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ice capades - björk and beyond with reykjavík's sigur rós

in the year since sigur rós acquired attention beyond its native iceland, it has become conventional to equate it's strange, confounding music with the arctic location and geological condition of its origin: music from the beginning of the world, born in fire and ice, evoking dark winters spent in contemplation beyond fathoming. that, says bassist georg holm, "is a boring cliché. we live in reykjavík. we're not thinking about glaciers and volcanoes." still, sigur rós is not exactly trendy shopping music: the weird soundscapes they conjure could easily undermine consumer confidence in ways that fellow prog-rock travelers radiohead would applaud. at their show in manhattan earlier this year, something triggered whole clusters of the audience to faint. although their songs are too drawn-out to be songs, and their lyrics veer between the apparent nonsense of their native tongue and actualy babble, fans of the band are far from discouraged. "sometimes they sing along, but they are singing along to nothing, making up their own words using their imagination," says holm. if nothing else, this may prove to be a timely resolution to the problem of pop music's language barriers and overly obvious messages. "our lyrics are quite unimportant," offers holm. "maybe this is the future."

(edward helmore)

 

 

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