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JONSI

29-05-2010

Jonsi

The former frontman of Icelandic oddballs Sigur Ros heads to Birmingham’s 02 Academy in the autumn on his first solo tour. Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg catches him in action at London’s Kentish Town Forum.

With me and Sigur Ros, it was love at first sound.

Their soaring, ethereal synthscapes crept up on me one night at a chill out bar on Hamburg’s Reeperbahn and having checked out their identity with the friendly DJ I was smitten.

Admittedly, over the years, I never quite recaptured the thrill of that original engagement, but I invested in a couple of albums, and always marvelled at their ability to mesh conventional rock and club beats with a wilder, less trammelled noise than either genre normally permits.

Key to this idiosyncratic sound was the voice of Jonsi – a choirboy gone wrong, whose high-pitched brooding often sounded more animal than human.

Now the group has gone it separate ways the vocalist is making tracks with a solo project – essentially bringing more of the same into the public view.

Dressed in a fringed tunic, and later what appears to be a native American head-dress, he has a shamanic stage presence – a mad King Lear let loose on the blasted heath with a more than halfway decent backing band.

Like Sigur Ros is all about creating atmosphere, developing a sense of momentum and release.

The stage show is quite simply brilliant – banks of monitors, sensitively lit, evoking snowy forest scenes with zebras, birds, and spiders. Tim Burton would be proud.

Suffice to say, you won’t see or hear anything else like this all year – and that should be recommendation enough.

Jonsi plays Birmingham’s 02 Academy on Thursday 9 September.

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