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Iceland Airwaves 2012: Editors' Picks

29 October 2012, 14:55 | Written by The Line of Best Fit


You’ll hear the words from anyone who has been before: Iceland just has “something” about it. In the same way that Sweden really just does has something about it. It’s not just the stunning, beautifully bleak landscapes, close knit community and dancing skyscapes but the wealth of talent that springs up from the earth like the countries famous geothermal Blue Lagoon. And since its inception in an airplane hanger in 1999, Iceland Airwaves has seen the perfect combination of all these elements and this year, provides us with the perfect excuse to check out some amazing bands – some old favourites (this is afterall the first time Sigur Rós are appearing in over 11 years) and some recently discovered gems. We hope you like them all as much as we do.

Ólafur Arnalds

Harpa Norðurljós, Friday @ 21:00

Having grown up just a few kilometers outside of Reykjavík, the 24 year old composer weaves beautiful, rich tapestries of sound from a loom of classical arrangements and electronic fluctuations.


Faktorý Upstairs, Wednesday @ 00:00 and Reykjavík Art Museum, Thursday @ 20:00

There are few bands we’re more looking forward to than Samaris, their glacial triphop experimentations are delicate and fierce all at once, and ultimately utterly beguiling.


Iðnó, Wednesday @ 21:00 and Reykjavík Art Museum, Thursday @ 22:00

Seabear and Sin Fang member Sóley Stefánsdóttir steps out on her own to create soft, piano driven harmonies built around folk like, heart broken narratives.

Snorri Helgason

Harpa Kaldalón, Wednesday @ 00:00

Bringing vintage folk and classic Americana influences to bear, this Reykjavík native is a rare talent and to see him return for another year of Airwaves is an exciting prospect.

Lára Rúnars

Harpa Silfurberg, Thursday @ 20:00

The sultry, unique indie pop sensibilities of this local talent are marked by an underlying darkness that swells through gritty vocals, dramatic instrumentals and, at times, menacing keys.

Nico Muhly

Iðnó, Friday @ 23:00

Nico Muhly is truly rare and great talent, having studied at Juilliard his orchestral compositions are enticing in their obscure, wonderfully off-kilter and cyclic nature.


Fríkirkjan, Saturday @ 21:00

After the release of two stunning EPs, Elena Tonra and co are currently working on their debut album for 4AD. It has been a while since they made a live appearance so in addition to the heartbreaking ‘Love’ and ‘Youth’ we’re hoping for some new material.

Me and My Drummer

Harpa Silfurberg, Friday @ 20:00

The work of Charlotte Brandi and Matze Pröllochs, Denmark’s Me and My Drummer inhabit a minimalistic musical territory that cuts straight to the heart of things.


Faktorý Upstairs, Thursday @ 22:00

If you can listen to the hypnotic sighs, arresting harmonies and perfectly composed melodies of this Icelandic five-piece and still say you aren’t intrigued then quite frankly I’m not sure we can be friends anymore!


Harpa Silfurberg, Wednesday @ 20:00 and Þýski barinn / Deutsche bar, Friday @ 22:00

On record Jónsi’s touring bass player is known for his foreboding, clattering, rushing, rasping electronic creations but live we are told to expect the unexpected, which means we can expect anything from a one man and his laptop type senario to a 10-12 piece set-up.

Sin Fang

Iðnó, Wednesday @ 23:00 and Reykjavík Art Museum, Saturday @ 22:00

Warm ambient swells with just the right amount of pop/twee shine are to be expected from Sin Fang, the brainchild of Sindri Már Sigfússon.

Kool Thing

Gamli Gaukurinn, Friday @ 21:0

Boy are we glad that Dublin’s Julie Chance and Sydney’s Jon Dark happened to be in Paris at the same time in the same place once upon a time, otherwise we wouldn’t have their haunting, understated, seductive, swirling sonics to look forward to.


Harpa Norðurljós, Saturday @ 23:00

Having released their debut EP Gone earlier this year, listening to Philadelphia’s Vacationer is like tipping your toe into the warm, hazy breeze of summer – something that might well be needed in the freezing climbs of an Icelandic winter.

Low Roar

Harpa Kaldalón, Friday @ 20:0o

Having moved to Reykjavík from San Francisco, Ryan Karazija’s honest, glitchy electronic pop project deals with the isolation and incarnation of change that comes from moving to a foreign land. His stark, simple arrangements and quivering voice are quite simply stunning.

Kira Kira

Harpa Kaldalón, Saturday @ 21:00

Born Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir, Kira Kira’s compositions embody the ethos of the Kitchen Motors label and collective: melting together art forms in a twisted, experimental cacophony that finds themselves occupying a fleeting, delicate and dramatic space.

Stafrænn Hákon

Amsterdam, Wednesday @ 00:00

Subtle compositions and a distinct inclination towards lo-fi mark Stafrænn Hákon’s absolutely breath taking output.

The full line-up can be found along with more information on Iceland Airwaves’ website. Now to find a pair of mittens!

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