Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tomtom Records.. Rising from the ashes..

In recent years Iceland has been constantly surprising me with an unbelievable amount of high quality electronic music emerging from its relatively small population.

Iceland maybe famous for its beautiful icy landscapes and its and its recent volcanic eruption but it is has also made quite an impact on pop music with an electronic edge, as Bjork formally of the Sugarcubes blended her unique vocal talents with acts like 808 state in the early nineties and has also worked with Mark Bell [LFO] and Alec Empire amongst others.

The noughties saw the rise of bedroom producers like Yagya and Ruxpin who have made some rather big waves in the global ambient/electronica scene, with some of their out of print releases fetching serious money on ebay and Discogs.

In recent years, through connections on Facebook I have been introduced to more underground acts from Iceland, one act in particular "Stereo Hypnosis" AKA Beatmakin Troopa & Jafet Meige have released two stunning CD albums on the Triangle Productions label, both albums venture in a rich sonic terrain of ambient, dub, hip hop, jazz, and folk which gives you an amazing sense of the awesome environment which surrounds them.

So 2011 starts of with a new Icelandic label TomTom Records, the label was started by electronic musicians Jóhann Ómarsson (aka Skurken) and Árni Grétar (aka Futuregrapher) the label is scheduled to release the music of many known and established Icelandic electronic producers.

Tomtom records gets off to a stunning start with its first release by Prince Valium, AKA Þorsteinn Konráð Ólafsson who has previously released music on the now defunct Resonant records.

The album "Andefni" has a deep sense of melancholy and each track has its own very strong identity, some of its high points are "Electropet" which plays a somewhat chamber music melody with clean sine tones before launching off in a fuzzy electro groove with an arpeggio progression that's reminiscent of Aphex Twin's "Polynomial C".

We are then sent off on a deep and soothing journey on a lake of flowing synths and subtle beats with "Efni" and from the ethereal vocals and the moving church like organ keys and strings of "Dab60" the beauty just keeps coming.

This is already a contender for best album of 2011 and means that Tomtom records are certainly a label to keep a close eye on.

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