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Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, December 17, 2004, Music

Sigur Rós

Von (One Little Indian)

Before the new millennial grandeur of Ágaetis Byrjun and follow-up glacial glyph ( ), Icelandic rocket scientists Sigur Rós convened on the 12th moon of Cygnus X-1 for an exorcism. Von was hatched. The year: 1997. Jón Thór Birgisson's "Hopelandish" coos and cries haven't yet steered the ship toward his blinding celestial vision, but the rain stick is out and so is the subtropical space voodoo of 10-minute debut opener "Sigur Rós." Bass drifts rumble under a fog of synthesized sound, percussion evoking a primitive microcosmos. Then the screaming begins. The lunatic is on the prowl. The howling wind "Leit a Lífi," the falling rain of "Dögun" – whatever worlds these prog trawlers have discovered, the elemental conclusion is distinctly organic. Someone somewhere is praying to the maker of electric sheep. The hymn metal of "Hún Jöro" is messianic, its call being the space siren sign-off of "Syndir Guos (Opinberun Frelsarans)," which is sucked into the black hole of "Rukrym," closest to the straight forward space drone of "Myrkur." Sky Cries Mary. The 12-minute journey of "Hafssól," the industrial slowdown of "Veröld Nýy Og O" – the 21st century shouldn't be this heavy or even heard in such weightless ambiance. The beauteous wash of sound, an otherworldly choir; a dystopian aural experience, both blissfully narcotic and nightmarishly grounding. Philip K. Dick, rock band.

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