Wednesday, October 1, 2008

On a lighter note...

I saw Sigur Rós!  

I saw Sigur Rós!  

i am still processing all of the music... they made some of the wildest noises imaginable.  

sometimes i think that they have made the final statement on music.  

maybe it's all those  ð sounds, or the hopelandic mewing?  

Sigur Rós gravitates between sweaty-brow drone and nectar-ine iceberg anthems.  

Their best music swells (upwards of 10 minutes), before they turn it into something shimmery, something noisy, something epic.   Their opening song was "Svefn g Englar" and each band member had a yellow-green light behind him.  The effect was a black silhouette sunken in light, as if they were emerging from the darkness, with what sounds like an underwater radar bleep.  Jonsi starts by raking a violin bow across the strings, which makes long, growling noises.  Sort of like dinosaurs. or trains. or humming powerlines.  

Maybe most impressive were the quiet songs. Everyone sat in a tense hush, biting nails and hanging on every word.  I've never been to a "rock" show where people put such trust in a band, or such authority in their art.  In a way, it was more like a symphonic concert, or an art show. Everyone clapped politely after the songs.  During their song "Festival," they stopped playing for a solid 30 seconds and stared at the crowd before continuing.  No one made a noise.  In fact, I think we were all holding our breath.  I was amazed; thousands of people loving the silence as much as the noise.  

No one can explain Sigur Rós in words... reviews always end up using metaphors of grandiosity: glaciers, icebergs, garden of eden, etc. and they simply fall short (mine included).  You really just have to listen.  Start with the album Takk..., and devote an hour to it.  Listen all the way through.  It was made as a whole album, and like a movie, you can't go skipping around and understand it.

 Here's a link to one of their acoustic songs:


Off Main Street

Buildings being rebuilt,
cities bustling out of cities,

gray slab evidences its weathering,
trickling its age 
down the drabbiness of coarse cement

light skirts through the patchwork boarding
and half-sealed windows onto barnacled piping.

The wind whistles around corners, tugging at scowling windows that scare off the would-be intruder 

Doorways are 
frameworks, contexts, glimpses,
memories that you can't quite remember

and these old buildings are piles of gravel,
dinosaur bones half-buried,
history that has fallen to its geometric elements,

to be reshaped, reformed, reinterpreted