Image by Barnaby Roper
It’s been a difficult few months, of course. And much as reality has allowed us a few glimpses of hope these last couple of weeks, it’s always one step forward, 3/4 of a step back.
So you’ll understand our excitement at the arrival of a mind-bending new video by one Jónsi Birgisson, otherwise known as the multidisciplinary artist and frontman of Icelandic musical enigma Sigur Rós. And indeed, the hyper-sensory clip for his latest single “Swill” is a fascinating escape into a hallucinatory world, where an emotional tumult plays out against a stark black background, an ostensible battle between beauty and anguish…no clear winner emerging. With direction by Barnaby Roper and animation courtesy of Pandagunda, the dreamlike imagery begs a thousand interpretations.
The hymn-like track itself is punctuated with jarringly visceral sonic dynamics, surely reflecting the ambiguity of the lyrics.
“I’ll go to war with me
You see me walking around in slow motion like a ghost
You’re right, of course, the blood in my brain”
The release comes on the heels of his first solo exhibition at LA’s Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in late 2019—and is a teaser for Jónsi’s first solo album in more than a decade. Due out in October, Shiver (XL Recordings) will feature guest appearances by both Robyn and Liz Fraser…so obviously we’re, um, shivering with anticipation.