- LetsSingIt Music Player
- play all songs
- 6, 0 of your friends
add to favorites
- This artist has no moderator.
- More Jónsi news
03/05/2010 Iceland's Jónsi erupts with energy
- More artist news
Jónsi - News
|Iceland's Jónsi erupts with energy|
|03-05-2010 14:59 | 0 comment(s)|
| If you're looking for the inspiration behind the epic swells on Jonsi's solo debut, Go, the ash-cloud-creating hills of his homeland are a good place to start.
"It's a really powerful, energetic, young country," said the singer, full name Jon Thor Birgisson, leader of Iceland's ethereal, orchestral rock band Sigur Ros. "It's still growing, as you see in the news lately, with the volcano spewing crazy shit all over the planet."
Birgisson has been spewing some crazy, um, sounds of his own recently. Sigur Ros's last album, 2008's Med sud i eyrum vid spilum endalaust, found the band branching out with its most indie-rock- and pop-informed songs yet.
Last fall, Birgisson teamed up with boyfriend Alex Somers, as Jonsi and Alex, for an album of new-agey atmospheres appropriately called Riceboy Sleeps.
"It was healthy for us," he said of the latter project. "We had been writing songs since we met, mostly ambient stuff with blips. Last year, we decided to go to Hawaii, where we mixed (the album) in a small vegan raw-food community in the jungle.
"We lived in a hut, living sustainably off the land, off the grid. They use solar energy to run their electricity. We were running our laptop off solar power, surrounded by amazing trees."
Birgisson has been vegetarian for over 13 years, but only recently did he begin exploring the benefits of a vegan, raw-food diet. "It's way more hardcore," he said. "Alex has been doing it for three years. It's quite difficult. It's so hard to find anything to eat. It's fun and challenging."
Though it can be difficult logistically, he explained, the benefits speak for themselves:
"Everything you put in you is alive and full of energy, and you're saving the planet. Now is the first time I've tried to eat (only) raw food on tour. We're travelling with a blender, trying to make all our own food."
That newfound energy may be another reason behind Go's expansive thrust. The album opens with the twinkling Go Do, Birgisson's breathtakingly clear falsetto soaring above thumping drums, piano, bass, guitar and fluttering whistles.
Animal Arithmetic, next, is even more intense, as he drops an octave to sing, "Everyday, everywhere, people are so alive."
He gets help from the cascading drums of Finland's Samuli Kosminen, and the dazzlingly inventive orchestral arrangements of Nico Muhly (Grizzly Bear, Antony and the Johnsons).
His collaborators contribute a tidal wave of excitement to the album, which takes on an identity all its own in his oeuvre.
"I wanted to get away from Sigur Ros's dreamy landscapes," he said. "(Muhly) definitely brought that. He brought colour, playfulness and craziness to the arrangements. Also, his piano playing is amazing. (Kosminen's drumming) brought energy and power."
Birgisson, for his part, brought the songs, and his voice - an arresting instrument comparable to Radiohead's Thom Yorke in terms of its mesmerizing timbre and ability to strike an emotional chord.
"I started singing quite early, around 13 years old," he said. "I never liked myself as a singer. I was always kind of shy of voice. ... When I started singing with Sigur Ros, I found I really liked singing falsetto. I could control my voice better higher up. ... I started to move down for this record."
The lower register suits him well, adding earthy texture to the Peter Gabrielesque Boy Lilikoi and the meditative ballad Hengilas. It seems to emerge from a more personal place, much like the music.
"I started with acoustic songs," Birgisson said of the songwriting process. "My initial idea was to have an intimate, quiet, acoustic album. But I wasn't excited about that. I started to record and tried to push in different directions. It was quite spontaneous."
He pushed himself to sing in English on the album - no small feat, considering that with Sigur Ros, his languages of choice were Icelandic and the made-up vowel sounds dubbed Hopelandic.
"My boyfriend is American," he said. "We spend all this time at home. I probably speak more English than Icelandic (these days). It was a really good challenge for me to sing in English. My vocabulary is not that great. It takes more time and energy."
Again, the conversation returned to energy - fitting for an album that overflows with it, even in its softer moments. After spending years in the safety of a tried-and-true aesthetic, Birgisson - whether through his internationally adored band's last album or his recent side projects - is expanding his horizons.
Ash clouds be damned.
Jonsi performs Sunday at 8 p.m. at Metropolis, 59 Ste. Catherine St. E., with Death Vessel. Tickets cost $30 in advance, $35 at the door. Call 514-790-1111 or visit www.ticketpro.ca.
For more information, see www.jonsi.com
Read more: http://www.m
|Be the first one to comment »|