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Ásgeir
In the Silence - Deluxe Edition
One Little Indian Records

Ásgeir Trausti Einarsson didn't go to stardom over the night, but as a young man he has reached very far with his solid album, first released in his homeland, in Icelandic. Then to be re-released as an international version, in English. Ásgeir had massive success in Iceland, and then he slowly conquered the Nordic countries, as well as taking on Europe, USA, and rest of the world. After winning several prizes at the Icelandic Music Awards 2012, he was nominated for the Nordic Music Prize (category: Best Nordic Album Of The Year) the same year. Even if he did not win the prize, he won newer, and bigger audiences. He was ready for 'world domination'.

Last winter, I checked out both versions of the album, and compared them somehow: The Icelandic original, Dýrð í dauðaþögn (from 2012), and the English version, In The Silence (released in 2014). Due to the exotic touch, the sound and melody of the Icelandic language, I prefer the original. Even though the English version works quite well. The songs themselves aren't that different. The musical content are the same. Pop melancholia, or catchy ballads with both sting and power, holding tristesse, and a glowing joy, or life hope. 'Glory in the silence of death', as Google translates the Icelandic title.

This Deluxe (Limited) Edition of In The Silence, includes both album variations, as well as a third disc holding bonus songs. I have focused on this bonus platter this time. The disc holding rarities and previously unheard material. Some of the tracks are 'just' remixes of some of Ásgeir's songs. Ásgeir is his international artist name. There are three tracks which were recorded live and acoustic at Toe Rag Studios, London (called the 'Toe Rag Session'). These are "Going Home", "Summer Guest", and "On That Day". Here is an acoustic take of "Torrent", which is a toned-down and fine, piano-based version of the great song. The remixes are: "King and Cross (Dot Major Remix)" ('Dot' is electro-pophead Dominic 'Dot' Major of London Grammar), "Torrent (Stay+ Remix)" (Stay+, a.k.a. Stay Positive or Stay Plus, a.k.a. Matt Farthing, is an UK electronic music act), and "King and Cross (Liam Howe Remix)" (Howe is a former Sneaker Pimps, and a producer for artists such as Lana Del Rey, Marina and the Diamonds, FKA Twigs, Ellie Goulding). Most of the other tracks are through-the-year/through-moods-of-all-seasons with Ásgeir. Here's "Ocean", "It Will Rain", "Stormurinn" ('Storm'),a dn "Nú Hann Blæs" ('Now it blows/It's Windy'), and "Frost". Then, there are a couple of other songs dealing with personal, inner moods, such as "Dreaming" and "Soothe This Pain". The acoustic session versions works very, very good. This shows the quality of the songs of Ásgeir. Brilliant. There is also a cover version included here, Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box". Which shows Ásgeir's emotional take on this classic, doing it as a piano ballad, with a slight electronic tint. I have heard it before, and I feel it is working really good. I guess this version is a track you either love or hate. I guess many of Cobain's fans find this too soft, too feminine sounding, too nice - it will probably annoy them. Well, I like it, and my guess is that Cobain would have loved it as well. The remixes are fair enough, but I have never been heavy into remix versions. I find most remixes to hold too much of the cut'n'paste, and too many repeats and stretches that I find to be unnecessary. Well, some of the other songs I haven't heard before is good enough, but this compiled disc of rarities and oddites does not compete with the full album: both the Icelandic, and/or the English.

I'm going to see Ásgeir perform live here in Oslo in two days. I am looking forward to check if there will be some new material, but I'm also keen to hear his best songs performed live in concert. I will also have a chat with Ásgeir before the show, and hopefully we'll present an interview with the young and gifted Icelandic quite soon.

Copyright © 2014 Håvarður Laugarbakki Oppöyen e-mail address

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