Sigur Rós has had a rather busy 12 months, what with the release of their 2012 album Valtari and the Secret Video Project that went with it, not to mention the Secret Video Project featuring shorts from John Cameron Mitchell and a naked Shia LaBeouf, among other things. They played some festival shows last year and have a ton of dates coming up across the U.S. and Europe, including Coachella and Sasquatch!, and have Oneohtrix Point Never and TIm Hecker performing with them. So now seems like as good of a time as any to release the best kind of merchandising tie-in for Sigur Rós: a custom scented candle that smells like their studio, named the "Varðeldur candle" after a song from their most recent album.
“The smoky, slightly briny smell of a flotsam campfire on a distant black beach under a wan midnight sun. And, most recently, the smell of Sigur Rós’s studio, while they go about the quasi-mystical business of making the magic happen. Specially developed to the band’s olfactory specifications, this candle burns for 35 evocative hours of ‘instant Iceland,’ or something like that.”
And for $23.50—plus shipping from England—that flotsam-y, beachy smell can inspire you too to make weird and beautiful and heartbreaking music for acid trips and Wes Anderson movies. For effect, watch the "Starálfur" scene from The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou and Mitchell and Dash Shaw’s video, Seraph, for the Sigur Rós video project.
Fans of the fluid, evocative animated sequences in John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch will notice some similarities — particularly the movement and the highlighting of eyes and faces — to “Seraph,” the sequence he’s co-written for Sigur Ros’ Mystery Film Experiment. Mitchell collaborated with Dash Shaw on the video, which features album selections “Rembihnútur” and “Ekki Múkk” (the latter which we’ve already seen at least once) from the new album, Valtari. (In the experiment, which will run through November 19th, Sigur Rós gave a number of filmmakers the same budget to each create a different short film around one of the songs from Valtari.)
The clip, which builds over the angelic “Rembihnútur,” focuses on a young boy grapping with his own desire to be nude, the religious dogma imparted to him by his father and the internal conflict he faces, which he takes out on his own body through self-harm and violence, and eventually prison. The climactic scene, against the clop-clopping of “Rembihnútur’s” percussive heartbeat, is somewhat difficult to watch, even with the beautiful music soundtracking it. Take a look at Shaw and Mitchell’s work below.
It’s Wednesday! You’ve made it through more than half the week! Good job! Chances are, you’re pretty stressed out about it. What better way to unwind from the pressures of the week than with some lush, screen-saver nature footage set to billowing Icelandic pop music?
For the eighth installment of Sigur Ros’ "Mystery Film Experiment" in which a dozen filmmakers, all with the same budget, each create a video from a track from their new album, Valtari, Henry Jun Wah Lee, a highly gifted nature photographer and filmmaker (and a physician of Chinese medicine, says his website—is there anything this man can’t do?), explored the green forests, crags and rocky coasts of Japan’s Yakushima island. Nature unfolds, clouds billow and stars twinkle while the sweet, string-heavy track plays. Watch below.
It’s not as good as a download, but it’s better than watching a song’s video—or worse, a single image with a soundtrack behind it—but a stream is the music industry’s preferred way of getting new tracks out in the world.
It’s not portable and any kind of pirating from a stream would require technological know-how that’s way beyond us, but there’s something to be said for being able to hear an album front to back.
Today we’re treated to two pretty excellent new albums via stream. The first is the Walkmen’s Heaven, not out until May 29, which is streaming over at NPR. The band delivers yet again with the sort of music that makes us believe that we can be grown ups and still like great music. The title track is a killer, though the entire album is fucking excellent. Even if this one was downloadable, we’d plan to buy it.
Another streamer today is Sigur Ros’ latest, Valenti, which is out May 29. In addition to the album, which is streaming here. The band has also announced a project called “Mystery Film Experiment,” in which they gave a dozen filmmakers a small budget and asked them to make a video based on a song from the new album. Directors on the project will include Alma Har’el, John Cameron Mitchell, Ryan McGinley, Arni & Kinski, Ramin Bahrani and Ragnar Kjartansson, whose short, “Ég anda,” dropped today.