Introducing: Asgeir

Let me introduce you to my latest obsession. Asgeir, or Ásgeir Trausti Einarsson, is an Icelandic singer songwriter who has been on a sort of meteoric rise (never really knew what that last expression means) since his emergence back in 2012. Having been forged in the land of Ice and Fire, Asgeir has had somewhat of a head start coming from a family rooted in music and poetry. And these factors are prevalent in the atmospheric brand of rhythmic indie-funk (not really sure what else to call it if I’m to be honest).

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Asgeir up close and personal in the confides of St James Church (Dingle) for the world-renowned Other Voices festival. And it was whilst sitting in the front row of the miniscule chapel/music venue/tv studio that I first encountered this curious musical medley.

Originally recorded in his native tongue, Asgeir’s debut album features most prominently in english. This of course was made possible through translation work by the enigmatic American singer, John Grant (who also made an appearance at Other Voices).

The debut offering , from the Icelandic singer-songwriter, ‘In the Silence’ is deep, dark, atmospheric and laden with lyrics and metaphors passed down from his ‘wordsmith’ father. This marriage of hard-hitting, thought-provoking lyrics with captivating electronic musical accompaniment does well to provide a fresh listening experience. But not so fresh to the point where the listener feels somewhat alienated. A sort of happy medium.

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Disney’s Paperman

Have you seen this yet?

Paperman is Disney’s Oscar Nominated short film/animation. They have only just made it available on their official YouTube channel and it is most certainly worth watching. For those of you too lazy to go to YouTube, don’t worry, I have it below.

Ironically enough, the retro, almost hand drawn style of the short animation was achieved through a new animation software package called Meander. This allowed animators to actually draw over CGI enhanced backgrounds.

What Disney have managed to create within six minutes and thirty-five seconds is refreshing and offers a new and well needed alternative to the generic slog of modern-day animation out there. But that’s not to say that all animation is terrible and neither am I ignoring the fact that Disney are partly responsible for releasing their own fair share of less that adequate films in recent times.

Anyway, rant over now. So watch it below, enjoy and of course let me know what you think.

Golden B.C. Interview (Part 2)

What’s more important to you at the moment, Live gigs or studio sessions?
Right now, live appearances.  I’ve written music for years without ever intending to try and recreate anything live.  Now that I’m doing just that, I realise how incredibly fun it can be once you get over the whole “nervous shakes” thing.  But recording music will always be my first and most abusive love.

Do you enjoy playing live gigs?
I love them when they go well.  I’ve gone to a lot of concerts so I know what has connected with me when I see someone playing an acoustic show.  It supposed to be personal, yet not put you above the audience even though you’re up on stage.  It’s a tricky line to walk, but I’m figuring it out.

Do you find it a solitary experience playing as a solo artist?
It does get lonely up there sometimes.  I’m enjoying playing the songs in a stripped down fashion but I’m starting to realize that they’re meant to be powerful.  I’ve been considering getting some other musicians together to help me present the album in the way it was intended: really loud

How do you manage to ‘fill the stage’?
I usually get models to stand around me, ala Robert Palmer, and they mime playing instruments and just generally look pretty.  But with an acoustic show, moving around the stage while playing is difficult because if you screw up something you look a lot less like David Lee Roth and a lot more like an asshole that can’t play.  I just try to give the songs the right amount of emotion in my singing and playing so that people will hopefully be moved enough to ignore their waitresses.  Sorry, waitresses.

What scale is your recording operation? (Home Studio, Production team etc)
A couple of Shure mics, a stereo mic, a mac and instruments all set up in my home office.  I booked time in a real studio once, but realised quickly that if you’re going to experiment with songs while there, you better have some serious cash.  It’s just so easy to set up a home studio now that it’s kind of crazy to pay to use someone else’. I MacGyver’d a studio and I’m happy with that.

Does this add/subtract to Golden BC’s overall sound?
I think that it adds infinitely.  While I understand that engineers and producers have years of knowledge that can really add to a recording, I know what I want to hear coming out of those speakers and it may take longer at times, but I’ll get it.  Experimenting with sounds while recording the new record would never have been possible for me if I had used a studio outside of the one I built.

Do you have any experience in the area of music production and recording?
Besides my own work, no.  I started recording with Audacity, then Garageband, now Logic Express and have taught myself the whole way.  I’m not exactly going to produce someone else’s record, but I’m getting better at perfecting my processes as you can tell in the difference between “The Truth in the Facts” and “Just Take It”.

