Coachella Artist Spotlight: Jónsi
It’s always interesting to see how a solo album differs from the works of that person’s band. Not only was I interested in listening to Go, the new album from Jónsi of [lastfm]Sigur Rós[/lastfm], but even more excited to discover that he’s playing day 3 of Coachella (and covering a fellow Coachella artist in the meantime).
For more on [lastfm]Jónsi[/lastfm] and to see which artist he covers, click more.
After 5 studio albums with his band, Sigur Rós (who’s now on an indefinite hiatus), and an album that he put out in collaboration with his boyfriend, Alex Somers, Jón Þór Birgisson, or Jónsi, released Go this week. The Sigur Rós guitarist/vocalist is know for playing his guitar with a cello bow and singing in falsetto, along with singing some in English and also in his native Icelandic. His new tour venture is described as a film, a theatre production, an art instillation, and a live concert, all wrapped into one.
Though Jónsi’s album was just released April 6th in the US, I’ve been fortunate enough to have spent the week prior becoming acquainted with it. In comparing it to most of the releases by Sigur Rós, I find Go to be unusually upbeat and optimistic. It’s the kind of music that I’d want to be listening to on a long road trip with friends, or on the way to an outing to Disneyland. I could visualize it being used in a commercial, and when you hear it, I think you’ll agree. This album has been in my car CD player constantly!
In addition to the new album, Jónsi also has a new song, “Sticks and Stones” that is the closing credits song for the film How To Train Your Dragon. You can hear a shortened version of the song below.
I’m not sure how much of his entire tour presentation will be able to be taken along to Coachella, but I’m sure he’ll bring something extra with him in addition to his guitar and cello bow. On the official Sigur Rós youtube channel, there’s a three part “Making of Jónsi’s Live Show” feature that you can see here. It’s such a visual expression of music that is rarely seen at a typical concert.
Jónsi, talking about his album, discusses how the initial intention was to make an acoustic album, but that somewhere along the process, the sound exploded and took on a life of it’s own and also became more playful, rhythmic, and poppy. A lot of the recording was done in his own home, and he talks about how one of his neighbors hates his music. (Sidenote: Jónsi is blind in his right eye, which you might notice in the following video.)
Lastly, as promised, here’s Jónsi’s cover of a fellow Coachella artist. Who, you might ask? It’s [lastfm]MGMT[/lastfm], and the song is his piano-driven version of “Time To Pretend.” Enjoy!
Catch Jónsi on day 3 of Coachella.