In a Frozen Sea | A Year With Sigur Rós (Artist in Residence)

book_sigurrosThe images play to Sigur Rós' strengths, combining the natural awe of Iceland's landscapes with the powerful and sometimes playful concert photographs (such as a little girl clinging to Jon Por Birgisson's leg as he bows his guitar).

 

 

 

 

There are very few words apt enough to describe the glacial lullabies Icelandic powerhouse Sigur Rós use to pluck other-worldly emotion out of thin air. Indeed,their music seems to have some magical qualities, towing the line between the ethereal and the deeply personal. Throughout their career, they have achieved international success largely without the use of words, or rather the understanding of words. It seems they've managed to communicate plenty despite speaking a scarcely used dialect, or no dialect at all (as they did for ( ), an album sang completely in a made-up language the lead singer calls "Hopelandic"). In fact, Sigur Rós come in when words fail. With that said, what's next for these enigmatic leaders of post-rock? That's right: a book.

In a Frozen Sea: A Year With Sigur Rós is the first installment from Artist in Residence's new series of publications, each of which center on an artist and will include exclusive interviews, photography and packaging. In a Frozen Sealooks more like a record than a book, enclosed in a 12-inch album sleeve with large, square pages folding out like the ultimate album booklet. It contains 32 pages filled with photographs of the band and their homeland. The images play to Sigur Rós' strengths, combining the natural awe of Iceland's landscapes with the powerful and sometimes playful concert photographs (such as a little girl clinging to Jon Por Birgisson's leg as he bows his guitar). The synthesis of nature and music hints that this is somehow what Sigur Rós' music is: a soundscape of their homeland.

There are sprinklings of text which offer insight into the psyche of Sigur Rós. A+R followed the band around on their gratis tour of Iceland and writes of their shy, quiet dispositions and their fatigue from traveling. While this book is no literary masterpiece, it does well when relaying the band's personal stories, plans, and feelings. Writer Neil Feineman provides exclusive insight as to what makes these four boys tick. He includes interviews in which Jonsi discusses where he originally found his artistic drive and how the band felt about their overnight success. The problem is, he just doesn't do enough of it. There might be more words in this review than there are in the entire book. Calling this a new book with Sigur Rós (as A+R does) is misleading; a glorified magazine might be more appropriate.

Although the book may not interest the lay person, it is certainly a collector's piece for the diehard Sigur Rós fans in the world (I know I'm not alone!). Its striking imagery, beautiful packaging, and insight make this book a fan's wet dream. Now if it only came with some music… | Glen Elkins

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