Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Sigur Ros' "Takk" -- Cherubim Rock

If the cherubim form garage bands (and one can only hope they do), then surely this must be the sound they make. I've only made it through one complete listen, most of it in the car, so I'm sure I've missed many of the nuances of this album. The usual criticisms -- the bombast, the pretension, the unrelenting elven tweeness of Jonsi's falsetto -- could probably be leveled against Takk. Who cares? The music is so gloriously sweeping and panoramic and downright spiritually uplifting that there were times when I had difficulty not raising my hands from the steering wheel, not a recommended practice when driving a minivan. I love the strings. I love the brass band. And I love the vision of a band that simply wants to make transparently beautiful music. They succeeded.

A new Sigur Ros album today and Sufjan Stevens in Cleveland tonight. It doesn't get much more beautiful and beatific than that.

7 comments:

e said...

glad to know there are other sigur ros fans out there that don't (1) live in iceland and/or (2) use the music as an excuse to drop lots of acid.
at least i am assuming both (or neither, depending on how you read that sentence) are true in your case.

equally glad the new album works. better than "()"? better than "A__B__"? (the funny alien fetus covered album whose name i can't possibly spell)

also, hope your face gets rocked off by sufjan the way mine did. definitely a different kind of rock show. one that seems oddly reminiscent of woody guthrie or bob dylan before copious amounts of drugs. and i'm saying that because i never saw either of them in concert. so my comparison could be, and likely is, complete rubbish.

kate said...

Can't wait to hear what you thought of Sufjan, Andy. They played here at Calvin on Monday night and it was absolutely delightful--a 180 from the swan costume days, that's for sure.

-Kate Bowman Johnston

Andy Whitman said...

Thanks for your comments, Erik and Kate.

Erik, it is true that I am neither from Iceland nor an acid head. Good call there.

I would hesitate to say that "Takk" is better than "()" or the AB album (I won't even pretend to know how to spell that title). It's somewhat different. It's certainly recognizable as Sigur Ros -- there's the high-pitched, inscrutable warbling, the soft songs that build and build and build to impossible crescendos, etc. But there's less drone, a little more focus on song structure, and the addition of a string quartet, an oompah band, and much heavier percussion. Nobody will confuse this for Sigur Ros's stab at pop stardom. But it strikes me as more accessible than the previous albums. It's uncommonly beautiful. I'm sure you'll like it.

Kate, yes, definitely a very different concert than the one we saw in April. Really great, too. I'm a big fan. FWIW, I'm also a big fan of what y'all are doing at Calvin. The Festival of Faith and Music was fun, enlightening, and uplifting. It was great to encounter others walking the same path, and who see the arts through roughly the same lenses. I hope you're doing well.

John McCollum said...

Haven't seen either of them live, of course, but I much prefer the Sigur Ros stuff to the Sufjan stuff. But that's just me.

Glad you had such a great time at the concert. I considered going up, but I would have been a real downer, I think.

I've been listening to Illinoise all day, and I still can't love it. But I'm trying really, really hard.

kate said...

Thanks, Andy--we like what you're doing, too! I had planned to be at the Messiah pop culture conference in November, but it turns out other plans are preventing me from going. I really regret that I'll miss your workshop on a joyful response to music (if that's indeed what you're still planning to do)--I think it's the reason all of us are drawn to the music we love, but it's easy to let that fall by the wayside when engaging music becomes your fulltime job. :)

teddy dellesky said...

glad to hear you liked the concert....wished i coulda gone...

the new sigur ros is excellent...less dark and brooding...more melodic and thisisbeautifulstanding hereinthemiddleofandicedoverwasteland kinda sound.

comments on the new death cab?

Jón H. said...

the AB album is called Ágætis Byrjun.

means an Alright Start.