Wednesday, 9 June 2010

The quiet side of Jónsi

The special edition of Jónsi's new album comes with a little film called Go Quiet. It's from the director of Heima so you can only expect good things. Here Jónsi sings his songs acoustically, using any rickety instruments he can find lying around his house. Stripped of all the bombast and explosions of the album, these songs seem fragile and shy. Jónsi's voice is usually layered underneath the huge audio productions, so these sorts of performances always show the songs in a new light. A similar thing was done in Heima, but this is even smaller. There's no audiences or community halls. It's just one man and an instrument. 'Around Us' reverts to its original quiet piano, 'Animal Arithmetic' is slower and almost relaxing, 'Grow Till Tall' completely bare. That being said, it's definitely not Heima (although most things aren't). There's no journey, no scale. It only wants to be reflective. Which is fair enough.

It's beautifully shot too. Dean DeBlois knows how to frame a shot with some fancy focus, and it's fascinating to watch. There are segments of the New Years Eve party that Jónsi had just held, but they never outstay their welcome. It's not a documentary, it's a short film. One that's been expertly crafted to show off Jónsi's talent and general weirdness. At one point he wanders into a quaint shop full of lamps to find the antique pianos at the back. Why? It doesn't seem to matter. Sigur Rós teach you not to wonder what it's supposed to mean, only what you want it to. Above all it's a fitting accompaniment to the album Go. It's the other half of Jónsi. The quiet half that was forced into hiding. The songs originally sounded like this. Now the album is complete.

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