October 19, 2014
Sometimes a band or an album, as with some people you meet, places you visit, things you experience, signifies a certain time in your life. Like a sentimental bookmark it captures all the emotions and memories associated with a particular event or series of events that is often difficult to express in words. The interpretation of music, its significance, is about the connection it creates with seemingly disparate events and ideas, putting together a puzzle in your mind and creating an emotional postcard that you carry around for the rest of your life. Valtari, the long-awaited new album by Icelandic sound-mongers Sigur Rós, bears testament to this.
Known for their vast, ethereal soundscapes and gibberish Hopelandic lyrics, the band has once again created an album which folds around you like a warm blanket on a cold winter’s night, its soaring, melancholy melodies and sparse lyrics warming you from the inside. It snatches you away from reality to the world inside your head, the place where your deepest hopes and dreams reside, lingers there for a while before gently releasing you back into the real world with the painfully beautiful ‘Fjögur Píanó‘, the most apt ending to an album since Radiohead’s ‘Street Spirit (Fade Out)’.
They say solitude fosters creativity, that everyone should embrace solitude and revel in it from time to time, thereby giving your mind the opportunity to connect the dots and recognize the patterns which helps keep you moving forward. It’s an essential part of our existence and Valtari serves as a conduit of sorts to this space, providing a fitting soundtrack to your deepest, darkest thoughts. It takes you from highs to lows to highs in the way the ocean’s ebb and flow gently brings in tides and pulls them away. It gives you space, to think, to interpret, to connect with the emotion in the music and find that place of solitary freedom.
At the end of the day, Valtari means to you what you make of it. It can be a deeply emotional experience that speaks to your core on a level beyond explanation, or it can simply be background music to a lazy Sunday morning. Whichever way, Valtari is an amazing album, recapturing the sound so reminiscent of Sigur Rós’ first few albums without feeling rehashed or stale, it’s the sound that has made them such an endearing band.
Valtari signifies a certain time in my life, a time of great challenge and great change.
I will forever hold it dear.