Sigur Ros ~ April 19, 2013 @ The Santa Barbara Bowl

photo by p.dunkley

Quite Deliberate

How have I not heard of Sigur Ros until now? It seems that their sound had just passed me by. But in a way, I am glad to have not heard them until my musical taste had matured enough to handle their complexity.

Sigur Ros is an Icelandic ambient rock band. I could just stop there and be intrigued. But I go on… Their new age
photo by p.dunkley
classical sound incorporates the use of a bowed guitar, a glockenspiel, a toy piano, an oboe, a full horn section, a banjo, a bass, organs, percussions, and sound samples.  Again I could stop here. But I go on… They are also known for Jonsi Birgisson’s falsetto vocals. Stop.

But I go on. They go beyond the sound. Combined with each song is a deliberate visual “effect.” For the first few songs, a sheet of taffeta-like cloth, that I was later told is called a scrim (thank you informative stranger), hung in front of the band at the front of the stage. Along the back of the scrim images were projected, allowing the band to create larger than life shadows.  

photo by p. dunkley
Once the scrim fell, the audience was able to get a sharper picture of the atmosphere and affect Sigur Ros was purposefully creating. In a way, it was quite nice to let the music and images unfold not knowing or suspecting what would be next. Being unfamiliar with the music allowed it to just create itself for me for the very first time in the deliberate manner they were so skillful at crafting. Every move was for an affect. Every pause for a purpose. It was quite lovely.

This was only the second show of the 2013 Santa Barbara Bowl season, but it was possibly the best SB will see this year. And perhaps that was also quite deliberate.