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Things you always wanted to know about Iceland (2) Jul 19, 2006

Posted by herraheri in Herra the Heri, Icelandic Culture.
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Heyho, folks!

Quite some time went by since the last episode of this monumental series. And here it is again, today with some fine music from the nordic Island. Curtain up!

Múm – Loksins erum við engin (Finally we are no one)

he grabbed my thumb and led me away from the accident. there was no point in watching any more, still i was reluctant to move. “we have to go find the others” he said. he never looked straight at me. we walked in the grass, around the shack and down to the stream. for some reason, i had never walked down there before. we went into a concrete tunnel, dark but warm. a part of a noise was leaking from the ceiling. now there was that music again. he sat down and heard me do the same. “finally we are no one” he said.

Pretty perplexing, what? Well, it’s not the first and not the last confusing thing you will hear by Múm, whether literally or musically. Their music sounds like it has just emerged out of Iceland’s nature, out of every rock, every wave in the chilly sea which now drifts on an untouched, deserted beach…out of every sheep, every hot pot, every raindrop falling down on the sparse, vast landscapes of Iceland’s Highlands. Though pressed on a Compact Disc, the music doesn’t loosen from these images, it still carries this melancholy, unreal atmosphere and puts it in the listener’s ear.

Múm 2

“Listen to our music, it will bring bread and cakes into your life!”

You see, if even emotional wrecks like me start to dream while listening to Múm’s music, it has to be really terrific. It’s hard to describe in detail: Electronica; Icelandic folk music, traditional instruments included; cryptic lyrics, beautifully but incomprehensibly sung by Kristín and Gyða Valtýsdóttir; crazy rhythms; computer love: it’s a fertile mélange. It’s random cinema. It’s elves dancing in their hidden holes in the Icelandic landscape.Múm 3

Before recording the album, Múm sought for inspiration in an abandoned lighthouse in the Northwestern part of Iceland. Then, they went to another abandoned lighthouse in the Southwest of Iceland called Garðskagi to record Finally we are no one – fits, somehow. On their myspace site, you can view a short video of the two ligthouses.

“Don’t be afraid, you have just got your eyes closed”

To cut a long story short: As I am obviously not able to put my enthusiasm for Múm’s music into proper/few words, let’s see how they try to describe their music: “It’s like a cross between hovering silently over a field of rhubarb jam and breaking your teeth, remembering how you broke your teeth or dreamily anticipating the time that you eventually will.”
There you are.


As weird Múm’s statements and song titles may sound, they somehow make sense when you listen to their music. You will understand what they mean – or what they could mean, at least.

Finally we are no oneThe album was published in 2002, and besides the normal version, there is a special edition with all lyrics sung in Icelandic (which doesn’t make a real difference, all in all – it’s hard to understand even the English lyrics).

If you’d like to hear/read more by Múm, check out their official website www.randomsummer.com , their myspace site (see above), or visit http://mumweb.net./, a cool fansite with plenty of proper photos and other stuff.

Things you always wanted to know about Iceland (1,5) Jun 1, 2006

Posted by herraheri in Icelandic Culture.
1 comment so far

Are you ready for some Icelandic music? Alright, let's do this.

Check out Hot Damn! This Icelandic rock group performs the quite promising title Hot damn, that woman is a man! You can download the mp3 on this site for free along with some other songs. (There is also a video, but sadly it's quite large (36mb). The vid is about a fucked-up party with lots of light beer, Jack Daniels, cigarettes and plenty of theatrical guitar playing. Whatever. There is also a smaller version of the video (15mb).

For all Icelandic music you can think of, go to smekkleysa.net (Bad Taste). This Icelandic label releases pretty much every Icelandic recording and supplies the whole world with the stuff.

If you have a really good musical taste, you surely noticed Iceland's appearance at the Eurovison Song Contest: Silvía Nótt (that is Silvía Night). No, she is not the new starlet on porno-heaven, she just seems to be the greatest bitch ever: In the run-up to the Song Contest, she called the Dutch group Treble sluts and prostitutes. Other bad words like "fucking amateurs" and "retards" were dropped in conjunction with the sound engineers in Athens. In the course of a press conference, a journalist who dared to look her in the eyes was packed out of the room by one of Silvías bodyguards. Her song Til hamingju Ísland (Congratulations Iceland) was, all in all, about how great she is ("Hello, is it God? What up dog? It's Silvía, your favourite person in the whole world!") – she didn't make it to the finale. Visibly shocked, she threatened to jump of a building, called the Swedish singer an "ugly fucking old bitch" and the Finish winners "ugly people from Finland without a real make-up artist". She also announced to sue a journalist, a TV-Station and whole contest.

Silvía Night

On the whole, pretty amusing stuff. Everybody was pissed. But what nobody knew: Silvía Night is just a fictive person played by Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir for an Icelandic comedy show. She is the singer of the "normal" Icelandic band Ske. If you're asking me: Great fun. She plays the role so perfectly, you have to detest this character.

Visit the following links for more details:

So much for today.


Things you always wanted to know about Iceland (1) May 25, 2006

Posted by herraheri in Herra the Heri, Icelandic Culture.

Ahoy there!

After spending the final week at my workstation (a lonely cave with a veeery comfortable bed), I now am back doing nothing at all. Plenty of time. But I don’t want to beat around the bush any longer: My ingenious plan to inform you a little bit about Icelandic culture comes true with this very post. Every now and then I will bring home to you Icelandic music, books, movies and other weird stuff. I’m going to start with something really weird today, that’s to say traditional Icelandic food. Keep your barf bags ready!

Icelandic food – Þorramatur

As the variety of eatable things wasn’t really of a great range in former times, early Icelanders ate pretty much everything they could find. And well, they found some pretty disgusting things on and around their island. Today, these things are particularly eaten at the so-called Þorrablót at the end of winter. Here is a choice of really fine dishes that make the Icelandic Cuisine so extra-ordinarily delicious: To begin with some eatable things: Hangikjöt is smoked lamb, which is often snacked with Flatbrauð, a minimalist bread. Sounds normal? Well, be patient, lurent reader! Harðfiskur is stockfish, which is hard as stones, but, with butter, tastes kind of good, in fact. Lundi is the meat of the Atlantic Puffin, which is only found in Iceland. Poor bird! Being one of the most popular Icelandic emblems doesn’t save him from being eaten up.

Atlantic Puffin.jpg

To get a little more hefty, let me mention Hákarl, which is fermented shark-meat. The secret of this mouth-watering delicacy is the process of maturation and decontamination (don’t ask…it’s about urine and stuff), which lasts for months and takes place a few feet under the earth’s surface. Hákarl is served in small cubes. Lekker! In the same category, there is kæst skata, fermented ray.


Now, it’s time to tackle real challenges: Svið is a singed head of a sheep with all its tasty content. The eyes are considered to be the best part of it (I will spare you the picture, click here to enjoy the look on this great meal). And behind súrsaður Hrútspungar hide the good old ram’s testicles which are served in sour milk. Bon appétit!

But we would do the Icelanders wrong if we kept the good things secret: Skyr is some kind of curd or thickened yogurt and tastes really good with various fruit (especially blueberry). Appelsin is a really tasty sort of orange lemonade. Mixed with malt beer it’s really one of the best things you can drink on Iceland. Brennivin (“The Black Death”) is Icelandic Schnapps, which is really hard to drink....too strong for tarantino
But I can imagine they needed a drink like this to forget the flavour of their meals. (Kleinu)Hringur are donuts. Well, at least they look so, but they taste a little bit different.

Not so traditional, but Iceland’s No.1 meal is pylsa. I am perhaps goint to destroy your wildest phantasies about more disgusting shit telling you that this is simply a hot dog. It’s really popular there. In Reykjavík, you stumble over a hot dog stands every five steps. So you see: Icelanders are willing to learn.


My monkeys/authors/slaves are working on the next edition of Things you always wanted to know about Iceland. So be aware!

Herra Héri