Record of the Day #20 – Sigur Ros, Valtari

img_0392Yesterday I had a lot of writing to do – emails, stories, reviews, lesson plans, the list goes on. It was a day spent in front of the computer (aside from a trip to uni for a swim), hammering the keyboard for hours on end until the to-do list I’d started the day with was considerably smaller than it had been. They’re the kind of days which are essential as a creative student who likes to keep busy, but at the time they often feel like huge, daunting undertakings. Thankfully, I have something that also makes those types of days a little bit less of a chore, and a little easier also. That thing is music, and, with the right soundtrack, those days can sometimes be pretty enjoyable. I normally use them to catch up on records I haven’t got around to listening to yet. Valtari is not one of those records, I’ve enjoyed it plenty over the years, but I went ahead and listened to it again anyway.

Released: 2012                       Label: Parlophone
Variant: ???                            Purchased from: Amazon

Icelandic outfit Sigur Ros’ sixth LP is one which nurtures a creative mindset, sprawling vistas of ambient noise, chillingly intimate and coolly detached. It’s a mellow but monolithic release, grand in scope if not necessarily in terms of its composition. It’s a daydream of a record, bathed in warm reverb and sparkling with electronic ambiance, haunting and electrifying in equal measure. I can have it on in the background, barely audible over the crash of my lead hands on plastic keys, and it’s conducive to my creativity. It makes every word sound a little better than they would in its absence. If I’m not working, I know that I can play it a little louder, and then lose myself in it entirely. I think the records album art does a good job of encapsulating the profound sense of isolation the record conjures. Through that isolation comes a deep appreciation, almost reverential in retrospect. Listening to Valtari, I become the ship suspended 100km from the nearest shore. I am floating in a cosmic ocean of kaleidoscope post-rock, carried by the rhythmic tides in whichever emotional direction they choose to pull me in. It’s a blissful, out-of-body experience, and it stems from a record of supreme beauty. Valtari is sublime


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