The solo career of Sigur Rós vocalist Jónsi
When Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós announced that the band would be on an indefinite hiatus as from January 2010 this was a huge blow for their millions of fans and the Internet was immediately buzzing with rumours about when the band might once again return to the studio.
And then something marvellous happened - Jón Þór Birgisson aka Jónsi, the Sigur Rós front man whose distinctive falsetto vocals are very much part of the trademark sound of the band, announced that he would be releasing a solo album and embarking on a world tour.
2010 turned out to be an enormously productive year for Jónsi with not only the release of the album Go, but also Go Quiet, a music film directed by Dean DeBlois, featuring acoustic renditions of all nine songs from the album and Go Live a collection of live recordings on CD and DVD made during the tour.
This is a musical sampler of Jónsi's solo career - turn up your speakers and enjoy!
(Jónsi live @ HMV Forum photo © Janus Bahs Jacquet)
Focus on 'Go' - the album - "...a child-like joyousness that dares you not to break out in a huge grin."
Over the years, we have been told, variously, that happiness is a warm puppy, a warm gun, a journey not a destination, even a cigar called Hamlet. Based on the nine songs on Go, we now need to add to that list: happiness is a solo record by an Icelandic singer whose bandmates have all disappeared on paternity leave. That's the official excuse, anyway, for Sigur Ros abandoning their last album and taking an indefinite sabbatical. Yet might paternity leave be a convenient euphemism for "musical differences"? The question is worth asking, because Go is certainly musically different - and emotionally very different, replacing the abiding sense of melancholy you get from Sigur Ros albums with a child-like joyousness that dares you not to break out in a huge grin. [...]
The Sunday Times Review by Mark Edwards - April 4, 2010
[...] his voice remains one of modern music's most readily identifiable instruments, capable of euphoric peaks and hugely affecting introspective moments.
BBC Review by Si Hawkins - March 25, 2010
Jónsi - album interview and making of 'Go'
Exclusive interview with Jon Thor Birgisson, known to the world as Jonsi, the lead singer of Sigur Ros.
Buy 'Go' on CD
Jónsi has spent more than a decade writing epic compositions with Sigur Rós, creating some of the finest, most acclaimed albums of the last ten years. The choice to make an album of solo recordings came together as a solution to a backlog of songs Jónsi had written that didn't seem to fit within the Sigur Rós context. Go is a different beast entirely. Ecstatic, dramatic and alive, it features Jónsi's signature vocals throughout, with the majority of the songs sung in English.
1. Go Do
2. Animal Arithmetic
4. Boy Lilikoi
5. Sinking Friendships
7. Around Us
8. Grow till Tall
Jónsi - 'Go Quiet' Trailer
Go Quiet: A full length dvd of Jonsi performing the entire album acoustically, shot at home in Reykjavik, Iceland over new year 2010 by Dean DeBlois, the acclaimed director of Heima.
Focus on 'Go' - Live concert tour 2010 - "It was a wonderful journey that kept the audience rapt."
Jónsi in Concert at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome, Italy - July 21, 2010
Throughout the night, animals - running wolves and deer, butterflies, swooping owls and scurrying rats and insects - had all come to life on the backdrop screens reminding us of the terrible beauty and sometimes destructive power of Nature. It was a wonderful journey that kept the audience rapt. Thank you Jónsi for taking us with you.
Living in Rome concert review by Deborah Swain
Jónsi in Concert at the Vogue Theatre - April 6 20010
None of that prepared me for one of the most incredible experiences I've recently had. The music was amazing, of course it was amazing, we're talking about dedicated musicians playing their hearts out to a totally rapt audience, but the light display merged both performers and backdrop into a story that unfolded through the course of the show.
Guttersnipe concert review by Cass Grant
Jónsi in Concert at the Forum, London - May 26 & 27, 2010
By the encore, he has donned a towering Native American headdress for the hyperventilating percussive-pop rush of Animal Arithmetic, and then performs a war dance in front of staggering high-definition thunderstorm visuals during the glorious cacophony of Grow Till Tall. Sigur Rós are a sorry loss, but if Jónsi maintains this staggering form, their absence will be less sorely felt.
