Spotlight Album Review #1

Reviewed on this page:

One of the better bands to emerge from Iceland's avant-garde music scene, the four-man Sigur Ros (pronounced SEE-gurr roash; translation: victory rose) specialize in lengthy orchestral soundscapes. The lyrics that complement the atmospheric and otherworldly noise are sung in "Hopelandic", described as a mixture of Icelandic and gibberish. Until the band's later releases attracted attention in the U.S., their 1997 debut CD Von was only released in their native Iceland on a label called Smekkleysa (translation: Bad Taste). The album was eventually released in the U.S. in October 2004 on the One Little Indian label.

The 72-minute Von, packaged in a sleek dark-purple jewelcase, consists of prog-rock electronica that vaguely resembles Pink Floyd and Radiohead. The 10-minute opening track takes nearly its whole length to get out of the gate, though it would make good background music for a horror movie; ditto the equally opaque 12-minute "Haffsol" for a fantasy-adventure film. The sixth track is merely 18 seconds of silence; should this be interpreted as a John Cage influence? The odd-numbered tracks are generally more interesting than the even-numbered ones. The standouts include "Hun Jord", which matches angelic vocals with fuzzy distortion, and the more accessible "Myrkur", which puts similar voices in a more conventional alternative rock arrangement. Overall, Von is a bit less cohesive than subsequent Sigur Ros releases, but no less adventurous.

Track Listing:

1. Sigur Ros
2. Dogun
3. Hun Jord
4. Liet ad lifi
5. Myrkur
6. 18 sekundur fyrir solaruppras
7. Hafssol
8. Verold ny og od
9. Von
10. Mistur
11. Syndir Guds (Opinberun frelsarans)
12. Rukrym


Other spotlight albums:

#2: Various Artists - "Concerts for the People of Kampuchea" (1981)

#3: Gerry Goffin - "It Ain't Exactly Entertainment" (1973)

#4: The Graces - "Perfect View" (1989)

#5: Genesis - "Calling All Stations" (1997)

#6: hindu love gods (1990)

#7: Various Artists - "Message To Love: The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970" (1996)

#8: Distractions - "Nobody's Perfect" (1980)

#9: Deconstruction (1994)

#10: Juicy Groove - "First Taste" (1978)

#11: Emmylou Harris - "Gliding Bird" (1969)

#12: Various Artists - "Beyond The Wildwood: A Tribute To Syd Barrett" (1987)

#13: Candy - "Whatever Happened To Fun..." (1985)

#14: RTZ - "Return To Zero" (1991)

#15: Klark Kent - "Kollected Works" (1995)

#16: Various Artists - "Rainy Day" (1984)

#17: Alex Chilton - "1970" (1996)

#18: Feist - "Monarch Lay Your Jewelled Head Down" (1999)

#19: Attila (1970)

#20: Slipknot - "Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat." (1996)

#21: Eyes Adrift (2002)

#22: Stoney and Meatloaf (1971)

#23: Elliott Murphy - "Aquashow" (1973)

#24: Evanescence - "Origin" (2000)