town like this, you get your picture in a paper if you catch a fish." Solid beginnings sure, but one wonders what a stronger lyricist could have made of them. Even the most interesting track "Robot robot" feels like a retread, playing like a thematic kissing cousin to The Dresden Dolls' "Coin operated boy". Rather than illuminate your life, Huld seems to have settled for shedding a few rays of sunshine into an afternoon.
- Laura Studarus

Ja Ja Ja March 18: Hafdis Huld, Bodebrixen, Katzenjammer

Ja Ja Ja's showcase on March 18 (their 2nd for the month) will feature Hafdis Huld and Katzenjammer in addition to the previously confirmed Bodebrixen.