Monday, February 19, 2007

Chillout Music, For Sure

Last winter, while everyone else I knew and didn't know was dreaming of vacationing somewhere in the Caribbean, I was making plans of my own for a springtime holiday across the pond. Not in London or Paris, Rome or Madrid. No, my intended destination was far more exotic: Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland.

I knew a fair amount about Iceland, enough to know I wanted to go there. A house fire disrupted my plans, which were actually never much more than wishful thinking, but I haven't given up hope of vacationing there someday. But now, there's an even greater lure calling me to Iceland, stronger than the glaciers that cover so much of the country.

That lure is the music.

And I don't just mean Björk, although—thanks to my daughter and—I've discovered a lot of her music that I'd never heard before, and I do like it. But my love of Icelandic music lies mainly with the incredible, spiritual sound of a group called Sigur Rós—"victory rose" in Icelandic. That sound is hard to define, so I'll take the easy way out and list some of the tags on that describe the music: ambient, post-rock, soundscape, electronic—even terms like heavenly, peaceful, dreamy, and the ever-popular and in this case, ironic, "chillout." You can download 11 songs, more than an hour of their distinctive sound, for free on the media page of their website.

Next week, the group is appearing in concert in Miami, a mere four-hour drive from my house, and at a fund-raiser in New York, a mere three-hour flight away. Forget it. I'll hold out and see them in concert in their homeland. Iceland in December? No problem. This could be the year of my dream vacation—on an island just shy of the Arctic Circle.

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