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p>Now available domestically from XL Recordings, Ágætis Byrjun was the second album from Sigur Ros and their critical and commercial breakthrough release. Presented as a UK import 2 LP on 150 gram vinyl (with MP3 dowload), Ágætis Byrjun represented a substantial departure from the band's previous album Von, with that album's Cocteau Twins-esque dream pop and extended ambient soundscapes replaced by Jónsi Birgisson's now signature cello-bowed guitarwork and lush orchestration (using a double string octet amongst other orchestral elements).
Rolling Stone ranked Ágætis Byrjun the 29th best album of the 2000s.
“Sigur Rós conjured magic with drones, using strings, brass, electronics and guitars that took Jimmy Page's bowing technique to new heights.” - Rolling Stone
“Sigur Ros effortlessly make music that is massive, glacial, and sparse. they are hidden people. Children will be conceived, wrists will be slashed, scars will be healed, and tears will be wrenched by this group. They are the first vital band of the 21st century.” – Pitchfork
Artist And Album Information: Rumbling, pings, tjúúúú, palindromic strings, bjargvttur, the coughing brass intro, bamm bamm bamm, the crecendo, the flute, the simplicity, and it fades out. press play again. A lot of people have one album that changes their lives, something that in some way alters everything after the first moment they hear it. Ágætis Byrjun is that album for a lot of people. Ágætis Byrjun, a good beginning, is actually Sigur Rós' second beginning. Three years previously they released their debut album, Von. After that the trio became a quartet and they evolved into something astounding. As suggested by a lyric from Agætis Byrjun's title track, Sigur Rós had bigger ambitions after Von. Sigur Rós began hastily recording Agætis Byrjun in August 1998, with a release date set for October. They soon realised they would never be satisfied with the quality of the album in time for the release. So they bought themselves some time to fine-tune the record and the album was finally released on June 12th 1999.
Ágætis Byrjun gradually grew into a huge commercial success in Iceland, remaining in the top charts for over 2 years. Dave and Alex from Fat Cat Records who had their eye on Sigur Rós since 1998, quickly signed the band following Ágætis Byrjun's release. The first indication of the critical acclaim the album would receive abroad came with the release of the svefn-g-englar ep in September 1999. Ecstatic reviews began emerging and gushes like "the last great band of the twentieth century" and "like god weeping tears of gold in heaven" were not uncommon. Ágætis Byrjun became available to the rest of the world in 2000 when Fat Cat released the album in the UK, and in 2001 when PIAS released the album in North America.
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 the LP Record edition.
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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.
I've avoided this disc, not because I wasn't interested; I was wwaiting for the right moment and glad I picked this day. To my left, the sun was rising over the Hudson and invading the skyscrapers of midtown, while the most ethereal melodies were coarsing through my brain. This is music at its finest and most polished. If I had at least one tenth of the talent of this otherworldly group, I'd be creatively satisfied with myself.
From start to finish, I was captivated by every note, every sound, every syllable.
I'm not going to do a huge disservice and compare Sigur Ros to any other band, because they simply do not. But, if you find yourself living in the world between rock and electronica, I'd highly reccomend this album to you. Enjoy.
For an album who's songs stretch up into the the ten minute range, this is a very accessable record. The instrumentals are soothing yet intense, often at the same time (think Kid A-era Radiohead), as this is very much mood music. Pianos interweave with bowed electric guitars, fingerpicked acoustics, moderate percussion, keyboard melodies, etcetera. One song (Olsen Olsen, I believe) even has a somewhat dischordant orchestral bombast.
As far as the vocals, Jonsi has a beautiful falsetto (no one I play this for believes that's a guy at first), and even though I don't understand the lyrics (they are Icelandic after all), I like the tonal quality of them.
To a point, Vanilla Sky did for Sigur Ros what Benny & Joon did for the Proclaimers: gave an unknown band stateside a few minutes in the spotlight. Given, Sven-g-Englar (which loosely translates to Sleepwalkers I think), the song on the VS soundtrack, is one you hear people going on about a lot. The standout, in my opinion however, is the title track, Agaetis Byrjun (A Good Beginning). Both are fantastic songs, though, and the rest of the album isn't much behind.
So yes. If you're in the mood for a three minute pop hook, obviously you would do well to look elsewhere. If you're willing to invest a little patience, however, Agaetis Byrjun is a top cut. Let it wash over you and see where it takes you.
Most recent customer reviews
Favourite Album from Sigur Ros apart from their ( ) release. So glad it was repressed. Brilliant album, brilliant live.Published 20 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
Anyone who appreciates beautiful music would love this album. It's not something you listen to when you're drunk in the club, or jamming in your car down the boardwalk on the... Read morePublished on July 16 2004 by R. A. Satterfield
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