below are a few examples of the entries we got for the summer 2002 competition.
MY VIEWS ON THE SONG:
The music of Sigur Rós is more than just the songs, it's more than the notes , it's more than the instruments and the people that play them. The music is more than words are capable of expressing, which is why describing it in a literal sence is impossible. The music of Sigur Rós is about emotion and feeling. The sound is captivating and is the soundtrack to a dream, in which nothing is clear, but open to interpretation. The lyrics to this song are sung in a made up language, which adds to the mystery, making the emotion of the words much more dominent. The music is the setting, and the voice is the state of mind. For this song it is neccesary to look at the emotion to translate it into any literary meaning. I have taken every vowel sound and tried to translate it to my best ability into hopelandic text, basing it on the icelandic pronunciation guide found on "Sigur Rós: 18 Seconds Beofre Sunrise". Not knowing the language of Iceland allows me to rely on the way the songs soundscapes react with my senses and the cerebral pathways it leads me down. After a long mysterious journey, here is where I have ended up:
í sou rć
essou nnón naufýl löú
is all well?
do all wild doves find love?
"Is All Well?"
This line is meant to question a person who appears in a saddened state of mind. If that person did not appear unwell, the question would be unnecessary. The question being asked can also mean the person asking it cares a great deal for the person he or she directs his concern towards.
Quite possibly at this point in time, the person being asked doesn't realize this and his overwhelming feeling of sorrow is too dominent in his mind to fathom the emotions being expressed in those simple three words. And when a person closes their mind then they can't be helped until they make a conscious descision and realize they are ready for the pressence, comforting and the help that others who hold this person dear to their hearts would gladly give. A saddened state of mind occurs for many reasons, but by examining the next line we can look at what is on this person's mind.
"Do All Wild Doves Find Love?"
There is no greater sadness then the sadness brought from a loss. But a loss cannot be defined as such until a person felt a strong bond towards the person, place, object or activity lost which allowed him to look at life in different light. Quite possibly the person has been mourning the loss for quite a long period in his life and finds himself questioning whether or not he will be able to find a passion or love again. Maybe he sees himself as a wild dove. He realizes that maybe all doves can coo, but will there ever be another who will sing his song? Doves have come to represent peace and love, but does this mean there lies happiness for all? These feelings of sorrow can only be ridden when an uplifting feeling comes over you and you find love again. The feeling that you get is similar to walking down a calm street or maybe across an open field at night. Maybe the wind will rush by you, moving over your entire body sending messages throughout it of calmness and freedom, and an overall feeling of selfworth. Perhaps in this state of mind, you will glance at some passing leaves that were lifted up by the wind and imagine yourself being lifted up too, right through the night sky towards the moon. What if the wind could take you high above the earth away from all the troubles below, maybe all the way up high into the outer atmosphere of earth, where the starts shine so brilliantly the sight becomes overwhelming and you realize you are at a loss for words. What if music could take you to the same place and make you feel the same way, every time you close you eyes?
For me, that is possible with Sigur Rós' music. When I am the main character in this story, overcome with unbearable sadness, I listen to Sigur Rós, and realize that to every sad story there is an uplifting feeling of joy, and that everyone should be able to feel true love for someone, something, and towards life itself.
The dogs know
The dogs always know
They sense us
The dogs know why we are here
We are visitors
Because Sigur Rós has such an unearthly sound, they must be aliens, right? ...Well, maybe not, but if they were, the dogs would be the first ones to find out. The dogs are always the first ones to find out.
A swan, encased in a river of ice,
failing to obtain escape or information,
frozen in bird-like slander.
One can see it through the window,
locked in purity
that no iterrogation can rupture.
after many many hours of listening and trying to force my imagination to come up with something, i have. i believe that he might be saying lasagna. its obvious that he is hungry. would someone just please give him some lasagna.