Does your skill level hinder your ability to truly express yourself?
What are you trying to say? J

Sometimes, but I think that’s the case with most musicians, even the amazingly talented ones.  To me, music is always the best when it’s simple in structure, lush in sound.  So you could have a song like “Get Rid of It” where there is so much shit going on in the song but the whole thing comes from two chords that play the whole time.  So skill is kind of irrelevant when it comes to expressing myself, I’m just going to start playing the guitar like a percussion instrument and sing to that if I can’t come up with something better.

What do you aim to achieve with your music?
I want to have a truckload of Junos dumped on my lawn.  Otherwise, I think the biggest aim of my music is simply to get people to listen to it and buy it.  I know that sounds kind of shitty to say, but honestly, the money all goes back into making and releasing more music.  I see it as an encouragement to create more music, and an investment from a fan that I will repay tenfold.

How close are you to satisfying these goals?
No Junos yet, but if Celine Dion doesn’t put out an album this year it could be a possibility.

So you released an album last year, Just Take It. Are you happy with how it turned out?
For the most part.  There will always be things that I’ll wish I had done differently but once it’s out, I’m not about to George Lucas anything.  But really, its my most fully-formed record and I’m very proud of it.

How did you find the overall process of creating an album?
Tedious at times.  This was the first time I had attempted to have an ongoing theme through an entire album and sometimes getting the pieces to fit took a little smashing.  “The Idiots” was rewritten about 4 times before it ended up as what you hear on the record.  It was a folk song, then it was very ambient sounding, then I ripped apart everything and made the final version.

How has it been received?
Pretty well so far, its kind of strange record to review because it can be all over the place from song to song.  But I’m hoping people will give it a few chances to grow on them because, (and I’m not biased at all) it’s a pretty great record.

So finally, what do you have planned for 2013? Any new projects on the horizon?
After taking 2 years to make one record, 2013 is going to be hyper productive.  I have a plan to write, record, and release 40 songs this year.  There may be a full length album here or there, or maybe just a lot of EPs, I haven’t really decided how to divide it up yet.  But yeah, there’s going to be tons of new Golden B.C. stuff this year as well as some live appearances, maybe even with a full band.  Wouldn’t that be nice?

Top 10 Tracks of the Year – Bullet In A Gun

And so here we are, number one. I know I said that I would put this up yesterday but I wanted to build the suspense. There was also the small fact of it being New Years Day and the previous nights festivities did more than enough to keep me from blogging. Which reminds me, Happy New Year!! I cannot think of a better way of starting 2013 then with my number song of, well last year.

2012 has been a great year for the Irish indie-rockers, Delorentos. They graced the stages of prestigious festivals both at home and abroad. They also released their third album, Little Sparks, which has received critical acclaim across the board. And low and behold, my song of the year just so happens to come from said album.

Delorentos – Bullet In A Gun

(Check out the very special live acoustic version below.)

So there we have it. My top 10 tracks of 2012. What did ye make of that? I’ll be amalgamating all individual song’s into one post and putting a Spotify playlist together in the coming days. Be sure to check out my Facebook Page for more details.

Top 10 Tracks of the Year – All I Want

And so we reach the penultimate position of this chart. My selection should not come as a surprise to anyone even remotely familiar with the Irish Music Scene. The Dublin Alternative band, Kodaline, turned heads with their impressive single ‘All I want’. So much so that it took the number two position in my tracks of 2012 chart. With it being New Years Eve and all that I think I will cut this post short. I will be unveiling my number one song of the year tomorrow. Until then, feel free to check out Kodaline below and share your own favourite songs in the comments below.

Kodaline – All I Want

Top 10 Tracks of the Year – No Way To Live

And so we reach the halfway point in this list of intricate and inspiring melodies from the year that was due to bring about our Armageddon. I apologise for that little outburst. I am currently suffering from a minor bout of writers block and so I have decided to use this blog post to hopefully jump start my mind. As well as that I am also going to unveil the fifth place song in this highly unique end of year poll.

Mick Flanery – No Way To Live

There was no way I was going to exclude this gravelly voiced corkonian from my top tracks of 2012 list. No Way To Live is taken from Mick Flannery’s very impressive 2012 album, Red To Blue and is a stand out track from the year gone by. The lyrics are poignant, the vocals hard-hitting and the music is overall energetic, uplifting and refreshing. I think that says it all.

Stay tuned for number four.

 

Top 10 Tracks of the Year – History Book

So naturally I decided to continue this top 10 with number 9.

9. Dry The River – History Book

Dry The River are an English folk band who formed back in 2009. They have released three albums to date and have done well to establish a unique and incomparable sound.  History Book is taken from their ‘Shallow Bed’ album which was released earlier this year. It does well to showcase the bands incredibly balanced vocal and musical ability.

Stay tuned for number 8.