Exclusive Premiere: aska – Draumar Rætast Ekki

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Taking heed from the dreamworld, sprouting musical enjoyment through minimalistic synth-pop with cold wave overtones. The Icelandic solo-project aska, courtesy of Kristófer Páll Viðarsson, gives you a rather bleak picture. Having released his split two months ago with Kælan Mikla, put out his own album in 2013 titled “grátónar” – he’s currently in the process of releasing his second album. I do not know the title yet, but it might be self-titled, featuring a range of tracks he had released in his album from 2013 but also a lot of new ones, but in a new outfit. An album that might get released by himself or by a proper label. His electronica takes the best out of the world of cold-wave but keeps the minimalism intact with his minimal synth. A lot of the most desperate vibes surrounding cold-wave are here morphed into the frosty picturesque landscape that you’d expect Iceland to be in winter, together with repetitive motions of his drum-machine in concoction with rather stark percussion, together with stripped melodies dancing around in an atmosphere of total barrenness. Repartiseraren got the honor to exclusively premiere the track “Draumar Rætast Ekki” taken from his forthcoming self-titled album. You can listen to it down below.

Spotlight: aska / Kælan Mikla split!

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Iceland reigns supreme in this split between Icelandic natives aska and Kælan Mikla. Two different genres, but with something in common. A synth-pop track with the best elements included, a soothing synthesizer meets the retrofantastic atmosphere – in here aska creates his magic – related to the notion of “lágstemmt kuldabylgjupopp” (low-pitched cold-wave pop). This split came to be as a internet-only release. When it comes to the differences they display, Kælan Mikla deliver some kind of weird schizophrenic post-punk, with a sullen minimalistic ballad to begin with. Both alternatives are great, especially when you re-listen to the track “þögn” (Silence) by aska, as the icicles melt and simmer down into what could be an absolute breakdown of the Icelandic soul, dipped into the cold waters bordering around the island. The track which is portrayed by Kælan Mikla has a rhethoric question embedded into it, as it is titled “Ætli það sé óhollt að láta sig dreyma?” (Is it unhealthy to dream?). It’s a certain feeling that comes forth when you listen to the beautiful voice of the singer, but then suddenly it degrades into a complete post-punk frenzy – just like that with all the unhinged things it brings with it – a dark baseline later and you’re caught in her intermezzo. Even though the split only consists of two tracks, it’s a nice off-shoot into unguided territory. It also feels nice to include our Nordic neighbors into the mixture when it comes to this blog-zine. So stream and listen to this release down below.

Some questions for Yöri Bjártsdóttir!

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Yöri Bjártsdóttir, or Yöri, is an Icelandic/Lithuanian artist that delves knee-deep into trip-hop mixed with danceable industrial. Earlier this year, she released her first EP titled “Capsule EP“, which was produced by Andrew Means, whom also goes by the moniker of “H3X3N” – a dark electronica project. Together with Yöri, they produce some of the most wonderful pieces of crossover electronica that have been put out there, lately. With his production skills and her wonderful voice – they’re a match made in heaven. I found Yöri on the forum Violent Playground and decided it was time to introduce her to a wider audience. So, therefore I sent her a couple of questions which she answered. You’ll get to know everything about the intent of her music, what it means and also the fact that she’s collaborating with H3X3N on a new album that will come out sooner or later. Tune in!

Now, I know virtually nothing about you. More then that you’ve just released your EP titled “Capsule EP” a month ago or so. Where you mix trip-hop glitching with industrial dance music. The common denominator, at least when listening to the track “Jupiter”, influence-wise – would be Björk! It makes sense, since it seems like you’re from Iceland. But who are you and why did you embark upon making this kind of music?

– Surprisingly enough I was never a follower of Björk, don’t know why. I’m only half icelandic, the other half Lithuanian and have absorbed both cultures while growing up. I’ve been singing before I could talk and was very excited to make my debut as an electronic musician. I just basically didn’t want to make a record that has been done before. What happened was just a very beautiful musical affair between me and my producer, H3X3N/Andrew Means, doing things that we felt were right and sounded even better.

Oh and also, as much as I can appreciate her talent, for some reason I just never found my way to her music. Being compared to someone as talented as her is a very big compliment in itself and I appreciate it. I would just rather be the first Yori than the “next Björk“.

How did you and H3X3N (Andrew Means) go by when you both began to work on your debut-EP, and was it always clear to you that the music you’d be putting out there would be within the sphere of electronica?

– We kind of went from song to song, not really knowing what was going to happen next. It was an improvise-like process, very introspective. When recording, you really have to be two people. One, a teenager who does all these things unconsciously and fucks up from time to time, doing things for no apparent reason, and the adult – the other half which is always trying to rescue the other one when she gets in those situations. It’s almost like setting up a trap and organizing an accident. You put all these sounds together, gather all these ideas and then you have to sort them out.

Did you ever feel like it could’ve been more then an EP, or did you want to compromise it everything into that particular format? Have you stored away songs for future purposes?

– Um, well, it definitely wasn’t a compromise, we just felt like we’d rather start out with a 6-track EP. Yes! As a matter of fact we have a lot planned, my next release, “In Dreams” will be a 5 track EP, with a more washed out, romantic, afrobeat dreamwave house brew. That was a lot of adjectives but it does the job. Love songs tinged with oceanic feeling. It will also be more lyric-based.

Speaking of lyrics, the song you put up titled “North” was inspired by “an ogress called Gryla”. Could you elaborate? Also, what influences you?

– Gryla is part of Icelandic mythology, she is a lonely ogress who lives in the mountains and eats kids that don’t believe in Christmas. A friend of mine is working on a project about her and it was my job to contribute the music for it, so we adapted a version of it for a track. I think of pop’s boundaries to be elastic. It’s like a thunderstorm building up inside me. I think of songwriting almost as a survival instinct. Different people do different things to deal with their problems, I sing. If I dont do it, I start to suffocate. Anything can be full of inspiration if you look deep enough, a crystal, your friends, mathematics, a wind that won’t stop beating you up, a certain taste. What both inspires me and turns me on the most is mystery and the unknown.

And that’s what Capsule was, it was staring into the abyss and having the abyss stare back.

So, one could certainly say that you’re influenced by Nietzsche? That’s interesting. It seems like some of your aesthetics (besides H3X3N as a producer) adhere to witch house, which seem to have somewhat of a “naive”, but pseudo-nihilistic aesthetic to it. Do you have any relation to witch house as such, or do you simply consider the apparent genres that you tag yourself with?

– Definitely not Nietzsche, that’s overstepping it a bit. It’s not nihilistic per say, it’s just the hunger for jumping into the unknown. Jumping off that metaphorical cliff and challenging yourself. I don’t have much to say about witch-house, as I didn’t even know of it before the release of Capsule. I guess I’d classify myself as trip hop, industrial.

Well, it seems like I’m going to wrap this up. Thank you for answering these questions, the word’s yours now!

– As a finishing side-note, I’d like to just state that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for my extremely talented producer H3X3N, and that everyone should check out his music.

Listen to Yöri perform on her debut-EP “Capsule” down below. Do also pay some heed to H3X3N, her producer. Delve into their world. But, do also check out the SKVM remix of her track “Coma“.