Bang Gang – Bardi Johannsson
Bardi Johannsson, tall and irregular stands as a man belonging to an Edward Gorey novel casting his shadow far too wide to fit his angular form. Maybe it is so that he is too foreign for even he himself to recognize that he just wasn’t made for these times.
However, the truth remains that he is nothing but a romantic disguised as a phantom lurking in and out of space just as the dead do to simply convince us into believing that sad songs could never feel so good. The love is in his voice and the innocent way he sings his sad songs, oh so forlorn, for happy days.
Bang Gang’s album, ‘Something Wrong’ is haunting, in the most beautifully possible way. The album is surrealistic and atmospheric with his use of pure instrumentation to transcend electronic synthesis. Like an absurd French existential novel Bardi as the orchestrated evil genius dares us to ‘Follow’ him through an oblivion of swirling melody in a hypnotically enchanting fashion where upon he guides us up some lost winding staircase to a place we fear. A place inside our every heartbeat. He makes music to satisfy his own desire and resembles an Icelandic Philip Glass mixed with Jarvis Cocker and Brian Wilson. He presents a pop sensibility juxtapose an avantguard compositional style tailor made to fit the rock n’ roll archetype and yet redefine it. These may be reasons why television producers choose Bang Gang to set the atmosphere in there shows like TV drama The O.C.
Bardi Johannsson defines psychedelic whimsy and evanescence in his side project the soundtrack opus ‘Haxan’ where upon he performs with the National Symphony of Bulgaria. Perhaps it’s the isolation of Iceland, alienated in the ocean like a lonely child standing awaiting reformation that gives its inhabitants such a pride in its individualism. Perhaps it’s the twenty hours a day of sunlight reciprocated against the twenty hours a day of darkness that make up the years reprise that blurs the conventions of dreaming and waking oh so unconvincingly that gives its musicians such an instinctual vigor. The Icelandic landscape reverberates a sound much like Bardi Johannsson’s music; beautifully severe and sublimely painful but nevertheless majestic. Bardi Johannsson illustrates a passion for music like a minister of a congregation yet where upon he baptizes his sound dirty with realism that helps people feel less ashamed of their loneliness.
The French ingénue Keren Ann teams with Johannsson in Bang Gang and yet again to create the dynamic duo known as Lady & Bird in the album Lady & Bird recently released on Yellow Tangerine in the US and on Labels/EMI in Europe. The two resemble a young Lou Reed and Nico and so it is only fitting that they would chose to remake ‘Stephanie Says’ with the drifting innocence in a way that echoed their predecessors.
He outfits as a producer, a fashion designer, director, musician, singer and composer.
In Milan he has a full size statue, in Iceland he is the dark prince who walks the nights alone and in France he is hailed as the next Phil Spector. He depicts the musical side of fashion house Emporio Armani, cosmetics brand Yves Rocher and carmaker Lancia in their television ads. A renaissance man in the truest form he is obsessive, narcissistic, hung-over, mad and romantic. Oceanic and limitless his songs sound much too real and much too beautiful. Bardi Johannsson is an anomaly that blends together Rock’n’Roll and sadness to create a sound that bellows through your body like a misremembered dream and for that he makes us stop in the name of love.