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Music Review

Sigur Ros - Hvarf-Heim

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Label: EMI

Year: 2007

Duration: 72 minutes

1 of 1 Dynamic

Given that their music is so naturally cinematic, it was little wonder that Sigur Ros' dynamic, drifting and enchanting blend of odd-hypnotic vocals, strings and sinuous sounds proved so effective on their recently released documentary/tour movie, 'Heima'.

'Hvarf-Heim' ('Disappeared-Home'), while not exactly the soundtrack to the Icelandic based movie, is nonetheless designed as an accompanying aural feast.

Spread over two discs, it offers cuts of previously unreleased material used in the movie, whilst also serving up a selection of acoustic tracks performed live on location across their homeland of Iceland.

Disc One, 'Hvarf', will please the completists in the band's fanbase and offers more of the familiar sound of the band then the album's second disc, 'Heim'.

On 'Hvarf' we get newly recorded versions of three never-before-released songs and two from the group's pre-breakthrough days.  Here there are flirtations with prog-rock, chamber music and straight-laced rock, all fed through Sigur Ros' trademark idiosyncratic sound.

Interesting as these "lost" tracks may be, it is the acoustic set on 'Heim' which proves much more impressive, with songs from their back catalogue such as 'Vaka' and 'Agaetis Byrjun' re-sculpted away from electric bow guitars and feedback, and sounding hymn-like within the bounds of acoustic instrumentation. It offers a sound to the band distinct from what we have come to be familiar with, and is a welcome reminder as to just how inventive and progressive Sigur Ros can be.

In all, 'Hvarf-Heim' is a recommended entry point for those yet to converted by the Icelandic four-piece and a perfect companion to the wonderful 'Heima'.

Steve Cummins

Tracklisting: Disc One: Salka - Hljómalind - Í Gær - Von - Hafsól Disc Two: Samskeyti - Starálfur - Vaka - Ágætis Byrjun - Heysátan -Von

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