Sigur Ros' Return To New York
    • WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 01, 2012

    • Posted by: David Pitz

    It's taken four years, but Sigur Rós played New York City last evening, having recently marked their return from hiatus with their sixth studio release, Valtari. As we've previously noted, the album is an interesting re-introduction to the Icelandic band's always artfully crafted performance rock. Unlike the gigantic, dynamic ebb and flow of previous albums, Valtari favors a much more minimalist swirl of instrumentation and voice...something I'm thinking many a Sigur Rós fan found slightly off-putting upon first listen. Still, Valtari is a grower and six-thousand of the band's faithful showed up to experience two gorgeously produced hours of the band, their new album, the classics they have built their career on, and the stunning production of light and audio visuals that accompanied it.

    If you've seen the band's recent performance documentary Inni, or dug into its' stirring soundtrack, then you're well prepared for the show the band is currently touring. Longtime highlights are abundant, including beautiful takes on "Hoppiplla", "Festival", and "Svefn-g-englar". Interspersed are some of Valtari's most vacant moments. The band lead with two songs from the album ("Ekki mkk" and "Var"), pairing the quiet tremors with visuals of a floating ship drifting just above the horizon (perhaps you've seen this video). Queue the cicadas creaking in the park and it was a simple, yet stirring reminder of the naturalistic elements that always seem to inform the nuances of their music. The band concluded the evening with an earth shaking performance of "Popplagia"; a fifteen minute stunner that rides a volcanic plume of drums, cataclysmic waves of guitar, and of course Jón þór Birgisson extra-terrestrial voice.

    Check out some photos snapped from the crowd below. NPR was also on hand recording the set, which will probably eventually appear HERE.

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