Iceland is a notoriously beautiful country. Anyone who’s seen it in the sunlight might describe it as the most breathtaking, humbling sights out there.
Anyone who’s seen it in the clouds, the rain, the snow might describe it as beyond unsettling. Indeed, it resembles some post-mortal omen that even words can’t quite capture.
aYia jarringly balances these two Icelandic extremes across its self-titled debut album. Certainly the most highly anticipated debut album by an Icelandic artist in recent memory.
Who Is aYia?
They materialized quietly, as if out of nowhere. Seemingly emerging from a crack in the space/time continuum shrouded in mystery. aYia conjure the most mesmerizing, atmospheric and darkest magic from behind a curtain of murk and gloom.
The outfit made their appearance in 2016 with the track “Water Plant”, delivering icy synths, pulsating beats, and haunting vocals.
Everyone familiar with Iceland’s music scene knew they were hearing the future of Icelandic electronic music. aYia captivated the imagination of many with their abstract electro-pop.
The band even managed to play a prestigious KEXP Iceland Airwaves session that year, without releasing any further music. The presentation felt purposeful. It was immediately apparent aYia was something with a personality all of its own.
The Soundscape of aYia
Notably, their music contains dichotomous elements of airy, featherlight vocals. Tense silences contrasted against massive synth sounds and pounding beats. Their sound, mysterious and fluid. A spacious world full of possibility and poetry.
“The music is full of space and quiet,” says Kristinn. “There’s power behind it—but it’s not showing all the time.”
Prior to releasing their debut LP, sporadic output of just one song a year maintained an intriguing air of mysticism around aYia. Thus making their first album all the more enticing — and it does not disappoint.
aYia’s music follows the lead of modern Icelandic artists. This shortlist includes GANGLY and Högni with their disquieting digital music. Dash pop music with hints of complete and total fear, mess up the percussive pattern just a bit. As a result, you get something that almost manages to capture Iceland’s nightmarish mysticism.
aYia.. in essence, a mysterious thing. Markedly, a new force made of an anonymous trio destined for greatness. The arrival of aYia marked the opening of a new dimension. An unfamiliar soundscape that takes the listener on a journey through infinite space and time.