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The whimsical sound of a cello, soaring vocals, and an orchestral movement’s synchronized passion can all emotionally shred through the heart of any listener. Though they’re not a requirement for a listeners' captivating experience, those aspects sure help to make beautiful music. One group in particular comes to mind when I think of beautiful songs. That band is Iceland’s Sigur Ros. In just a few weeks, fans of the Icelandic group will be treated to a sixth album straight from its home country. Coming out May 29th, Valtari is Ros’s first record in four years, after 2008’s Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust; or in English, With a Buzz in Our Ears We Play Endlessly.
In accordance with its release, the band’s enlisted a dozen filmmakers to accompany each of the twelve songs from Valtari. Entitled “Mystery Film Experience,” the “Hoppípolla” hit-makers commissioned filmmakers like John Cameron Mitchell, Nick Abrahams, Arni & Kinski, Ramin Bahrani, Melika Bass, Inga & Lilja Birgisdottir, Alma Har’el, Sarah Hopper, Clare Langan, Henry Jun Wah Lee, Ryan McGinley, and Dash Shaw to bring the songs to life. Today the first of twelve short films was released, and it’s for the song “Ég anda.” Directed by Ragnar Kjartansson, you can watch the video below:
The Heimlich maneuver, chocking, and beautiful cinematography obviously go along well with Sigur Ros’s music. According to a press release from bassist Georg Holm, he states “With the films, we have literally no idea what the directors are going to come back with. None of them know what the others are doing, so it could be interesting.” Maybe that’s why this is video was surprising? With no creative input at all, Sigur Ros gave these filmmakers free reign to do whatever they wanted. I like that idea though, because what captures the hearts and minds of Sigur Ros’s audience in the first place?
Even though mass audiences will likely claim another band or artist as holier than thou, what’s true is that no other group has matched the waves of emotion, uplifting sound, and unbridled creativity that Sigur Ros’s six albums have. By that standard though, matching post-rock and a “how to” video about the Heimlich maneuver oddly makes sense.
Valtari is coming out on May 29th, but you can now stream the album weeks early. All you have to do is head over to NPR Music’s “First Listen.”