This is what the lyrics sound like to me:
The clip (and the song) to me represents an almost weeping of the soul, but moreso than any of their other songs. Separating myself from the moment, I almost feel the trembling. In a sense, the song represents the absence of everything desirable in one’s heart, therefore lacking support. Jonsi’s voice carries the emotion in the form of sounds in which we can associate with the feeling of this absolute sadness. There is also something romantic about this collage of expressions, as Jonsi’s lyrics hint at reaching for something…beyond. The song wants to be fulfilled, similar to that of a heart, which can be heard through Orri’s consistent drumwork. The heart never falters, but with the added background and foreground, seems to slow down ever so gradually. The small guitar riffs in the background are emotions, as they, like the guitar riffs, continuously move up and down. The keyboard work of Kjartan and the semi-transparent bass of Georg are almost shadows, as possibly a memory passing over which work magnificently in the effect that this song brings.
Although I must admit that the first time I heard this song was in the movie “Vanilla Sky”, the only reason why my eyes shed tears at the end was the effect that this song had in my mind. It is a song of almost complete sadness with a hint of hope and the multitude of sounds within the song bond together to formulate into an almost grand orchestral composition of an inadequacy of desire and fulfillment which could invoke emotions from even the most strong-hearted of individuals. My only regret is that I didn’t hear of Sigur Ros sooner. Perhaps the way I envision life through music might have changed even more than it already has. May God keep you with the gift of life which you stir even amongst the most barren of thoughts.
My soul finds
lonely thoughts and unmoved hearts
My eyes see
I collapse without help to be found
She smells of curry...
She smells of...
She smells of curry
As for the "lyrics" , I hear alot of different sounds. "All's alright (repeat)... for nighttime's long." That's what I hear in English. "Iskaldur" (repeat)... oraektadur" is what i hear in Icelandic. From these words the song paints a sort of image-story for me. You're standing outside. It's cold and barren and the dead of night. The song being quiet is the calm and stillness. You've come outside in this vast, chilling place wanting to be calmed. (possibly by a burden that's haunting you, i'm not sure) Your surroundings are mesmerizing and comforting you. The soft percussion mallets are the low rumbles of winds echoing across the still night. The single notes of the guitar (w/out bow) being plucked ever so softly are the twinkling stars above. The bass is your beating heart slowly calming with peace. The "organ esque" keyboards are a colorful, sacred quality that this place has brought you. The bowed guitar symbolizes streaks of dawn enveloping the horizon. Strong, almost abrasive shots of sunlight against the dark, calming night. The idea of being surrounded by what seems like nothing much and gaining something from it is the idea I get from this song.
I have forgotten within the sincerity
Forgotten when I am enveloped by the moonshine
I have forgotten within the purity
Forgotten when I am surrounded by these brilliant nothings
I forget (It is not a hard task)
In this part of the song, there are a lot of repeated sounds. I chose the first parts of the ‘sentences’ as the words “I have forgotten”, “I forget” or “forgotten”. These sounds always start the different phrases before changing to the end of the shorter line or the end of the longer line.
The first and the third lines end with the same sounds, but I changed them a bit to suit the purpose of the poetic lines. “Sincerity” and “purity” are supposed to represent the separation of the person from the rest of the world, how the singer feels alienated. I drew that partly from Jónsi’s life because he is gay and blinded in one eye. I chose Jónsi in particular because he is the one singing the different vocal sounds in the part of the music. This aspect will come into play for the rest of the verse.
The next lines sound the same, except that the last part of the second repeated line (Forgotten when I am enveloped by the ‘moonshine’ / Forgotten when I am surrounded by these ‘brilliant nothings’) were drawn out a bit more, so I put in a second word the word “brilliant” to accompany “nothings”.
“Enveloped / surrounded”, have the same meanings and match the vocal sounds that were repeated. These endings have overlapping meanings again. “Moonshine” means the same as “brilliant nothings”. I have noticed that Sigur Rós likes to draw symbolism from nature, and especially in the Von album. That is why I included the word “moonshine” which could mean the purity/clarity of moonshine, how it makes everything feel distant, or it could mean the actual dictionary meaning of moonshine, which shows that something has no meaning, that it is shallow or untruthful. It represents the reading too much into a song. Nothing, which could very well be what Jónsi is singing in hopelandic.
