Jonsi dvd/album Go Quiet

Technically the acoustic DVD of Jonsi’s 2010 album Go is more of a visual feast; a tour de force of visual and aural art combinations.  Watching the entire film, entitled Go Quiet (amazon) (and also mostly available on youtube), is akin to admitting you need a moment to ponder the wonders of this world.  About three songs into the album/movie you realize that most of what you worry and fret about on a daily basis is really boring, mundane, and trivial.

Only a few artists transcend the status of musician and truly are artists in every sense of the word.  I would put Sufjan Stevens on that list and I would definitely put Jonsi right next to him.  There is a special reverence in his live performance that mere mortals don’t stumble upon accidentally; a transcendent, captivating, emotional outpouring that is difficult to describe yet incredibly easy to experience and enjoy as a listener, watcher, consumer.

mp3 : Jonsi – Tornado (Go Quiet Version)
mp3 : Jonsi – Kolnidur (Go Quiet Version)

The songs in Go Quiet are the same as the songs on his album Go.  Lyrics and melodies remain unchanged.  The music, however, is stripped down to only what Jonsi could provide in a live recorded setting.  And it is breathtaking.  Please take forty five minutes of your life and spend it watching Go Quiet.

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The Best Albums of 2010

The past year was filled with unforgettable music.  As I was poring over all of the great albums I began agonizing (often vocally to my wife) about how I was possibly going to choose which albums would make this list.  Throughout the past two months I’ve been listening to twenty albums on constant repeat and below I present to you the fruits of this labor.

01 : The National – High Violet (amazon) (itunes)

The National crafted an album in 2010 that surpassed all of the hype that has been surrounding them since they released their album Alligator in 2005.  Of all the great music in 2010 this album narrowly surpassed the rest of the pack in grabbing and holding my attention the most.

mp3 : The National – Sorrow
mp3 : The National – Conversation 16

02 : Cloud Cult – Light Chasers (amazon) (itunes)

There are five or six albums in this list that could have easily laid claim to the coveted number one position.  Light Chasers sits at number two on the list because every single song adds to the story arc and each track contributes something new, yet cohesive, to the experience.

mp3 : Cloud Cult – The Invocation (p.1) – You’ll Be Bright
mp3 : Cloud Cult – The Arrival – There’s So Much Energy In Us

03 : Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz (amazon) (itunes)

Many people didn’t know what to think of Sufjan’s return to music.  He eschewed his well known banjo and modern folk interpretations and instead produced a sprawling epic that combines intricate storytelling with even more intricate electronic compositions.  Truly a great album.

mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Now That I’m Older
mp3 : Sufjan Stevens – Vesuvius

04 : Jonsi – Go (amazon) (itunes)

Jonsi went solo this year from Sigur Ros and he came up with an album that sounds as great as his band, but it moves along with a joy and brevity that they don’t typically employ.

mp3 : Jonsi – Kolnidur

05 : Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (amazon) (itunes)

When you see Arcade Fire at fifth on this it’s easy to see just how hard it was to arrange the top ten.  The only problem I have with this album (which is the same as everyone else) is that it isn’t full of songs on the same level as Wake Up.  I know that isn’t fair, but it’s what we’re all waiting for.

mp3 : Arcade Fire – Rococo

06 : Vampire Weekend – Contra (amazon) (itunes)

In 2008 I was ready to write these Ivy League yuppie kids off as a typical flash in the pan.  On their sophomore album they’ve found a way to turn smug indie rock into something worth listening to over and over again.

mp3 : Vampire Weekend – Horchata

07 : Broadcast 2000 – Broadcast 2000 (amazon) (itunes)

The only reason this great album doesn’t move higher on the list is that many of the songs appeared two full years ago on their debut EP.

mp3 : Broadcast 2000 – Rouse Your Bones

08 : Freelance Whales – Weathervanes (amazon) (itunes)

Having been released back in early April it’s easy to see why many list makers completely forgot about this slice of well crafted folk pop.  The entire album is well crafted and infectious.

mp3 : Freelance Whales – Generator Second Floor

09 : Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (amazon) (itunes)

While I don’t agree with his lyrics, his message, his ego, or his personality I do agree with critics and listmakers across the globe that realize this album is worth looking past Ye’s flaws.

mp3 : Kanye West – Lost In The World (feat. Bon Iver)

10 : Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist History (amazon) (itunes)

Each year I seem to find one amazing pop album that I can listen to again and again.  In 2009 it was Phoenix and in 2010 it was Two Door Cinema Club.

mp3 : Two Door Cinema Club – Eat That Up, It’s Good For You

Those are my top ten albums for 20010.  If you’d like to see my previous lists follow these links; 2009, 2008, 2007 (or click here to see all 4 years on one page).  I’m looking forward to 2011 in music as there will most likely be albums by Radiohead, Coldplay, Bon Iver, and The Strokes.  Enjoy the music.

