Indie-electronic producer einarIndra has only been on the Icelandic music scene since 2014, but is already gaining recognition for his organic synth and vocal layers. He released his debut album, You Sound Asleep in February 2014.
einarIndra performed tonight at Húrra to an enthusiastic and buzzing crowd. Perched behind synthesizers and a keyboard, he built layers of chords on top of heavy bass drum patterns. In this way, einarIndra shaped the songs in tonight’s set similarly, but kept the sound interesting by coating his instrumental layers with vocals parts similar to James Blake and Bon Iver.
Although einarIndra is usually a one-man operation, he welcomed a friend up to the stage halfway through his set to sing pop-R&B vocals. The guest vocalist brought out what is enjoyable about einarIndra’s music; that it is exactly what is happening in electronic music now, making it relevant and timely.
Ambient-electronic producer Gunnar Jónsson Collider followed einarIndra’s set at Húrra. He’s an instrumentalist who usually produces solo, but tonight he played with a live band consisting of drums, synth, bass and him on guitar.
Collider played the first two songs of his set solo, with his laptop and guitar. Although the automated voiceover he played from his laptop certainly set an abstract mood, Collider hid behind his computer, cutting him off from the audience.
When the rest of the band came on stage, it took them too long to settle into a performance. They appeared to still be sound checking as different members fiddled with their instruments and motioned to the sound engineer to raise their levels.
When Collider and his band were finally working together halfway through the set, the music was surprisingly great. The highlight of the show was an ambient song that swelled into a wall of sound bigger than the small venue. It is unfortunately not on Collider’s Apeshedder album, but was very moving live. The rest of the set was moving as well, as Collider and his band shifted between electronic beats and pop lines. Despite a shaky start, Collider proved he can deliver absorbing music.
Kælan Mikla is a full-fledged female trio of punk power. Made up of singer Laufey Soffía Þórsdóttir, bass player Margrét Rósa Dóru-Harrysdóttir and drummer Sólveig Matthildur Kristjánsdóttir, the band made their Iceland Airwaves debut in 2014 and released their self-titled debut album in May 2016.
Kælan Mikla performed tonight at Idnó, a cozy restaurant and theatre. The theatre holds 300 people and tonight it was filled. It was clear from the size of the crowd that the band has earned a huge local fan base, and rightfully so. Þórsdóttir, Dóru-Harrysdóttir and Matthildur Kristjánsdóttir are talented musicians and play so tightly together that they almost seem to be one step ahead of what the audience is hearing. They play punk, and they play punk well.
Dark and enigmatic, cool and vigorous, Kælan Mikla’s confident performance was incredible to watch. The trio seems to know exactly what they’re doing and appear to have a bright future ahead.