Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Experimentation Is Still Paying off for Icelandic Post-Rockers Sigur Ros

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Experimentation Is Still Paying off for Icelandic Post-Rockers Sigur Ros

Article excerpt

In the past, Icelandic post-rock outfit Sigur Ros tended to tour as a bigger band, often adding a string quartet, a horn section, or both the better to make its swirling maelstrom of sound all the more immersive and enveloping.

On its current tour, the band is performing as a trio vocalist-guitarist Jnsi Birgisson, bassist Georg Hlm and drummer-keyboardist Orri Pll Drason.

They're doing this not as a sign of austerity, mind you, but rather as a creative strategy a way of painting themselves into a corner just to see how they can get themselves out.

"We want to shake things up and make things difficult and see what happens," Hlm says by phone, fresh from a soundcheck at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md. "So we had this discussion how to put ourselves in a situation where we would have to do something in a completely different way than ever before. And so we thought it could just be the three of us."

In some cases, that meant having to take certain songs back to square one.

"We had to relearn a lot of stuff change things up a bit," Hlm says. "Orri, our drummer, he sometimes is actually drumming and playing the piano at the same time. It's definitely reworked. Even the old songs sound different from before."

A few new songs have made their way into the shows so far on the tour, but Hlm says there's no new album on the immediate horizon. "It's taking longer than expected, especially with being on the road at the same time we're trying to record. But we do have a lot of music already. I wouldn't say it's 100 percent finished, but we're close."

In April, the band did two shows that were anything but stripped-down trio affairs, playing not just with a few side musicians, but with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen.

"It was quite amazing, really," Hlm says. "It was one of those shows where we felt like, 'OK, this will go really well or it will go horribly wrong.' And it ended up being absolutely beautiful."

Some bands might find it restrictive to play with an orchestra, having to become part of a much larger whole and be mindful of things like volume and tempo. …

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