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Jonsi live in Salt Lake City

Well this is what it feels like to post on The World Forgot.  It’s been so long I was worried I would lose my usual self deprecating panache.  Fret not.  I have been busy.  Busy with a real life that has included random business trips, planning a future, settling in with my wife, and playing video games.  Fortunately, on one of the aforementioned business trips, I found myself with a free evening.  And on that evening it just so happened that Jonsi was playing a concert within walking distance of my hotel.

Seeing Jonsi in concert is akin to watching a one man Broadway production.  The video backdrop to his show is amazing and you often find yourself drawn to the over-sized screen draped behind him.  The imagery ranges from falling raindrops to animations depicting a world ending/cleansing storm.  The concert as a whole is a spectacle, but one song, in particular, caught my attention a little more and has thus rendered it impossible to hear the song without visualizing the video that played in the background.

mp3 : Jonsi – Kolnidur

(I recognize that “Kolnidur” isn’t the actual title of the track – it’s actually Kolniður, but exotic characters wreak havoc on my FTP, your ability to download, etc.)  During this song the backdrop is filled with animal images.  It opens with an owl chasing a mouse and then cuts to a deer.  Eventually, as the song progresses, we see a wolf that begins to hunt the deer.  As the music builds the deer and wolf magically morph into two birds, flying haphazardly through a forest.  Before the music fades they have been transformed back into a deer and a wolf, but this time the deer grows antlers and as they clash together to fight they explode into black and white geometries.  It’s sheer brilliance.  (the best video I could find of this performance is here – if you find a better video please leave it in the comments).

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Jonsi new album Go

Jonsi Birgisson is most well known for his work as the front man for the Icelandic group Sigur Ros.  On their albums he usually sings in Icelandic or a made up language he coined Hopelandic.  On the rare occasion he switches over to English but those tracks are few and far between.  This is not the case on Jonsi’s debut solo album.  Each track is packed with energy and the album only contains one track not sung in English.  What it boils down to is this album feels like Jonsi has recorded everything he wanted to sing that didn’t quite fit in with his Sigur Ros compatriots.  (And note, this album is head and shoulders above the Jonsi and Alex album from last year).

mp3 : Jonsi – Go Do
mp3 : Jonsi – Boy Lilikoi

Overall this album tends to be more joyous and more pop oriented that Jonsi’s previous efforts with Sigur Ros.  Where his band leans toward atmospheric sparse soundscapes filled with melancholic emotions his solo effort veers toward territory that is undeniably happy.  Melodies are playful and many tracks drive about with the abandon of children of play.  It is undoubtedly a solid solo effort and it proves that Jonsi is a huge part of the Sigur Ros talent pool.  The album, entitled Go (amazon) (itunes), will be released on April 5th.

And because I’m a huge fan of Jonsi’s music I thought I would throw out this cover he performed on BBC 1 during an interview.

mp3 : Jonsi – Time to Pretend (MGMT)

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Tiesto track Kaleidoscope

Whether or not you actually like Tiesto (or the copious amount of remixes, mixes, dance tracks, beats, etc., that he’s made) we can all agree on one thing.  The lead singer of Sigur Ros, oft called Jonsi, is brilliant at almost every single turn.  So when Tiesto teams up with Jonsi and asks him to sing over the title track to his new album you just know it’s going to be epic.  And trust me, epic it is.

mp3 : Tiesto – Kaleidoscope (feat Jonsi)

Honestly I’m not sure if there is anything I would change about this song.  Let’s see.  It’s over seven minutes.  It’s atmospheric.  It changes moods and builds to an ending that can only be described as euphoric.  It has Jonsi dripping his voice all over for good measure.  And the last two minutes are nothing sort of sublime.  Really, I mean really, is there anything even slightly disappointing about this song?

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