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Ágætis Byrjun

( 18 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Lydia Vanderloo
The U.S. debut from Icelandic group Sigur Rós Victory Rose is a quiet stunner, a haunting 72 minutes of cobwebbed guitars, wistful vocals, and sluggish rhythms that belie the songs' sonic complexity. In 2000, the quartet received universally glowing U.S. press for the disc -- from Rolling Stone, Spin, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and Alternative Press, among others -- despite the fact that Ágætis Byrjun A Fine Beginning was only sporadically available. A deal through MCA remedies the drought on our shores, and now Sigur Rós is in full bloom. What's snagged all the attention is the group's striking sound, a blast of Nordic cool as bracing, original, and ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Lydia Vanderloo
The U.S. debut from Icelandic group Sigur Rós Victory Rose is a quiet stunner, a haunting 72 minutes of cobwebbed guitars, wistful vocals, and sluggish rhythms that belie the songs' sonic complexity. In 2000, the quartet received universally glowing U.S. press for the disc -- from Rolling Stone, Spin, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and Alternative Press, among others -- despite the fact that Ágætis Byrjun A Fine Beginning was only sporadically available. A deal through MCA remedies the drought on our shores, and now Sigur Rós is in full bloom. What's snagged all the attention is the group's striking sound, a blast of Nordic cool as bracing, original, and graceful as the Cocteau Twins' arrival in their day. Followers of the Cocteaus were categorized under "dream pop," and present-day cousins to Sigur Rós who've certainly learned from the Cocteaus, such as Mercury Rev, Mogwai, and Godspeed You Black Emperor!, are often labeled "post rock," on account of their penchant for challenging the confines of rock 'n' roll, even as they marvel at the power of the electric guitar. For their part, Sigur Rós allow their songs to develop slowly, rarely picking up the pace past a trot, and layer sheets of distorted guitars, organ tones, glowing brass work, and glistening strings into something as rich and fragile as a puff pastry. And to English-bred ears, singer/guitarist Jón Thór Birgisson's vocals -- a combination of Icelandic and made-up sounds he's dubbed Hopelandic -- make the proceedings even more remote and outlandish; his androgynous-sounding coos and wails become just another element in the overall tone poem, imparting a sense of yearning and loneliness without any drippy clichés. So listen up, because the sound of young Reykjavik has arrived on our continent, and it's utterly dazzling.
All Music Guide - Dean Carlson
Two years passed since Sigur Rós' debut. By this time, the band recruited in a new keyboardist by the name of Kjartan Sveinsson and it seems to have done nothing but take the band to an even higher state of self-awareness. Even on aesthetic matters, Sigur Rós entitle their sophomore effort not in a manner to play up the irony of high expectations à la the Stone Roses' Second Coming, but in a modest realization. This second album -- Ágætis Byrjun -- translates roughly to Good Start. So as talented as Von might have been, this time out is probably even more worthy of dramatic debut expectations. Indeed, Ágætis Byrjun pulls no punches from the start. After an introduction just this side of one of the aforementioned Stone Roses' backward beauties, the album pumps in the morning mist with "Sven-G-Englar" -- a song of such accomplished gorgeousness that one wonders why such a tiny country as Iceland can musically outperform entire continents in just a few short minutes. The rest of this full-length follows such similar quality. Extremely deep strings underpin falsetto wails from the mournfully epic "Viðar Vel Tl Loftárasa" to the unreservedly cinematic "Avalon". One will constantly be waiting to hear what fascinating turns such complex musicianship will take at a moment's notice. At its best, the album seems to accomplish everything lagging post-shoegazers like Spiritualized or Chapterhouse once promised. However, at its worst, the album sometimes slides into an almost overkill of sonic structures. Take "Hjartað Hamast Bamm Bamm Bamm," for instance: there are so many layers of heavy strings, dense atmospherics, and fading vocals that it becomes an ineffectual mess of styles over style. As expected, though, the band's keen sense of Sturm und Drang is mostly contained within an elegant scope of melodies for the remainder of this follow-up. Rarely has a sophomore effort sounded this thick and surprising. Which means that "Good Start" might as well become of the most charming understatements to come out of a band in years.
CMJ New Music Report - Colin Helms
Led by Jon Pór Birgisson's airy, almost genderless (and often wordless) moan, Sigur Rós deploys its somber lullabies with symphonic grandeur, stretching out its arching melodies, building tonal and emotional colors around them, and eventually conceding to a perfectly timed fade to black. It doesn't get much more sublime than this.
NME
Dreamy beyond belief, this, Sigur Ros's second album (the title, roughly translated, means 'A New Beginning'), explores further the band's predilection for non-narrative beauty. Waves of unidentifiable noise, dulcet vibraphone pulses and singer/guitarist Jonsi's ethereal singing (more like some ghostly instrument than any conventional vocal, borne out by Jonsi's fictional 'language', Hopelandish, which he often sings in) mesh to create an elegant, grand music that's equally ambient and epic....This feels like church music, eschewing the sonic cathedrals of shoegazing infamy in favour of music that feels as awesome, as extravagantly bejeweled as, say, the Sacre Coeur.

