Frakkur 2000-2004

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Bowed guitar to the fore, Jónsi Bir­gis­son is one of the lode­stones of 21st-cen­tury art rock. With Sigur Rós be­calmed again (their last al­bum was in 2013), and his other projects – Rice­boy Sleeps and Jónsi solo – on mute, the Ice­landic mu­si­cian has cor­ralled some pre­vi­ously un­re­leased elec­tronic solo pieces un­der the name Frakkur. Some of these are loose on the in­ter­net in grainier form; a hand­ful came out in a very short vinyl run last Christ­mas.

Dat­ing from the early 2000s, these of­ten en­gag­ing tracks take the form of amor­phous am­bi­ent glides and play­ful dig­i­tal sketches, each al­bum cor­re­spond­ing to a dif­fer­ent set-up of gear, lo­cale, time and theme. The ear­li­est tracks – SFTLB 1-9 – riff hard on in­no­cence, while TB 1-8 find Jónsi sam­pling junkshop toys into club­bier fare be­fore a sonorous un­ease takes hold.

There is com­mon ground with Sigur Rós – TB1, for in­stance, sounds like some­one pop­ping an Alka Seltzer while one of their records skips on a turntable – but these more min­i­mal, of­ten joy­ous out­ings ben­e­fit from a lack of bom­bast that char­ac­terises Sigur Rós and Jónsi’s solo al­bum, Go (2010).

Kitty Em­pire

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