Monday, October 22, 2007

Post Titled: Sigur Rós on Tour With Heima: Gimmie Seizure ... Gimme Closure
NOTE: this entry was originally written for and has been cross-posted at Electropeasant a more objective and polished version can be found there.
I also posted it as an external link on Sigur Rós wikipedia site -enjoy.

HEIMA Official Trailer:

Due to traffic I arrived too late to see them at Coachella, and probably never forgive myself. However this somewhat surprise show somehow makes up for it. I noticed the show posted on their website several months ago, forgot all about it, then re-remembered through a facebook post on their music site. Actually, I just checked and it is improperly listed as being in Barcelona today: "21.10.2007: barcelona screening", anyhow-

Sigur Rós is currently on tour throughout Europe with their film, Heima (“(at) home”) playing a three-song acoustic set before the film gets underway. Although the acoustic set is definitely a far cry from the soul-shattering experience of seeing them in an actual concert show, it is nevertheless lovely, and prepares one for the film which truly puts the band and their music into context: into the country of Iceland. The documentary shows an account of the Summer of 2006 when the group toured their entire homeland playing free shows in all manner of venues, from small community houses to endangered flatlands, abandoned fishery factories to town squares in the most remote regions of the island. Their intent with this tour was to bring the music to the landscape and the people, ultimately: to bring it home from whence it came.

Tour documentary movies can be very hit or miss, but Heima does not in any way disappoint. Granted, the film was opened by the band itself and the soundtrack played nearly as loud as an actual concert, but nevertheless, it runs seamlessly from beginning to end as it transitions from the band to the bewildered faces of children and amused or confused expressions of older folk viewing the shows as they come through town. All throughout the film there are shots of people wandering in from the countryside to see this strange band of their compatriots, who have become one of Iceland"s largest cultural exports, and there they are xylophoning and sing-scream-whining before everyday folks living in the harshly gorgeous setting which inspired the music itself. It is as if to say to all of Iceland: "this is what we do, and so much of what we do is about you."

Dropping hints throughout the movie that they were overwhelmed with commercial success, and implying that the final closing show of the tour in Reykjavik was the last real show they had planned for awhile, it all makes one wonder if they will actually release another album or do another tour at all. Their shying-away from the fruits of popular appeal and marketing brought to mind the incident on the last tour where they sold t-shirts for one dollar each to protest some sort of merchandise rule which they had become fed-up with. How refreshing that was-
In the Q&A however it came to light that the film's director was none other than the former head of story development at Disney, and director of “Lilo and Stitch” (a completely enjoyable film, by-the-way.) A bit surprising for such an unusual band, but it worked well- there is no blatant Disney-ism of which to speak and I think it was more of a coincidence that he worked on the film as he expressed also being a big fan.

The film overall seems to imply closure in a way to these past six years of their career, since ágætis byrjun ("a good beginning") when they got the nod from Cameron Crowe, Radiohead and others as a big and important influence. Most importantly though it is absolutely beautiful. If you do watch it on dvd at home be sure to play it extremely loud on a good system.

I wouldn't go so far to say that Sigur Rós will stop doing what they (and most other bands) do at this point, album, tour, etc.- but I wouldn't be surprised if they did, in fact, retire a little bit, and even if they do they have still left a legacy of three gorgeous albums as well as the feelings and memories which their live shows have inspired permanently burnt into those who have seem them perform. Enough, isn't it? Regardless, I do hope they continue on...


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