#29: Sigur Rós – Glósóli (2005)
Music snobbery dictates that I point out an obvious issue with Sigur Rós. From an underground act located firmly in left field and beloved exclusively by select band of audio fashionistas, they’ve inadvertently evolved into some kind of ubiquitous global brand, the default soundtrack behind contrived emotion – all that slow motion footage of orcas diving or hot air balloons floating serenely over the steppe. This bugs me, specifically because however graceful or soaring or well-suited to TV commercials or overtly-sentimental documentaries their records may be, there’s nothing incidental about all this, no contrivance underpinning the sound.
Obviously this is what happens should you make music this well suited to adjective. Synonymic expressions of beauty come stampeding out of the stereo speakers, the metaphor of (Icelandic) landscape writ large. This much we know… but what makes Sigur Rós such a magical band is their unwavering knack of making the expansive intimate. Or perhaps of making the intimate expansive. The only way to truly appreciate Sigur Rós is through headphones in a darkened room. By removing all extraneous sensory stimulation, each song addresses the listener naked; each intricate inflexion, every seam of fragility folds itself around your soul like a blanket made of ice and bliss.
‘Glósóli’ is a track from 2005’s epic Takk… long-player, and doesn’t, too be honest, require too much hackery from me. Sometimes words only get in the way, detract from this clever momentum, from the pristine nature of what we’ve been invited to experience. All you need to know is that the title is a portmanteau word that roughly translates into English as “glowing sun”, and when the layers of guitars finally reveal themselves in all their finery (4 minutes and 34 seconds in), the sentiment that springs to mind spells rapture – just makes sure that the headphones are on, the lights are out, and the volume’s mountainous.
Sigur Rós / Glósóli