We live in a world that is designed to reward those who aim for a louder, bigger, faster, heavier approach. A band specializing in the more mellow and subtler nuances of music truly is a phenomenon. Árstíðir hailing from Iceland, are indeed one of those bands.
Who Is Árstíðir
Árstíðir means “seasons” in their native language of Icelandic. Their musical stylings, like the ever-changing seasons, have never sat firmly in one singular camp. Árstíðir’s music defies genre borders and might best be described as classically influenced indie folk rock.
There is no doubt that Árstíðir are Icelandic. Even if I hadn’t known beforehand, within seconds of the album starting, this fact would have been confirmed. You see, there is something about the music that emanates from this magical island. Whatever the genre, whatever the inspiration, there is something about it that just sounds unique, Icelandic. If I’m ever able to fully put my finger on what it is, I’ll be the first to shout. However, at the moment, I can’t get past two words: ‘purity’ and ‘atmosphere’.
It’s like the music from Iceland is distilled in a certain way that gives it all a definite, similar vibe. And that vibe, to me, is honesty and complete musical integrity. Árstíðir are no different, as their album, ‘Nivalis’, demonstrates very powerfully. You might not normally listen to music of this style and delivery, but there’s something about this band and this record that will draw you in. There’s a strength in the minimalism at play within much of the material, whilst the voices of the band members are engaging and occasionally hypnotic, full of warmth and feeling.
Árstíðir : The Beginning
The band emerged from the blossoming Icelandic music scene in 2008, by the three founding members. Daniel Auðunsson (guitar) Gunnar Már Jakobsson (baritone guitar) and Ragnar Ólafsson (piano) discovered their mutual love for vocal harmonies. As a result, the musicians quickly went from playing acoustic covers to writing their own music.
The Icelanders combined their individual and mutual influences of classical, folk rock, and minimalist soundscapes. Consequently, they created a sound by merging their ideas into something they could call their own. .
They experiment with everything from Radiohead indie rock quirks to the melancholic elegance of latter-day Sólstafir. Similarly, the trio effortlessly create a vivid but mysterious atmosphere.
The Sound of Árstíðir
Árstíðir weave elements of sound with lyrics describing heartbreak, longing, and a deep connection to the circular oneness of life. Intricate simplicity and genuine skill enhance each composition with organic acoustic traditions and modern electronic arrangements.
The Reykjavík-based crafters present a moving mixture of stringed instruments, tasteful percussion, and beautifully harmonized vocals through an emotive blend of indie, folk, and soft rock
Árstíðir provide a musical wonderland in which to get lost; undoubtedly inspired by the vast breathtaking landscapes of their home country.