ÁRSTÍÐIR will reissue their critically acclaimed third full-length, ‘Hvel’ (“Spheres”), which was originally released in 2015 on February 23rd, 2018.
The eclectic Icelandic independent rockers are offering their amazing track, “Himinhvel” as an introduction to the band
On rare occasions, an album appears that defies easy categorisation.ÁRSTÍÐIR have managed this feat throughout their career, but their third full-length, ‘Hvel’ (pronounced in modern Icelandic with an initial k-) has attracted a particular long list of attempts of musical definitions: indie rock, progressive rock, indie folk, chamber folk and pop, neo-classical, and minimalism have all be lobbed at the album. Yet on one description many critics seem to agree: beautiful.
Probably the easiest way to tag ÁRSTÍÐIR is to plead guilty to each of the above. ‘Hvel’ offers atmospheric, hauntingly beautiful songs that take elements of folk, rock, and classical music among other styles, which are arranged into new patterns that have invited comparison with RADIOHEAD, SIMON & GARFUNKEL, PENTANGLE, ÓLAFUR ARNALDS, and most of all SIGUR RÓS. The latter happens perhaps inevitably due to superficial similarities as ÁRSTÍÐIRoften sing in their native Icelandic tongue and use acoustic instruments extensively.
ÁRSTÍÐIR emerged from the burgeoning Icelandic music scene in 2008, when the three founding members coming from different genres discovered their mutual love for vocal harmonies. Daniel, Gunnar and Ragnar quickly went from playing acoustic cover versions to their own sonic footprint amalgamating influences taken from different styles into something quite unique, which might tentatively be dubbed “Icelandic independent”.
With early lyrical references pointing towards the spectacular nature and scenery of this volcanic island and the strongly contrasting moods of its seasons, the band took the name ÁRSTÍÐIR, which means “seasons” in Icelandic.
At home, the band experienced a fast rise. Only four months after its inception,ÁRSTÍÐIR had risen from performing in a coffee shop in Reykjavik to scoring a number one hit on national radio with the track “Sunday Morning”.
The Icelanders published their self-titled debut, ‘Árstíðir’ in summer 2009, and while their home country was reeling from the market crash, the band’s stocks went up. During the air traffic disrupting eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. a first international tour started that led to ÁRSTÍÐIR continuing to tour relentlessly over the next years and gather a dedicated fan base in more than 30 countries.
Their second album, ‘Svefns Og Vöku Skil’ followed in 2011 and only a year later, the Icelanders won the prestigious Eiserner Eversteiner European Folk Music Award in Germany. While on the road in Germany in 2013, a friend ofÁRSTÍÐIR recorded an impromptu performance of the old Icelandic hymn, “Heyr Himna Smiður” in a train station, which went viral on YouTube and has attracted more than 6 million views to date.
Backed by global interest sparked by this viral hit, ÁRSTÍÐIR continued their head-lining tours and furthermore supported Swedish band PAIN OF SALVATION and Dutch vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen.
ÁRSTÍÐIR launched a highly successful crowdfunding campaign in 2014 to finance the recording of their third full-length ‘Hvel’, which translates as “spheres”. Following the release, the band embarked on a first US tour that reached from coast to coast.
A full collaboration with Anneke van Giersbergen followed in 2016. The ‘Verloren Verleden’ album contains a collection of re-imagined traditional and classical songs.
ÁRSTÍÐIR are currently working on their forthcoming fourth album, which will be released worldwide on Season of Mist in 2018.