I love the movie Vanilla Sky. I won’t profess to be the biggest Cameron Crowe fan in the world, but there was something completely tragic about that movie which gets me every single time.
Often I’ve thought about performing one of those social experiments by running out into a crowd of people and shouting (spoiler alert) “TECH SUPPORT!” at the top of my lungs, just to see what happens.
After listening up through the 4th track of Sigur Rós’ 2002 album ( ) – phonetically, “brackets” – I couldn’t place where I had heard it. Turns out, “Untitled 4 (‘Njósnavélin’)” is the song backing the credits.
Crowe couldn’t have picked a better one for the theme of the movie.
For me, nearly all of ( ) matches the mood and general air of Vanilla Sky. If you like one, you’ll likely enjoy the other. Maybe it’s the immense and intense feeling of hopelessness. There are few movies that stir to the point of making me feel as small as that one.
I should note also that I am writing today’s entry from one of my favorite dudes in the world’s house after a friend’s wedding, drinking cheap whiskey and watching the animated version of 101 Dalmations on VHS. Which is to say, it’s disorienting to see Cruella DeVille wreaking havoc while Jonsí makes up a language as he goes along. AKA, never miss a shift.
How does that relate to ( )? I suppose the amplifying of emotions. That being said, ( ) is a proper follow-up to the unsuspectingly good Ágætis Byrjun. The fact that the band was able to release a record that sounds much more mature and refined (thanks in large part to the construction of their own personal studio) but retain their signature style is a sign of true talent and ability.
It’s also a mind-bender that ( ) is now 12 years old, and Ágætis is 14 years old. Both sound timeless, and to this day stand out to me from the rest of their catalog as the high points.
The main complaint here will no doubt be the length of the songs. No track is shorter than 6 and a half minutes, which makes calling ( ) “sprawling” something of an understatement. But the goal of sticking around for say, all 12 minutes of “Untitled 8 (‘Popplagi›’)” is the intense crescendo buried 10 minutes deep in the track. The build-up alone is worth every penny. Such is the way of Sigur Rós: be patient, and your listening will pay off.
From… I guess Brackets, this is “Untitled 1 (‘Vaka’)” –
Standout tracks: “Untitled 4 (‘Njósnavélin’)” and “Untitled 5 (‘Álafoss’)” and “Untitled 7 (‘Dau›alagi›’)”
Weakest tracks: Not one track in particular, because they all pretty closely run together. If you’re not into the genre, or if you’re just dabbling, I could see how the downtrodden theme in comparison to, say, “Gobbledigook” would be a turn-off.
RIYL: Post-rock, ethereal/atmospheric experimental rock. Cameron Crowe’s Vanilla Sky.