Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on March 12, 2008
Review by Craig Roseberry, BPM Magazine
In an effort to quell their fans’ insatiable craving for new material, Sigur Rós offer up the double CD collection, Hvarf-Heim, along with the companion DVD film, Heima. More like two distinct EPs, the set showcases the Icelandic masters of ethereal post-rock in a more cohesive and less amorphous context.
Hvarf (Icelandic for “disappeared” or “haven”) features three newly recorded versions of previously unreleased songs (“Salka,” “Hijomalind” and the cosmic, Pink Floyd-inspired, “I Gaer”) and two spellbinding re-workings of fan favorites “Von” and “Hafsol.” Each over nine minutes, these new definitive recordings brilliantly capture the glacial fragility and luxuriant expanse of the band’s riveting live shows. Heim (“home”) is a more stark and intimate live acoustic set of Sigur Rós classics (“Untitled 3,” “Staralfur,” “Samskeyti,” “Ageatis Byrjun,” “Vaka” and “Heysatan”) recorded in Iceland during their 2006/2007 tour. The band ingeniously reimagines their sound, adding strings, harmonium, acoustic guitar and delicate brush drums to deliver a soul-stirring performance (somewhere between chamber music and classical) that’s meditative and restrained. Collectively, these offer fans more developed arrangements and refined sonic tapestries that the originals only previously hinted at. This is most evident on the stunning concert documentary, Heima (“at home” or “homeland”).
Directed by Oscar nominee, Dean DeBlois, the film vividly chronicles Sigur Rós on their Takk tour, performing in various locations across their native Iceland (from deserted fish factories, community halls and lush fields to darkened caves, canyons, and fjords). Combining live material with interviews and backstage footage, the collection provides a unique insight into the enigmatic band while showcasing the breathtaking landscapes that undoubtedly shape and inspire their emotive, otherworldly soundscapes. As a whole, these packages neatly sum up the full multidimensional scope of the group’s career to date, leaving listeners anxiously awaiting their next move.