Led by Jon Pór Birgisson's airy, almost genderless (and often wordless) moan, Sigur Rós deploys its somber lullabies with symphonic grandeur, stretching out its arching melodies, building tonal and emotional colors around them, and eventually conceding to a perfectly timed fade to black. It doesn't get much more sublime than this.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/22/2001
  • Label: Play It Again Sam
  • UPC: 766921859225
  • Catalog Number: 18592

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Intro (1:36)
  2. 2 Svefn-G-Englar (10:04)
  3. 3 Starálfur (6:46)
  4. 4 Flugufrelsarinn (7:48)
  5. 5 Ný Batterí (8:10)
  6. 6 Hjartaõ Hamast (Bamm Bamm Bamm) (7:10)
  7. 7 Viõrar Vel Til Loftárasa (10:17)
  8. 8 Olsen Olsen (8:03)
  9. 9 Ágaetis Byrjun (7:55)
  10. 10 Avalon (4:02)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Sigur Rós Primary Artist
Georg Holm Bass, Vocals
Kjartan Sveinsson Keyboards
Orri Páll DýRason Drums
Jón Þór Birgisson Guitar, Vocals
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A reviewer

    I have every Sigur Ros song available, and I'm pre-ordering Heima. Whole albums impress me more than singles, mostly because there's more to listen to. Sigur Ros puts me in this trance, and it's so hard to explain. I'm sure you know what i mean.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Awesome!

    Sigur Ros is perfect for anyone who's starting to get tired of endless pop junk. I heard about them through one of my good friends, who burned me agaetis byrjun and ( ). They're music has a lot of meaning, even if you can't understand the words. Just listen to his voice and the music. The guitarist plays with a violin bow and the bassist sometimes plays with drumsticks. It's really cool.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    astonishing

    i was blown away the first time i heard this c.d. i went to a concert of their's in april and it was one of the best that i've ever been too. in a land where the pop charts are dominated by recycled hip hop and stale metal bands, sigur ros gives us something to hope for with their music.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    WOW

    This is probably the greatest album i have ever heard. I thought i was going to cry when i first heard them, the etheralness of the album and the amazing beauty of it just hypnotises you. Buy This album you will NOT regreet it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Nordic Gods Indeed

    These guys know what they are doing. This album is awesome in everyway. Just get it. Tracks 2 and 4 are the best, but I am not at all disappointed by the album as a whole.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    As a dog hears it

    Considering my grasp of Dutch is zilch and everyones grasp of Hopelandish, likewise, the feelings of kinds conjured here, from astral travel to magical comfort, soaring penetration to gental prose and generous soul sharing are wonders of an adage... it's not just what you say. This album though eccentric, is heartachingly sincere. Sigur Ros transcend put simply, but not that alone. Whether it's the towering mechanical roar of a guitar that feels akin to witnessing the inception of a mountain, the oddly ideal chromatic dabbling of the wind section nature invited, the crash and thud of an elegant tantrum (there are other ways to be agressive headbangers of the world), giving out to a sole reverie, the realistic optimism of the bright and graceful string relief, the precisely paced elongation and minimalist progression of a stately, earthy piano sequence rising to god-like crescendo or sirens singing aboard icy geisers they ride to reach for heavens. They, as artists are a mighty, imaginative force de jour, it is felt. That's what this album is, felt. To connect so wholly and emotionally with words you don't (linguistically) comprehend is testimony to the way that they are laid bare on that reliance of expressiveness. The cliched adjectives of quality are abundant, the textures, the (sometimes out of) tunes, the tones, the colour and the shape... beautifully unlike any forecomer. the composition is discerning and discplined in its patient lack of comprimise (hence the substantial length in many a piece) all hail the way these guys aren't in any ill-timed hurry to go anywhere, and this patience imbues there pieces with the power of structure, and that timing is effortlessly embraced. other times they aren't meaning to awe (not that they have to try) with power, they are taking you on a gliding sunday cantor through some alien country serene, scenery, with the pied piper on the back of the floating cart, no burden of rats, and breaking into tune when the mood strikes him and a chorus is done being beautiful, eventually some whole happy folky community joins in and there's not the slightest hint of cheese in the air, just inspired art. English speaking appreciators may just find themselves recliner lounging and thinking ''man, I know just what you mean. Now I know just how you feel, thank you for sharing it''.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    THE Most Talented Band

    My sister got me into Sigur Ros and they are now my favorite band behind radiohead. The sound is so strong and deep it just kind of takes you into this world where you just relax and you're just floating. The style is unique and revolutionary.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    in awe of this music

    this is an album that simply inspires...it creates musical landscapes for your ears, mind, and soul! it's music full of a magic and beauty that i can't describe it well enough to do it justice...just believe that it's amazing and go buy it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The most powerful trip my body has ever felt

    When i first heard these guys, from a few d/l's on Napster, i was in sheer bliss. I quickly downloaded every song, picture, video i could find. and then i went out and bought the cd. it is the most beautiful music that has ever been created. The CD may be comprised of individual songs, but they flow together, just like a symphony in which you can feel the Icelandic landscape. I highly, highly recommend this cd. Þetta er ágætis byrjun.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    get this!

    do yourself a favor and get a copy of this somehow someway! they are amazing

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Into the Labrynth

    For those of you that may remember the erie, yet fascinating music of David Bowe's soundtrack for the Labrynth, this is a perfect match. You can hear the love lust, the pain, anything you want to in just the first few cords of any song!

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    Posted January 6, 2010

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    Posted January 9, 2010

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    Posted February 15, 2012

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    Posted August 14, 2009

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    Posted November 11, 2008

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    Posted February 15, 2012

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    Posted November 28, 2008

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews