Árstíðir released their second album entitled „Svefns og vöku skil” in 2011. The material from the album crosses the borders of Iceland and reverberate all over the world. Until then the group had been almost unknown beyond its country but thanks to their extraordinary music Árstíðir entered the consciousness of the many people that keep their ears open for interesting sounds that flow from different corners of the world.
The group officially announced that they bid two of their musicians goodbye in april 2014. The pianist Jón Elísson and cellist Hallgrímur Jónas Jensson left the band. It has been a great loss to each fan of this group.
Árstíðir’s new album entitled “Hvel” was premiered on March 6, 2015. The album was composed and recorded by the four-piece team: Daníel Auðunsson – guitar, vocals; Gunnar Már Jakobsson – baritone guitar, vocals; Ragnar Ólafsson – piano, vocals; Karl James Pestka – traditional violin, electric violin, viola, programming, vocals.
Many people certainly have concerns about the shape and sound of Árstíðir’s new record. I find it completely unncecessary. “Hvel” is an absolutely phenomenal album with unique and beautiful music that shines with its own strong light.
The arrangements of all the compositions in “Hvel” were prepared jointly by all the members of the band. In their acoustic compositions they reach for neoclassical and indie-folk music. They also use elements of progressive and art rock. It’s out of respect and recognition for their outstanding artistic creativity that the term ‘acoustic neoclassical progressive art folk’ should appear in the Árstíðir entries in music encyclopedias.
The album “Hvel” moves you to tears and pierces hearts with its captivating beauty. It’s music with soul that is full of charm and elegance. Indeed, it’s the most noble publication of Icelanders. The great production work makes the album seem really spacious, a space in which the musicians have managed to create an unusual balance and also capture something private, intimate and mysterious. Communing with this music is a downright transcendental experience. It’s a perfect harmony which speaks by means of sounds. It thrills with an incredibly emotional load and somehow reaches the subconscious at the same time enabling everyone to discover its beauty.
It’s an absolute masterpiece as long as using a sound of the acoustic instruments and both building up and relieving a suspense are included. Apart from this exceptional musical level, the things that add originality to the music of Árstíðir are the wonderful vocals that harmonise with each other amazingly.
The ambiance of “Hvel” emanates with mystery allows our senses to be entirely lost in it. This music remains etched on one’s memory for a very long time.
Árstíðir is an undoubted genius that imprints on our souls and infuses them slowly but consistently with its brilliant sounds. In a word, perfection.
One might write about this record endlessly but it’s better to spend this time listening to “Hvel”. I strongly recommend it, regardless of the listener’s age and tastes in music. Because you really can forget about everything when you listen to this album.
02. Things You Said
03. Someone Who Cares
05. Vetur að vori
11. You Again