The last line, which is another form of “forget” and since the music abruptly changes, I added the brackets almost as an afterthought “It is not a hard task”, to end the first verse. I wrote it with the lines flowing into each other because it would be the actual line of thought that is conveyed, although if most Sigur Rós songs in Icelandic are translated, they are slightly choppy because of the different sentence structures between English and Icelandic. So the “I have” could be taken off and just be “forgotten”.
In short, the entire song is about stepping aside from the complexity from the world by wrapping himself in simple nothings.
this contestant sent in a visual translation of the song, entitled sigur rós colouring fun.
"The Nothing Song" always struck me as the perfect title for this piece of music. "Njosnavelin", "The Spy Machine", whatever, never had anywhere near the resonance, it always was and always will be "The Nothing Song" to me.
Why is this the perfect title? Because this piece of music seems to capture more fully the entire spectrum of human existence than any other piece of music I've ever heard. It is the sound of all of our lives, it is in a way "The Everything Song". But everything is indeed nothing. Despite the learning, the beliefs, the emotions that we experience ... in our lifetimes we'll never know what lies beyond, what lies behind. We may have "faith" or "belief" that we do indeed know the answers to these questions ... but nothing, in the end, is all anyone ever knows in this life.
My translation of what is untranslatable:
...and stars rise
upon phantom tides unkown
this night sings,
"nothing is all you'll know"
...and stars rise
life's calm calamaties
It sounds to like Jónsi’s actually singing about a person he really, really likes very much, but the person doesn’t know it. It’s a very emotional song.
Well, this is not for winning anything, actually it’s not very creative or something but I just wanted you and maybe Jónsi to know, what this song means to me:
A very good friend of mine has been a very depressive person (actually she’s quite okay now) after being disappointed in life again and again. She’s a very lovely person with a straight faith in god, she was very good at school but, very courageous, but none of this seemed to help her. She really began to hate herself, and one night, she made a pretty nice garden-party she got very drunk, just because she wanted. She got got very sad and aggressive and she started to slit her arms and we had call a doctor. So she spend one night at the psychiatric ward of the hospital.
I really felt bad, there was nothing I could do for her and I knew she’s she did not belong there, she was a normal person like we all were, just very, very sad. The day after, she came back, and we all knew were she has been, but most of us just could not talk about it, and it was this song I listend to over and and over that night, it was saying:
You’re so special
You don’t want alone
You don’t know
You don’t want alone
You so right
You don’t know
you don’t want to
but you’re so special
It was like this song was made for this very person, saying that she’s not alone in this world, even if it often seems to be like that, even if she thinks nothing would help. For me this song contains so much hope, love and beauty and it reminds me of Nine Inch Nails “The Fragile” saying: “She shines, in world full of ugliness, she matters, when everything is meaningless, fragile, she doesn’t see her beauty…”. It reminds me of this horrible night and the wonderful days I spend with this person before and after.
I do not know what Jónsi is singing in this song, but this it what it means to me…
you are my child, and i love everything about you, your eyes, your smile, your sound. i see the best and greatest inside of you. and you are all that matters to me...
you are my child and the geatest joy of my life. you, the most beautiful thing ever created, must follow your heart and your innermost dreams and passions no matter what the obstacles. you must live with your heart on your sleave to follow your dreams.
this air that you and i breathe, this is the world we live in. and as you follow your dreams you must be conscious of of what sorrounds you. it is part of you, just as i am part of you. know this as truth inside your heart.
you, my love, will find your path towards your innermost dreams as you walk hand in hand with the world that you live in, respecting the natural order of all. do this and nature will respect and accept you and your path. you must find your dreams by living with your heart our in the open, breathing air.
this air, it is beautiful. i breathe in the world, i breathe in my dreams, i breathe you in, i breathe in myself. the beauty that i see around me provides me with the power i need to make my way in the world. i love this world. i love you. i love myself...
with me you'll cry
with me we'll laugh
apples and oranges
are trying to kill
It's over, now we're through.
