>Classic Icelandic Albums (CIA) # 18: "Von" by Sigur Rós

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CIA
# 18

Von” (1997)

On 28. December 1993 Jón “Jónsi” Þór Birgisson (vocals, guitar), Georg Hólm (bass), Ágúst Ævar Gunnarsson (drums) (drums) formed the band Sigur Rós in Reykjavík. The name is actually borrowed from Jónsi’s younger sister Sigurrós Elín Birgisdottir, who was born the same day as the band was formed, and then split into two words. They soon had a record deal with the local Sugarcubes & Friends-owned Bad Taste (Smekkleysa) label.
In 1997 they released “Von” (meaning “hope”) and in 1998 a remix collection named “Von brigði”. The RMX album contains however 1 new song
Leit af lífi“, that wasn’t ready in 1997.
The name is Icelandic wordplay: “Vonbrigði” means “disappointment”, but “Von brigði” in 2 words means “variations on Von”.
First the youngsters were making songs à la Smashing Pumpkins. But while recording more songs, their own sound (postrock?) was found. The first song they recorded @ the Hvarf Studio @
the Mosfellsbær suburb was Fljúgðu“. It took them 6 hours. This song is not featured on their début. It is featured on the compilation album “Smekkleysa i halfa öld” (Smekkleysa – A Half Century/SM 44 CD, 1997), celebrating 50 years of the Republic Iceland on 17. June 1994. The name of the band on the Album was not Sigur Rós, but the English version Victory Rose.

The “Von” album was recorded during the winter of 1995 until winter 1996, and in the summer of 1997. To pay for the recordings they had to do some renovation work of the studio.

Album was released on 1. September 1997 on Bad Taste Label. Many years later, in 2004, the album was officially released in the UK & USA.

The album is unique, very experimental & ambient. The band doesn’t agree with the statement that it is a concept album.

The first song in vonleska (Jónsi‘s own gibberish language/like Cocteau Twins) was the song “Von”. The last song is the song Myrkur, but played backwards (and written backwards 2).

Album is long, 72 minutes in length.

Album sold @ first 313 copies in Iceland, later on 14.000 copies.

Artwork: in a purple jewelcase, but picture is in black & white.

Track list:

1. Sigur Rós

2. Dögun”

  1. Hún Jörð…
  2. Leit að lífi
  3. Myrkur
  4. 18 sekúndur fyrir sólarupprás
  5. Hafssól
  6. Veröld ný óg óð
  7. Von
  8. Mistur
  9. Syndir Guðs (Opinberun frelsarans)
  10. Rukrym

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