Sigur Rós — Takk
(Geffen Records B0005345-02, 2005, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2006-05-01Iceland’s Sigur Rós’ claim to fame appears to be as a European bridge between 70s progressive rock ideas and modern alternative rock. The band has been tabbed by industry magazines such as Mojo and Uncut to spearhead a new kind of progress into alternative rock without all the pretentiousness that saddled classic English groups. Takk is the quintet’s fifth recording characterized by lush orchestral backdrops that serve as elemental foundations for their unique twist of the Cocteau Twins with Beach Boy child like harmonies and U2’s ambient textures. They rely on rather innocent music box instrumentation, sloggy rhythms and passionate performances to make atmospheres that compare with Coldplay’s best songs. At times the eleven well crafted and performed pieces seem to serve as a backdrop for a foreign film drama. Themes range from vibrant to outright precious that shows the band has firm grasp on the scope of their often ambiguous but precious statements. Lead singer Birgisson creates a style akin to Elizabeth Fraser or native homeland star Björk that is just plain surreal. “Sé Lest” is a representative track that features a backward loop introduction that spills into a lush vocal arrangement. Lofty bells are also part of the band’s palette to create a bright penetrating backdrop for the band to explore. I’ve read that the group delivers the goods in a live context and plan to check them out locally soon. Highly recommended.
Related artist(s): Sigur Rós
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From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.