It's alright, sleep now child.
To me, these are lyrics are about losing your virginity in a graceful and beautiful way with someone you truly love. The line "sleep now child" relates to how one makes a big step towards adulthood, but in a way they still keep the innocence and vulnerability of a child in their heart, and that will never fade away. With this in mind, the act of making love becomes a way to share this rarely seen innocence and vulnerability with someone you love, and it is all represented by this song.
ég er sár, ć (hann er leiđur ţví einhver var ađ dissa hárgreiđsluna hans)
ég sofna og fć ló (í buxnavasana, ţví hann sofnađi í ţeim)
ég sat á lćk (til ađ skola vasakuskiđ úr buxunum)
ég safna lođfílum (byggir upp her til ađ hefna sín á gaurnum sem gerđi grín ađ honum)
ís á lćk (ţví ţađ er frost á fróni)
is so beyond the cuff of our love
inside your eye
you're sewing on the last hello --
you saw your eye.
In my mind it is a song about a waning love -- but this is not sad, but beautiful. Although a love is ending, the music rejoices in this beautiful act. To explain the lyrics, the ancient Japanese samurai practiced the code of conduct called Bushido which valued honor and devotion to a higher being above all else. "Your samurai is so beyond the cuff of our love" illustrates how a lover's other values, even the lover's devotion to nature, to herself, etc... is beyond even the outer limits of the two lover's love (the "cuff" represents these limits). The values of the lover have changed and they no more center around love. It's not hard to tell this -- because it is ever so aparent in the lover's eye, the window to the soul. Thus, "inside your eye, you're sewing on the last hello" illustrates that the end of the love, the last "hello", is slowly being sewn, stitch by stitch -- until the end, and it is inevitable. Finally the line "you saw your eye" shows that the lover is aware of this him/herself -- he/she has seen his/her own eye and is aware of the same thing the other lover has come to understand.
Again the typical feeling associated with a dying love does not apply here -- njósnavélin captures the *beauty* of it, and it is ever so beautiful, not depressing or sad in the least!
Imprints of time, reflected in a glass of sun
Imprints of time, reflected in a glass of sun
Ţađ umlék allt, snertingin svo mjúk = ólýsanleg. Langt fyrir neđan ómađi tónlist, tónlistin náđi tökum. -Ég sagđi já- Ţangađ sem ljósiđ nćr ekki og myrkriđ tekur völdin var spurningin. -Ég sagđi já- en ekkert gerđist, hvíslađi lćgra -Ég lofa ég lof...- Reyni og reyni... reyni of mikiđ. Leita í ljósiđ!
Kaldur andvarinn lék sér, sama mjúka snertingin. Í laufblöđunum hófst tónlistin. Ég vissi spurninguna en ţau endurtóku sig í sífellu. -Ég sagđi já!-
En mér var ekki svarađ. -Ég sagđi fojj- Engin breyting varđ á. Tónlistin togađi í mig, ég streyttist á móti og sagđi á milli ekkasoganna -Nú lofar ţú- Hún sleppti takinu og ég féll ofan í ilmandi moldina.
Tónlistin umlék mig á međan ég grét og hvíslađi ofan í tár-blauta moldina -Ég sór-
Ég sagđ’já ég lofa ég lof...
Ég sagđ’já ég lofa ég lof...
Ég sagđ’já ég sagđ’fojj
Ég sagđ’ nú lofar ţú
Ég sagđ’ nú lofar ţú.
the subconsious process of memory... not really remembering as such. but the feelign you get when your brain is tracing a path to an encoded nural connection without your having asked. Not a conscious searching for a memory for remembrance sake. Its about the the nuralogical synapsis in action under the suface when you've got a good groove starring out a window comming home after beautiful weekend with friends, or driving home under speed benieth a blue sky having just been laid (or soemthing to that effect... maybe just starring content into a fire or a grassy lawn) and so your mind is contented and set..and is mapping out new memories.... or retracing through old ones just keeping in pratcie ... but you'll never actually hear this process or know this process is going on you just feel at peace.