Guardian concert review by Ian Gittins
Jónsi - Making of the 'Go' live show
Jonsi - Live in concert 2010 - Concert Timelapse at The Wiltern Theatre
Timelapse film of Jonsi's concert at The Wiltern in Los Angeles on Oct. 17, 2010.
Film by Henry Jun Wah Lee and Kim Reid.
Music: Sinking Friendships by Jonsi. Recorded live at The Wiltern.
Focus on 'Go Live' - "Jónsi is, universally, naturally triumphant."
'Go Live' is a rather formidable collection of indisputable brilliance, brilliance to have you longing for his return to nearby lands as the Icelandic tourist board longs for booking confirmations in the unfortunate aftermath of natural disaster. Quite the antithesis of Eyjafjallajkull, Jónsi is, universally, naturally triumphant.
Virgin Review by Josh Holliday - December 23, 2010
Sonically, the aesthetic that 'Go Live' brings to the listener is rife with nuances and textures that put you right in front of the stage. It is deeply encouraged that you also procure a copy of the DVD posthaste. The visuals and set pieces from 'Go Live' are absolutely hypnotic: the haphazard tinkling of antique xylophones and tiny pianos, the warm glow of sepia light, the animations, the costumes - absorb it all, and do not leave disappointed. Never in my life have I been gifted with a more accurate revisiting of a live performance, and all thanks to a frail little man from Iceland and his wonderful, magical toys.
Leave it as our raw and piercing Jónsi would leave you - more than human, more than creature. Restless at body, peaceful at mind, burning at heart, and on the brink of a joyful release from sorrow. Go, and live.
Consequence of Sound Review by David Buchanan - December 6, 2010
Buy 'Go: Live' on CDand DVD Combo - Special Import
Disc: 1 (Live CD)
1. Stars In Still Water (Live In Brighton) 5:47
2. HengilÃ¡s (Live In Belgium) 5:21
3. Icicle Sleeves (Live In Belgium) 5:23
4. Kolnidur (Live In Belgium) 4:00
5. Tornado (Live In Belgium) 7:08
6. Sinking Friendships (Live In Belgium) 4:58
7. Saint NaÃ¯ve (Live In Belgium) 5:16
8. Go Do (Live In Belgium) 4:44
9. Boy Lilikoi (Live In Belgium) 4:23
10. Animal Arithmetic (Live In Belgium) 3:35
11. New Piano Song (Live In Brighton) 5:06
12. Around Us (Live In Belgium) 7:53
13. Sticks And Stones (Live In Brighton) 4:19
14. Grow Till Tall (Live In Belgium) 10:10
Disc: 2 (Live DVD)
1. HengilÃ¡s (Live In London)
2. Icicle Sleeves (Live In London)
3. Kolnidur (Live In London)
4. Tornado (Live In London)
5. Sinking Friendships (Live In London)
6. Go Do (Live In London)
7. Boy Lilikoi (Live In London)
8. New Piano Song (Live In London)
9. Around Us (Live In London)
10. Volume Pedal Song (Live In London)
11. Grow Till Tall (Live In London)
Focus on 'Riceboy Sleeps' - By Jónsi & Alex
Riceboy Sleeps operates at a heady level of beauty. The string and piano playing is emotionally stirring to begin with, attaining the same achingly mournful emotional register as familiar heartstring molesters like Barber's Adagio for Strings or the second movement of Schubert's String Quintet in C Major. It's the laptop post-production, however, that succeeds in augmenting the music's effect to sometimes sublime levels.
BBC Review by Chris Power - July 16, 2009
It's an ambient record in the best traditions of Brian Eno or Harold Budd, although the gentle grandeur of a track such as DanÃell in the Sea might otherwise bring to mind Mahler. Either way, this is beautifully fragile music, not disposable but built to last.
Observer review by Caspar Llewellyn Smith - July 12, 2009
Jonsi & Alex - About 'Riceboy Sleeps' - Electronic Press Kit
Buy ' Riceboy Sleeps' on CD
2. Atlas Song
3. Indian Summer
5. Boy 1904
6. All The Big Trees
7. DanÃell In The Sea
9. Sleeping Giant