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Re-issue 2009. Emerging from the chilly climes of Iceland, the Sigur Ros sound is characterized by slow, swooping waves of atmospheric guitar and keyboards that move over their epic tone-poems like windstorms over a wintry plain. Hushed vocals are delivered in a pidgin language the group dubbed "Hopelandic." Endorsed by the likes of Radiohead, they became international critical darlings and hipster faves in 2001 with their breakthrough recording AGAETIS BYRJUN.
Reykjavík-based noise quartet Sigur Rós are the biggest band in their native Iceland, which should say much, much more about the collective insanity of that earthquake-ridden, blizzard-beaten crag of an island than anything to do with Sigur Rós's sound. But in their music, Sigur Rós reflect all the breathtaking glory of the Icelandic wastes--a fairy-tale explosion of unhinged elemental majesty that's finally crystallized here, their debut European release. Poised somewhere between the haunting soundscapes of Labradford and the lilting Celtic falsetto of Enya, Agaetis Byrjun is a truly breathtaking listen. Frontman Jon Por Birgisson sings in a language that Sigur Rós dub "Hopelandic"--an otherworldly mutation of Icelandic, sung in the falsetto cadence of angels; similarly, he plays his guitar with a violin bow, opening the floodgates for brilliant waves of feedback. And while it's the opening "Svefn-G-Englar" that's Sigur Rós' moment to date, there's far more that they have to offer; listen to the pomp and flourish of a full orchestra on "Flugufrelsarinn," or the awe-inspiring near-religious mantra of "Ny Batteri." --Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is what RadioHead has been trying to achieve, and Tom Yorkes invite to have Sigur Ros open for them only solidified my decision to purchase this disc.
Agaetis Byrjun , and () - another phenomenal piece of music, have the potential to change your music habits forever. The haunting vocals (which are not in any language I recognize) will stay in your head long after the CD has stopped.
The first time I listened to this it was like a whole new world of music was opened to me. I can only imagine this is exactly how people felt when first exposed to Dark Side of the Moon. The arrangement of instruments is simply stunning, and will have your emotions dancing all over the place.
Please do not let this CD get away from you. Ask your friends, and anyone else who has a broad view on music, they will likely agree.
to agree with Krist and Neil it did invoke Pink Floyd; Svefn-G-Englar starts almost exactly as "Echoes" did of Pink Floyd's 1971 album "Meddle".
This album Invokes all the groups strengths and weaknesses. If you examine one track on this album go straight to Ny Batteri, they are excellent mood makers and build up the tension only to let it explode in a great big clash of noise. This track is a great cut away of the album. The explosions of noise are MIA on ( ) and they are too prevelent on Takk... which may give the listener the wrong impression of the band. Without these burst of emotion the album would be completely boring in my opinion.
however their perennial weakness rears its ugly head -in my opinion- they take too god damn long to get rolling sometimes making their songs and albums long just for the sake of taking up my time. But alas it is art after all.
If you are not a fan, because you hate the way the singer sounds or some other stubborn reason like that, then avoid at all costs it will not win you over. However for the curious -like I was- and the patient, this is an album of sometimes overwhelming beauty -it gave me chills at some points- and I highly recommend it.
5 full stars for being their best work so far, and one of my favorite albums.
My favorite song on 'Agaetis Byrjun' is 'Vidrar Vil tel Loftarasa' which is Icelandic (as is sung the album) for 'nice dau for an air raid'. It's mood is unlike any other I've felt in my large and diverse collection of music. Its corresponding video is touching, for both obvious and personal reasons.
On that note, I also recommend the Sigur 1/Sigur 9 single, not so much for the music CD than for the included DVD containing the breathtaking videos for 'Svefn-G-Englar', the abovementioned 'Vidrar Vil tel Loftarasa' from 'Agaetis Byrjun' and 'Untitled #1' from Sigur Rós' untitled following to 'Agaetis Burjun'
This album is definately a necessity for music-lovers young and old.
The peak of the album is the slow, sparkling, sweeping "Svefn-G-Englar." When listening to the eerie mixture of organ, strings and chimes, think about the northern lights over a glacier. But Sigur Rós has more than just soundscapes: the orchestral majesty of "Staralfur," the ethereal music-box acoustics of "Agaetis Byrjun," and the gentle piano and swelling strings of "Vidrar vel til loftarasa."
It's hardly surprising that Sigur Rós is the biggest band in Ireland -- their music is ethereal, accessible, and so atmospheric that it's hard not to be swept away. There's a certain epic quality to their songs; what's more, they can can slowly switch from spine-tinglingly eerie to angelic ethereality.
It takes real effort to pick apart the seamless music at times. It almost feels wrong to do so. But the sweeping strings, organ and electric piano are standouts in "Agaetis Byrjun." Most uniquely, there are music-scapes created without synths. Instead, there is an electric guitar played by a cello bow -- a unique bit of brilliance.
Icelandic singers are going to sing in Icelandic, right? Wrong. Frontman Jon Por Birgisson sings in a sort of made-up language the band calls "Hopelandic." There's no discernable meaning, but Birgisson's high-pitched, melodious crooning banishes any real need for lyrics that mean something. His voice is just another instrument, like the piano or violin.
Imagine a cool, starry night with a cold breeze blowing through the trees -- that's Sigur Rós. Angelic and ethereal, "Agaetis Byrjun" is a rare musical experience without a single dud song.
Most recent customer reviews
Favourite Album from Sigur Ros apart from their ( ) release. So glad it was repressed. Brilliant album, brilliant live.Published 11 months ago by Slowgan
I recommend this CD to every single pregnant mother I know. This CD is what got me through my labour. I laboured for 43 hours, and this CD was my life-saver. Read morePublished on Nov. 14 2006 by MudFlap's Momma
Now this is emotional stuff quite like the "Angels of the Universe" sound track from Hillmarsson who is also Icelandic. The album is beautiful and often child like. Read morePublished on May 3 2005 by Elise
Emotional, electric, symphonic, at times harsh, but vastly beautiful, modern, artistic music from Iceland. Read morePublished on Aug. 22 2004 by krista
This is my number one desert island CD. Orgasmic and haunting are the best ways I can describe this album. Read morePublished on July 6 2004 by R. Salomon
I can only describe this album in few words, since there is so much to describe it with, it's amazing. Absolutely stunning. Read morePublished on June 23 2004 by ryan