On October 19, 2019, Icelandic rock giants SÓLSTAFIR performed an intimate set during a live appearance at KEXP Studios in Seattle, WA as part of Reykjavik Calling. which was presented by Iceland Naturally in conjunction with Taste of Iceland, a 10-day festival that highlights the very best of Iceland’s culture, showcasing the nation’s cuisine, music, literature, and film with a variety of events throughout the city. KEXP has since shared the footage of the performance, which can be seen at THIS LOCATION.
Speaking of the performance, SÓLSTAFIR comment:
“We first came across KEXP eight years ago in Iceland during Iceland Airwaves, then we visited them in Seattle a few years later. Both of these performances became rather special to us since we kept meeting fans all over the globe saying they got to know our band by seeing these KEXP performances. So it was indeed very special for us to visit them again in their new headquarters in Seattle. We had a great time there, joined by fellow Icelanders Kælan Mikla. The KEXP staff is so super friendly and cool. KEXP is such a one of a kind unique thing, and eight years after our first encounter it has become very dear to us. Not to mention how Seattle is, there is something in the water there; they are pretty similar to Icelanders I gotta say, it’s hard to explain.”
Music will always be inspired by the environment in which it is created. With its incredible array of highly diverse landscapes ranging from white glaciers via volcanic bizarreness, moss-green bubble-fields, deep fjords, and frost-cracked mountains to black beaches, Iceland has shaped a host of astonishingly original and fiercely individual bands such as SIGUR RÓS, BJÖRK, and SÓLSTAFIR.
SÓLSTAFIR embody the ever-turning wheel of seasons with their shifting light, darkness, and colours, extreme Northern climate, the stark contrasts, the closeness of beauty and deadly forces of nature, the impressive sceneries that have the bones of ancient gods enshrined in them like hardly any other band in every aspect of their existence.
SÓLSTAFIR are not like any other band. Their latest album, ‘Berdreyminn’ underscores this statement. As its title “a dreamer of forthcoming events” aptly describes, the four Icelanders have taken their already impressive evolution one step further. The band has continued to amalgamate haunting melodies, psychedelic phases, as well as strong undercurrents of classic rock and hard rock with echoes of their metal past. Yet SÓLSTAFIR‘s focus is not on style but pure emotion. ‘Berdreyminn’ is eclectic by a conscious choice to make feelings audible and transform taste as well as texture to sound. Genre borders are not broken but simply ignored. Musical influences are gathered from a wide range of sources, re-arranged, and woven into new patterns. Melancholy, longing, anger, joy, pleasure, pain, and other emotions are fulling this album.
Despite leaning clearly towards an expression that can be described as rock today, SÓLSTAFIR have their roots in metal as their debut full-length ‘Í Blóði og Anda’ (2002), which translates as “In Blood and Spirit” still witnesses. Instead of today’s Icelandic gravel throated siren chants, frontman Aðalbjörn Tryggvason spat forth vitriolic crusty vocals and all strings were forged with black metal. Already their next albums ‘Masterpiece of Bitterness’ (2005) and ‘Köld’ (2009) marked stations of a continuous evolution. SÓLSTAFIR went further along their solitary path and obviously left any categorising box with the ground-breaking follow-ups ‘Svartir Sandar’ (2011) and ‘Ótta’ (2014), which received high critical acclaim and attracted new fans in equal measure, while managing the difficult feat of keeping most of their earlier following too.
SÓLSTAFIR have set sails to new horizons with ‘Berdreyminn’. Yet the Icelanders brought their home with them and the silhouette of their vessels remains easily recognisable. Welcome aboard on a new adventurous musical journey into uncharted territories.