Wednesday, May 28, 2008


There are two things I've been recently rather excited about: Sigur Rós and Ryan McGinley. And those two things just made sweet sweet love and had a baby. It's name is Gobbledigook.

In a delicious, supermarket-cheese-table-style sample of the new record, Sigur Rós has made available the audio and music video for the new single, "Gobbledigook." The song and video are VERY noteworthy for several reasons (other than the obvious, which is that they are awesome). First, this marks a distinct change in the song style of Sigur Rós, whose lackadaisical, contemplative melodies could best be described as sweet, heartrending lullabies. Where once tranquility was a dominant effect (if not a dose of melancholy), reckless, youthful abandon has taken its place. And the video follows suit. Traditionally, SR videos have been rife with slow motion, and cuts that take their sweet time. And while a lot of the green-toned color temperature remains from that style, this new video is light on its feet with rapid cuts, and motion that is never slower than a-little-faster-than-reality.

Also, of course, the video is exciting because it is inspired by Ryan McGinley's work, in particular the recent show he had at Team Gallery. These photos, and thus the video, share the same youthful abandon that this new style of song comes in. It is particularly exciting to feel as though these photos have come to life.

In a way, this marks a step in the same direction for both Sigur Rós AND McGinley. Looking at McGinley's photos, one gets the impression of watching someone at play in slow motion. The subjects in some cases are so vivacious and energetic, that even the still frame seems to beg to move. On the other side of the same coin, SR videos feel so slow and magnificent, each frame perfect, that they seem to almost freeze in time and become brilliant still images. Add to that similar color tones, and an interest in youth, and it starts to become apparent why these artists have come together to MOVE FAST together.

This song (which is available for free download at the Sigur Rós website) bears a lot of similarity to the Animal Collective, and it has indeed been drawing that comparison. True, the beat reminds one of the pseudo-tribal rhythm of "The Purple Bottle" (off of "Feels"), and the playfully almost childlike vocals seem indelibly referential as well. But what, I think, gives Sigur Rós some cred in this case is how disparate this sound is from where they've been only recently. Context is the key word here.

All in all, I'm really thrilled about this video. I'm also thrilled that the band is continuing in its path of making things exceedingly free and easy to access on the internet, and in high quality! They are helping to pave the way toward massively free and outstanding-grade media.

Enjoy the video! And, is it me, or is Jónsi channeling Ziggy Stardust with that makeup?

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