Audio

Interview Series: Asonat

Oléna Simon performed tracks from her solo project at September’s GRASSROOTS with Fannar Ásgrímsson on beats and production.

The two of them, along with Jónas Thór Guðmundsson, are also a part of a three-piece music group called Asonat. Although they consider themselves an Icelandic group, they’re very much international: Jónas is living in Estonia, Fannar Ásgrímsson is in Iceland and French vocalist Oléna Simon plans to move to Japan.

Though, Jonas says, “Despite this constant moving around, we are in total synchronization toward how the music should be.”

Their new album “Connection,” was released at the end of September, and has been well received by the press. The record landed on the number 1 spot at WRAS Radio 88.5FM in Atlanta and Nordic Playlist rated it as one of “10 Unmissable New Nordic Albums” alongside Ásgeir’s “In The Silence” (Iceland) and Love To’s “Queen of the Clouds” (Sweden).
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Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 Audio, Thoughts, Video No Comments

Interview Series: slowsteps

In late September, slowsteps was one of five musicians who performed at GRASSROOTS, the arts and music community bash hosted in my backyard.

Slowsteps (Sebastian Storgaard) played a solo acoustic set for the 50 or so community members at the event, although a band sometimes accompanies him. Interesting to note in his band is bass player Róbert Mikael—who also performed a solo electronic set under the name ROBO R1X2 at GRASSROOTS. As he says in the interview below, the scene is small and everyone knows each other.
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Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 Audio, Thoughts No Comments

Tokyo Soundtracks: Controlling the Noise in Underground Clubs

Tokyo is one of the largest cities the world, with around 30 million people living in the metropolitan area. It’s also the most densely populated city on Earth. Tokyo is crowded, and it took me a few weeks to get used to it. Or, perhaps more accurately, it took me a few weeks to accept that going anywhere means being constantly surrounded by people, especially on the trains. It’s not exactly pleasant, particularly during rush hour or last train when station workers push people into train cars with a slab of cardboard.

Commuters jammed in on a Keihin Tōhoku Line train at rush hour, a shot I snapped on my mp3 player.

A cardboard-wielding station worker, waiting for the right moment to shove people into the cars for last train.

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Thursday, October 30th, 2014 Audio, Thoughts, Video No Comments

SO STOKED: Iceland Airwaves

It’s one of the largest festivals in Iceland with more than 800 shows happening over a five-day period all across Reykjavík. Most artists are from Iceland, but there are also folks coming in from as far as New Zealand, and as close as the UK.

This year Airwaves’ 7,000 tickets sold out by mid-October. Since it’s a showcase festival—premiering up-and-coming local and international acts, similar to SXSW in Austin, Texas—there are a large number of industry and media folks coming as well. It’s not just a festival for rising talent, though—The Flaming Lips, Caribou, The War on Drugs, Ásgeir and Jungle are also on the line-up. I got an industry pass along with other festival directors, music producers, label owners, media personalities, and managers. I’ll post a re-cap after the festival with a write-up about shows, pictures from the photo pit and videos of performances and adventures around the festival. Suffice to say, I will not be sleeping for five days.
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Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 Audio, Thoughts, Video No Comments

GRASSROOTS: Christian Duell

During late August, I hosted the first GRASSROOTS event in my backyard. GRASSROOTS is a community building music & arts project where I feature Iceland-based artists and musicians.

At every GRASSROOTS event, I will facilitate a series of community-building activities such as dinners, facilitated dialogue, arts and crafts workshops and sharing exercises.

The three goals of GRASSROOTS are:
1. Bring the community together in intimate spaces
2. Showcase the work of talented artists and musicians
3. Share the vision of Saga Fest

The first concert was small (about a dozen people), about six attendees were from Iceland and the other six were international visitors or residents. This is similar to the demographic makeup of what I’d like to see at Saga Fest.
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Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 Audio, Thoughts 2 Comments

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