Thursday, 6 February 2014

The Archivist: Jonsi - Go

Now and again, a musician comes along that is one of a kind - not derivative in any way. Hendrix was one.

In April 1975, one such musician was born, in Iceland of all places. His name is Jon Por Birgisson - the closestt I can get without Icelandic letters. He also goes by the name of Jonsi. 

He is now one third, was one forth, of the Icelandic band Sigur Ros

Sigur Ros have been giving the world some of the most challenging and beautiful music since 1994. Jonsi is the lead vocalist and multi instrumentalist in the band. Over the years, they have gradually built up a very large international following and have hit albums and sell out tours all over the world. And their music can be heard on countless documentaries on TV and Film.

In 2009, Jonsi and his partner Alex Somers - they are both visual artists too - released an album together. They called themselves Riceboy Sleeps

And at the same time, Jonsi was also working on his first solo album away from the safety and confines of Sigur Ros.  And in 2010, the magnificent GO was released.

The album was more uplifting than many of the Sigur Ros songs and has various odd percussion and acoustic instrumentation. Jonsi's unique voice is often multi layered in harmonies to brilliant effect.

On Sigur Ros music, Jonsi nearly always sings in his native Icelandic or his own invented language Hopelandic. But on his solo album, the majority of the songs are sung in English.

A lot of the album's lyrics and the imagery of the various videos and the live tour that accompanied the album was based on Jonsi's love of animals and nature. Jonsi has become a vegetarian.

I was lucky enough to catch the live show in the Colston Hall in Bristol, and I have to say it was one of the best gigs I've ever experienced.

GO is an album of widescreen landscapes and small, intimate moments.

Jonsi has also contributed to soundtracks for various movies including How To Train Your Dragon and We Bought A Zoo.

He is now back with Sigur Ros as a threesome. The journey continues and I for one can't wait for his next solo album.

Twitter - @iamjonsi

1 comment:

  1. Good call Nick. I've been a big fan of Jonsi and his music ever since the Sigur Ros debut. Firmly in my 'borderline brilliant' box!
    Btw, no criticism intended but... when you feature so many videos it takes the page an age to load. I know that it's worth sticking with but newcomers might not be so patient. Might need to be more selective with your (excellent choice of) videos.
    Looking forward to the Cardiff/Swansea collision tonight!