Just because Árstíðir hails from the land of volcanic hot springs and faeries, does not mean you are guaranteed another Sugarcubes derivative or spacey dreampop.
In fact this sextet is more akin to a well-arranged chamber orchestra with 70’s folk songwriters like Simon & Garfunkel or Cat Stevens (or Jose Gonzales to use a more contemporary reference) whispering in the wings while Michael Nyman conducts Rachels and Penguin Cafe Orchestra at center stage. Beautifully arranged melodies with orchestral overtones, soft thumb-picked guitars and multi-voiced harmonies come together in a warm bath of ideas supported by legitimately refined musicianship.
We urge you to explore their links below and gift yourself this act’s incredible recordings.
Meanwhile, we managed to slide the ensemble some questions in spite of their busy touring schedule. Here is what we learned:
MusicZeitgeist: Who or what is Árstíðir?
We’re a band from Iceland. Our name means seasons, but there are six of us, which is about four more seasons than Iceland really has. Our name is pronounced “OURS teeth hurt.”
MZ: What you reply to someone asking about your style?
We sing stuff together more or less in tune. We like tight vocal arrangements, minimalist chamber music style strings and piano, and a homegrown trio of baritone and acoustic guitars.
MZ: Whence does this music arise?
We are based in Reykjavík, Iceland, though some of our members grew up in Sweden and one in Michigan. Nature and the cycle of seasons in Iceland generate a lot of the images in our music. Our latest album’s title, Svefns og vöku skil, translates roughly to “the boundary between sleep and waking,” which has a bit of lucid dreamlike magic to it in a place were there is over twenty hours of darkness for part of the year.
MZ: Talk about the timeline:
The three guitarists of our band met in college choir in 2007 and wrote some of our first songs together. We then went out and got a cellist and pianist in 2008, and a violinist in 2009, when we achieved [a stable balance].
MZ: What’s Next?
Our next touring-spell will last .touring roughtly until Christmas: We’re presently touring through Central and Eastern Europe, Germany and Russia, and are putting together a remix series with some of our favorite electronic musicians from Iceland, Scandinavia, and abroad. Then we hope to get back to writing together before the next year.
Árstíðir’s Vital Links:
- Árstíðir Official Site
- Árstíðir on Facebook
- Árstíðir on Twitter
- Árstíðir on MySpace
- Árstíðir on Bandcamp
- Árstíðir on iTunes
- Árstíðir on Last.FM
- Árstíðir on YouTube
- Árstíðir on Vimeo
Listen now to “NuÌ gleymist eÌg” by Árstíðir and other artists we have featured at the MusicZeitgeist.com’s free Indie Music Jukebox
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