Sigur Ros Hvark-Heim 150g 2LP
Unreleased Rarities & Acoustic Tracks! Heavy-Weight Double Vinyl!
'Hvarf-Heim' is a double companion record to the film "Heima". It has two titles because it is in effect two separate, but complementary, entities. 'Hvarf' ("disappeared" or "haven"), is a five track electric studio record comprising mainly unreleased rarities from Sigur Rós's back-pages, none of which is on 'Heima'. 'Heim' ("home"), is a six track acoustic record, comprising delicate new unplugged versions of some of sigur rós's best moments, which have never been performed before.
The band were originally asked to deliver a traditional live album to go with the live film, but thinking about it, with Sigur Rós that wasn't ever going to happen, and what we have here in 'Hvarf-Heim' is hopefully more stimulating and exciting than some will-this-do? toss-offs of songs they honed to perfection in the studio aeons ago.
'Hvarf-Heim' features three previously absolutely unreleased electric songs (Salka, Hljómalind and I Gaer) and is, anyway, wall-to-wall re-workings.
'Salka' nearly made it onto the '( )' album, but ended up on the mixing room floor at real world studios in the early summer of 2003. Named after Georg's eldest daughter, just as 'untitled 1' was known as 'Vaka' after Orri's daughter, 'Salka' was played live extensively during the touring both before and after the nameless record. It's a great tune and hard to say why it hasn't made it onto record thus far. But, hey, that's been rectified now…
'Hljómalind' was known by everybody involved as 'Rokklagiđ' ('The Rock Song'), until the band had to come up with a proper title for this release. It was briefly called (in English, at least) 'The Rabbit And The Prince', but no-one really felt comfortable with that. The rabbit was Kiddi, who managed the band at the time the song was written and ran Hljómalind, the Indie record store on Laugavegur in downtown Reykjavik 101. The prince was Valli, roadie, fly-poster and friend to the band. Kaffi Hljómalind is now an organic joint that serves the kind of latte you can't drink two of without suffering a panic attack.
The song was written for the first session off the back of the 'Agćtis Byrjun' album. It was recorded for a possible EP with producer Ken Thomas at Ridge Farm Studios, but the band didn't really like the way it turned out and it got shelved. The song was scarcely performed live, and when ridge farm later shut down, even the master tapes disappeared off the surface of the earth. as a result 'Hljómalind' was almost written out of the script.
Truth be told, Sigur Rós are a little bit sensitive about 'Hljómalind', considering it a bit too simple and formulaically structured to get through the quality filter. It has, however, had a habit of sticking around, taking on some sort of legendary status among fans, and since, after Hoppipolla, everyone thinks Sigur Rós are a pop band anyway, it was thought that they could put the tin-lid on that reputation with this three-chord wonder.
Known until recently as 'Lagid I Gaer', 'I Gaer' means simply "yesterday", which seems entirely apposite given the nature of this particular project. Written after 'Agćtis Byrjun' in the same flurry of activity that birthed 'Dánarfregnir Og Jar Afarir' ('funeral announcements and deaths') and 'Bíum Bíum Bambaló' (interpretations / cover versions used on the b-side of the 'Ny Batteri' EP and 'Angels Of The Universe' soundtrack), it forms part of what is internally known as Sigur Rós's brief prog rock excursion, which pretty much began and ended with these songs.
'I Gaer' has been played sporadically over the years, largely around when it was first written and also on the summer 2006 tour of Iceland. It remains a highly dramatic and effective piece of music and a time capsule of a direction the band flirted with and then abandoned. Feel that Hammond!
"[W]ith two of the songs almost hitting the ten-minute mark, the disc's entirety feels much longer than a mere EP. Consistently sprawling and lunar, the songs would feel right at home on Takk... or ( ). The standout track, 'Hljómalind,' is one of the more concise and traditional songs crafted over their journey, with the traditional instrumentation of reversed chimes and bowed guitar delays sawing textures into the fabric of the song, just before giving way to a powerful rock chorus from the mouth of a gently meowing alien. The traditional slow build is ignored for dynamics, and an unusually tangible hook hits like an old-fashioned punch to the face. ...Heim, is comprised of six acoustically performed versions of favorites from their back catalog. Surprisingly, these songs don't sound remarkably different from the originals. Even without an electric guitar droning, they aren't sparse or minimal in the least, due to an additional string quartet, Amiina, filling in the gaps to create a lush soundscape. The reworkings are subtle, but the versions of 'Samskeyti' and 'Starálfur' remain beautiful and are slightly warmer and even more fragile than the originals." - allmusic.com
"Sigur Rós seem the least likely candidate to go unplugged, which is one of many reasons why Heim is so remarkable. It's Sigur Rós recast as chamber music, the gorgeously sculpted dissonance of the band's material recast for strings, harmonium and far more tactile instrumentation than the usual bowed electric guitar or thundering percussion... The familiar Sigur Rós we all know (and many love) is what's on display over the course of Hvarf, newly recorded versions of three never before released songs and two from the group's pre-breakthrough early days." - Joshua Klein, Pitchfork, Rated 7.6
• Re-issue Black Vinyl Version!
• 150 Gram Vinyl
• Double LP
• Gatefold Jacket
LP1 - Side 1:
3. I Gaer
LP1 - Side 2:
LP2 - Side 3:
LP2 - Side 4:
1. Agaetis Byrjun