After recently announcing his signing to Erased Tapes Records, Icelandic artist Högni, of indie rock group Hjaltalín & electronic group GusGus will release his debut album Two Trains on October 20th. Today he’s sharing the first single from the record, “Komdu Með”.
Listen to “Komdu Með” here:
Amidst destruction on the mainland, the two locomotives Minør and Pionér transported wagons full of rock and gravel to the Icelandic seaside during the construction of the Reykjavík harbour in 1913-1917. The two metallic giants ushered in a new age in Iceland. However, soon after construction ceased the two trains were parked and have never driven since. Now they only serve to remind us of the grandeur of a bygone future. They are the only trains ever to have graced the Icelandic landscape.
The music in Two Trains embraces the spirit of the original European avant-garde and invokes these concepts in its chugging rhythms, metallic clangs and brooding choral arrangements (men’s choruses are a distinctly Icelandic phenomena related to the national/romantic politics of the 19th and 20th century) while the lyrics speak of ominous clouds on the war-ridden eastern horizon and freight cars filled with gravel and dreams.
Words from Högni, July 2017:
“The music on Two Trains is a blue-print of a period in my life where I collided with my own self, and at that point I felt the indifference between the personal and the universal, the absolute consciousness of life’s unconsciousness. Perhaps it’s a feeling that cannot be conveyed, like watercolours that just seem to wash off into the sea. But also a flashing mirage that you can enjoy before you arrive at your last destination.”
As time went on, the two trains also began to bear a psychological implication to Högni and came to represent the different incarnations of his persona during a difficult period in his life. As a society we are also quite often faced with a fork in the road and a decision to make, and most importantly the acceptance of one’s self.
Today, the real Minør and Pionér are unemployed, mere relics. Minør is on display near the Reykjavík waterfront and Pionér is parked in an outdoor museum on a hill. But for Högni, with this release, the two trains have ushered in a new chapter in his own life.
The cover art incorporates a distorted portrait photograph taken by Anna Maggy with the help of Sigurður Oddsson’s art direction, using projected features to reflect the idea of duality.
Pre-order Two Trains here: http://phonofile.link/two-trains
Two Trains track listing:
2. Shed Your Skin
3. Komdu Með
5. Dragðu Mig
7. Break Up
8. Moon Pitcher
10. Enn Næða Orð
See Högni live:
3rd Sept – Erased Tapes 10th Anniversary Piano Stage Takeover, End of the Road Festival, DORSET UK
Through the light, light as a feather, you come down. Like a snowflake, spiraling down – featherlight.
Directed & Produced by The Icelandic Love Corporation
Filming & Editing: Óskar Kristinn Vignirsson
Here’s the official video for the third single from GusGus’ Mexico, the Icelandic group’s latest album on Kompakt. Directed by Reynir Lyngdal.
Next up on the Electronical Reeds, is Pole Folder, one of the foremost artists in his native Belgium, in association with Simon Latham. They serve up two fantastic tracks that come backed with four equally excellent remixes.
Pole Folder – a tremendous DJ and live performer – runs his own Reworck label, has also released on Global Underground and Bedrock. Simon Latham meanwhile, is a Iceland-based dance veteran whose tracks have been used on tons of compilations on Renaissance, and who has released on labels like Silent Shore Records, Armada, Proton, Olaris, Stress and others.
The first original called The Bitter Memory, is an enigmatic track with a really heart tugging male vocal floating in wide-open spaces. Rubbery drums play and drive the thing along and main room, sweeping melodies come in to sweep you off your feet. The second track, U.S.E. was previously released last autumn on the Y3ARS album. It is a spine tingling bit of magical house with great melodies and tons of atmosphere, as well as a super evocative and neo soul male vocal line that really takes flight. U.S.E. gets plenty of remix treatment.
First to appear is Kompakt’s Icelandic Superstar GusGus alongside T-World for a squelchy tech house reinterpretation that is elegant and uplifting. Next up is Brussels man and label artist, Lex Newton that gets all slick and lively on his classy house re-rub. Another Electronical Reeds artist, Superdrums, comes with his vision of U.S.E. and makes it into a cosmic bit of house funk. Finally, Simon Latham also turns in a solo remix that is even more moody and melodic.
Dancefloor driven cuts and melodic grooves is clearly the right definition for Electronical Reeds’ style and the present release backs it up. A solid package clearly stating a defined but open-minded artistic direction that appeals to a larger audience than most releases one gets to hear these days.
Out on 6th July 2014. Pre-order here. You can stream the EP in the player above.