The sociodemographic characteristics of a community are often most transparent when experiencing art created in that environment. Art exposes the emotional core of a place and/or time., and Screaming Masterpiece takes on one of the most fascinating and mysterious artist communities on the planet - Iceland.
Over the last few decades Icelandic music has broken into the popular music world, starting most notably with Bjork and continuing with Sigur Ros, Amina, Mum, Johann Johannsson etc... The dark, beautiful melodies, bursting at the seam of Bjork's music, feels familiar in its anxiety but foreign in production and delivery. It's the often glacial pace and haunting tone that inform an audience of the barren, frigid and spectacularly beautiful landscape surrounding these Icelandic musicians.
Ari Alexander Ergis Magnússon (dir) poses the question of why Icelandic music has always remained unique during it's 1000 year existence. In the words of real estate broker - location, location, location. What I gained from the film is that out of Iceland's isolated geographic location, (prior) lack of identity in the world and harsh climate, musicians in Iceland feel the need, and more importantly the freedom, to cross uncharted paths in the creation of sound. The swirling sounds of car horns, crowd noise and metal that helped create the New York noise scene, becomes the sounds of cold wind, running water and silence that informs Iceland's minimalist composers.
Screaming Masterpiece is full of beautiful imagery, great and often surprising music (not all Icelanders are introspective artists), and a great overall picture of the country's artistic culture.
[mp3] Bjork - Human Behaviour
[mp3] Sigur Ros - Untitled 1
[mp3] Mum - Dancing Behind My Eyelids
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Labels: bjork, mum, sigur ros