Over the course of three days, we will be rolling out a three-part, comprehensive mixtape covering many bases of the Icelandic music scene, to supplement our feature about The Real Icelandic Music Scene. The feature digs beneath Iceland’s obvious musical exports like Sigur Rós, Múm, and Björk, and finds out what everyday life is like for the average Icelandic musician.
This mixtape – the first in a series of three – focuses on electronic musicians and garage rock bands.
We contacted a number of Icelandic record labels and independent musicians to exclusive permission to host MP3s just for this mixtape. You will not find the majority of these MP3s available for free anywhere else on the internet… so enjoy!
Curated by Vivian Hua, Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE
Bloodgroup – “My Arms” (Self-Released)
Smart synthpop that waxes and wanes in expert fashion! There’s certainly a reason this band seems to be on the move throughout Europe.
Who Knew – “Tranquility” (DevilDuck / 101 Berlin)
“Tranquility” has rambunctious drumming and vocals that are slightly reminiscent of a Yeasayer track, but it’s arguably more fascinating, due in part to a near-operatic underlying layers!
Yoda Remote – “Funky Blueberry” (Self-Released)
Light-hearted electropop by a duo that simply loves electronic music and wants to have fun making it.
Berndsen – “400 Trips” (Self-Released)
Berndsen pays homage to ‘80s synthpop with “400 Trips.” His entire Lover In The Dark album, which came out in late 2009, does the same as well.
Pornopop – “Little Kafka” (Ching Ching Bling Bling)
Brothers Pétur Úlfur Einarsson and Ágúst Arnar Einarsson have created a masterpiece here, banking on a foundation of wicked manipulated vocals and electronic noise. Download four other tracks for free on Pornopop’s SoundCloud page.
Ljósvaki – “All That Is (Akina Gegoo)” (Self-Released)
Leifur Eiríksson creates minimal electronic pop with overt hip-hop influences and calming mantras.
Evil Madness – “Free Magic Weed” (Hljóðaklettar / 12 Tónar)
This supergroup, comprised of Stilluppsteypa, DJ Musician, Jóhann Jóhannsson, BJ Nilsen and occasionally Curver, glides with “Free Magic Weed,” in an appropriately dubby, ambient way.
Tarnús Jr. – “Silly Idol Little Boy” (Ching Ching Bling Bling)
With an almost grinding industrial feel, “Silly Idol Little Boy” creaks and groans mechanically every instrumental turn.
Borko – “Dingdong Kingdom” (Kimi Records / Morr Music)
Solo artist Björn Kristiansson, known more commonly as Borko, combines the best aspects of pop music with electronic minimalism, to great success, in this lonesome and haunting track.
Reykjavík! – “The Blood” (Kimi Records)
Here, the mixtape splits and shifts to capture Iceland’s more raucous side. Reykjavík! (or sometimes Reykjavik! without the í) came highly recommended by a host of other Icelandic musicians, and for good reason.
Mammút – “Svefnsýkt” (Record Records)
In “Svefnsykt,” this co-ed five-piece combines post-punk influences with female vocals, for frenetic, explosive results.
Black Valentine – “Ben Suala, Keep Walking The Walk” (Ching Ching Bling Bling)
One half of the Icelandic duo Pornopop, Black Valentine presents a rockin’ track with psychedelic undertones, not unlike those one might find in the music of Black Mountain or The Black Angels.www.gogoyoko.com
IKEA SATAN – “Sound Of The Planet” (Ching Ching Bling Bling)
IKEA SATAN has quite a name, but it captures the band’s core nature, which splits between the accessible and the heavy.
kimono – “Black” (Kimi Records)
Kimono doesn’t really care about conventions, and certainly cram a lot of sonic information into 3 minutes and 20 seconds.
Múgsefjun – “Hagmunatikin” (Gúngala)
As a five-piece indie pop band, Múgsefjun is influenced plenty by folk rock, which always results in a fascinating listen, with songwriting creativity brimming throughout.
BONUS TRACK: Caterpillarmen – “Döðludans” (Brak Records)
This mysterious Brak Records band breaks all molds in a noodling, irreverent fashion. Here is its unreleased and recently mastered track, which translates loosely to “Date-Dance.”
BONUS TRACK: Hunk Of A Man – “Captain Of Love” (Hljóðaklettar)
Boogie down with Maggi Lego, aka Hunk Of A Man, a self-professed “Captain Of Love.” If your disco self were ever to look for one, here would be a good place to start.