Iceland - Full Moon 214 - 02/15/14
In The Silence
One Little Indian / Playground
In the Silence is the English language version of Ásgeir's (a.k.a. Ásgeir Trausti, or, full name: Ásgeir
Trausti Einarsson) debut album Dýrð í dauðaþögn (Sena 2012). The (original) songs were written
by Ásgeir and his father, Einar Georg Einarsson (72)(some songs were co-written with Júlíus Aðalsteinn Róbertsson),
with original, Icelandic lyrics mostly penned by Einarsson Senior. American musician John Grant (from the 1990s/early 2000s band The Czars)
has translated the lyrics. Quite an interesting way of collaborating. As many times before Iceland stands out as maybe the most creative of
the Nordic countries. When comparing creativity by head-count the Icelandic are invincible, unbeatable.
Ásgeir Trausti (vocals, guitar, piano) hails from a small hamlet called Laugarbakki, population, 40(!!), in the Icelandic wilderness.
He was just 20 years old (born 1992) when he released Dýrð í dauðaþögn - an album almost 10% of
the Icelandic population own! Wow. So, what about his music, then? Ásgeir Trausti combines both organic and electronic elements in
his song writing and sound-creation. His songs are melancholic, as is his distinct voice, which recalls Justin 'Bon Iver' Vernon. The songs
can be tagged as eerie and fairy, maybe elvish, and can be filed along with many of the 'folktronica' artists of the last decade or so. I
try to double-check the songs and I skip back and forth between the original and the international version. The originals are more exotic
and spellbinding, of course, because of the atmosphere and tone of the Icelandic language. The songs themselves don't differ all that much,
but the troll-ish moods the language brings... well, you know.
In The Silence (and/or Dýrð í dauðaþögn) is highly recommended. You'll find songs of elegance
and beauty, created by a young talent - a natural. The piano-steered "Higher" (Icelandic: "Hærra") and the excellently rhythmic "Torrent"
(a.k.a. "Nýfallið regn") are outstanding. The 'Bon Ivery' title track is delicious and brilliant, so is "Was There Nothing?"
(a.k.a. "Hljóða nótt") and "Going Home" ("Heimförin"). Not to forget "Head in the Snow" (a.k.a. "Að grafa sig
í fönn"), or "In Harmony" (a.k.a. "Samhljómur"). In fact, it is a splendid album. Great melodies, neat arrangments,
everything wonderfully executed. An impressing debut from a creative soul, being an extremely talented and gifted artist, who could've
ended up as a sportsman: He studied classical guitar as a child, but then he headed for a sports career, before returning to focus on a
musical career. Good choice. To quote John Grant, on his young prodigy: "Working with Ásgeir
has been quite fun and has also been very inspiring. Although on some days I want to tear my hair out at how young and beautiful and
talented and simultaneously nonchalant about it all he is. His knack for melody and gorgeous harmonies coupled with his amazing sense of
rhythm and virtuosity on acoustic guitar should make him a household name, no matter what language he's speaking. I can say with total
certainly, that at the age of 20 that I did not know my asshole from a hole in the ground. Or however that saying goes."
Copyright © 2014 Håvard Oppøyen