Iceland Airwaves 2015 Day Four: (More) Bo Ningen, Tonik Ensemble, Anna B Savage, and Kiasmos | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Anna B Savage

Iceland Airwaves 2015 Day Four: (More) Bo Ningen, Tonik Ensemble, Anna B Savage, and Kiasmos, November 7th, 2015

Nov 15, 2015 Anna B Savage Photography by Laura Studarus Bookmark and Share

I spent my afternoon on a tour, during which a sweater-clad tour guide insisted that we all have a beer and took us to the Whales of Iceland museum to meet the mayor of Reykjavik—himself an avid music fan. Seriously? Can you imagine another city where the mayor can’t wait to meet with a music journalist? (Note to self: Make Eric Garcetti a mixtape. See what happens.)

Our afternoon ended with a stop at Sundhöllin swimming hall, where Tonik Ensemble (really the work of one man, Anton Kaldal Agustsson) performed a concert that featured underwater speakers. But even on dry land, there’s something magical about his brand downbeat ambient. Ghostly vocal drones, crackling backbeats, live sax, and moments of minimalism—on paper any description of his recent album Snapshots feels a bit like an exercise in music elitism. But it comes together in an incredibly emotionally satisfying, awe-inspiring blend. (Perhaps one of my favorite new artists of the entire week.)

After drying off and warming up, I headed over to The Line of Best Fit’s stage to catch Kiasmos. Best friends, music geeks, and composers in ever sense of the word, Janus Rasmussen and Ólafur Arnalds aren’t satisfied with half-measures. Since seeing them in June at Best Kept Secret, the musicians have upped their live show (read: not an iPad in site), improving upon the already standout disco groves, ambient synth drones, and throbbing, post-pop swirl of their self-titled debut. Plus they managed to look like they were having the time of their lives in the process—which is always a bonus. (Performing should be fun, right?)

Confession: After Kiasmos, I left Harpa, even though the mighty Beach House performing right afterwards. My mission? See Anna B. Savage perform. Given the nature of the British guitarist’s material, which explores the fear of being seen for who you truly are (“I would say that I’m a feminist/but I would say that there’s something I missed.”), it was a suitably intimate event. The emotional performance climaxed with a cover of My Brightest Diamond’s “Something of an End,” which perfectly suited Savage’s husky voice.

Okay, remember that bit from yesterday’s review when I admitted I’m not punk? Well, that might not be so true—because after the previous night’s introduction to Bo Ningen, I sprinted through the rainy streets to Gaukurinn (a perfectly grimy punk club) to catch them again. Breaking news: still loud. Still aggressive. Still awesome. I gotta learn how to headbang.

Finishing out my night with Gangly was one of those happy moments when going with the flow actually pays off. They were an unknown factor, but it turns out I did know who they were: Sindri Már Sigfússon (Sin Fang), Jófríður Ákadóttir (Samaris/Pascal Pinon), and Úlfur Alexander Einarsson (Oyama). The project didn’t sound anything like the artists’ other outlets, instead fusing sprawling electronic soundscapes with a touch of R&B, and enough sass to avoid the all-too cliché Icelandic tag, “glacial.” (There are no glaciers in the city of Reykjavik. Please, tell a friend.) Notawkward, as the name would imply, and certainly more than ready for the big leagues.

Tomorrow: Journalists go rogue. Hot Chip goes hot. And festival lag is real. Very very real.

Check out photos from day four here.









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