Friday, June 3, 2011

Sigur Rós- ( ) (2002) / Live at St. Andrews United Church, Vancouver, CA (2001) MP3 & FLAC

Sigur Rós' third album is, in many ways, an attempt to re-define the band's glacially sprawling sound after the breakthrough success of their previous album, Ágætis Byrjun, a lush, often string-drenched affair that garnered the band, among other things, their first significant exposure in Europe and America, which culminated in an opening slot on tour with Radiohead. Three years later, the cryptic ( ) appeared giving every indication Sigur Rós had no desire to chase mainstream Indie success (at least not yet). First, there is the title: parentheses surrounding empty space, suggesting not just the absence of a title, but absence as interlude, which, of course, hints at the music itself: silence as an interlude between notes and/or the note as an interlude between silences. Then there's the artwork, which is both lovely and noticeably free of all the liner material one usually expects with such lavish packaging, save for the band's website address. Musically, ( ) represents a more "stripped-down" approach relative to their previous album, trading in the strings (well, most of them), enveloping melodies, and recognizable song-structures for more atmospheric Post-Rock arrangements, an emphasis on guitars and instrumental loops, and a good (and welcome) dose of dissonance. Whereas Ágætis Byrjun allowed some warm textures and rays of light to intermingle with the glacial Sturm und Drang of the song arrangements, ( ) sustains a more funereal tone while avoiding the kind of emotional dynamics that made the previous album so affecting and in places irritatingly overwrought. As with the album itself, the songs comprising ( ) bear no titles; the effect of which is to render the songs unidentifiable except for their order and what differentiates them musically. On the opening track, things begin with a deep, somber, almost dissonant electronic hum, which lays the foundation for the basic melody that repeats, as if on a loop, throughout the entire song. Soon the electronic effect is mimicked by icy piano notes and Jon Thor Birgisson's highly-treated cooing vocals, thus creating a slow, dirge-like movement that is both achingly beautiful and hopelessly adrift. The sixth song features some lovely vocals by Birgisson backed by thumping percussion amidst a surprisingly spare arrangement until things build toward a dramatic crescendo of guitar chime and distortion. There is no denying that ( ) is not as accessible as Ágætis Byrjun; however, the album's darker inclinations lend it a different kind of emotional depth that makes it one of the more memorable recordings of the Post-Rock genre.

( )
1. (6:38)
2. (7:34)
3. (6:33)
4. (7:33)
5. (9:57)
6. (8:49)
7. (13:00)
8. (11:45)

Live at St. Andrews United Church, CA- Jan. 10, 2001 (FM Broadcast-Bootleg)
 1. Vaka  (8:30)
 2. Njósnavélin  (8:25)
 3. Ný Batterí  (8:22)
 4. E-Bow  (8:34)
 5. Álafoss  (15:07)
 6. Olsen Olsen  (7:09)
 7. Fyrsta/Samskeyti  (15:11)
 8. Svefn-G-Englar  (12:59)
 9. Dauðalagið  (13:49)
10. Popplagið  (8:58)


  1. crack de cracks!!!! your blog is the best!!! thanx, crack!! from the catalonian countries (south: la plana és catalana)

  2. I definitely agree it's one of the more memorable post-rock albums. Quite original and a very good follow-up to the masterpiece that was "Agaetis Byrjun". I remember I started to listen to Sigur Ros around 2002-2003, just after this album came out. Their futute looked so promising back then, but unfortunately it all went downhill from there.

  3. Michael, for me, the first three albums are the best. I plan to post the other two at some point

  4. Revan0357, my pleasure. It's a great show, perhaps the best Sigur Rós boot out there

  5. Thx for this! I was at this show. I even made my own boot on a minidisk recorder nice to see a FM Flac to upgrade.

  6. Anon., wow, I'm jealous. This sounds like it was an amazing show. The last track fades out early for some reason but the sound is quite nice. How many people attended this show?

  7. A fantastic band and a great album.

    I agree with you. The first three are the best.

  8. Thank you for posting this! I've discovered Sigur Ros relatively recently and hope they'll be back with more music and some touring soon. In the meantime, Jonsi's solo shows are quite amazing so check them out if you get the chance.

  9. Lon, thank you. I do like some of the later stuff, but it doesn't stay with me the way the first three do. This album was a fitting soundtrack to some of the darkest days of my life. Sometimes misery can be so beautiful

  10. kibuki, keep checking back. I will post their first album, "Von" in the near future. Also, check out this amazing Sigur Rós bootleg blog:


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