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Sigur Rós - Von CD (album) cover

VON

Sigur Rós

 

Post Rock/Math rock

2.46 | 92 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars The ethereal post-rockers from Iceland hit it big with their huge international hits "Ágćtis byrjun" and "( )" but the band really began way back in 1994 in Reykjavik slowly developing their post-rock visions and finally releasing their debut album VON ("Hope" in Icelandic") in 1997. This is one of those overproduced albums that the band states turned out nothing like planned but when all was said and done decided to stick with the finished produced due to all the money and time expended. While the album was only moderately successful in their native Iceland at the time of release, after international fame came from the more ethereal and successful albums that followed, VON was re-released and has since become an well established and well known release in the band's discog.

It's quite the surprise that this is a sort of a proto-SIGUR ROS album that has all the elements of future releases in play but doesn't quite make them gel together in the brilliant cohesive manner of later albums. The ethereal parts are here of course as are the post-rock elements but they don't quite wanna go on a date together yet and what we are treated to here are snippets of ideas albeit lengthy meandering snippets that exhibit sonic interests but haven't been put on the work table as to how to properly gestate their nascency into a fully functioning organism, therefore leaving a disjointed feel for the whole shebang, And no one hearing this album at the time would ever been able to predict that this album would lead to a band that would create some seriously bizarre and original music.

Track one which is ironically titled "SIGUR ROS" which is a frightening ambient track with high pitched vocal screeches, synthesized horrific sounds and depressive developments that ultimately cedes into the second track "Dögun" which sounds like the Cocteau Twins on valium or something. A rather de-popped space pop version of something on "Victorialand" where the female vocals echo and bellow amidst the shimmering sonicities of ambient keys creating the sonic counterpart to a desert mirage. It turns into a full-fledged ambient desert caravan surreal effect that creates a most surreal and outlandish collage effect of a single melodic note being accompanied by sound effects. Tracks like ""Hún Jörđ ?" are very Dead Can Dance-ish but with heavy alternative rock accompanying it.

As stated, this album is really packed full of different cool ideas but doesn't quite simmer them down into a digestible tonic and a little bitterness must be experienced to get much out of this album, but if you have a taste for such things, then this is a crude and raw first step into the SIGUR ROS universe as it shows just how the group threw all the ingredients into the cauldron and boiled them down into a musical blessing. Personally i love this album on rare occasions as it requires the precise mood to enjoy but when that mood hits me, VON is a distinct and bona fide mood enhancer indeed. This is probably one of the hardest SIGUR ROS albums in that it has frenzied guitar passages despite accompanying mid-tempo percussion.

As with many debut albums, i have a soft spot for the totally experimental that the brave and the bold display. SIGUR ROS is one of those bands. The passion is on full flame here even if the full compositional prowess had not yet developed. I love this album simply for its utter unpredictability where ambience and hard post-rock alternate, marry and then divorce in sudden whims of passion. While not nearly as ethereal as future releases, VON is definitely a post-rocker's eclectic dream come true with jangle pop, ambient, drone, shoe gaze and avant grade all having a sublime orgy of sonic possibilities and for that it is truly innovative in its approach despite not being mature enough to create something that would pass as totally grown-up.

3.5 rounded UP because this is a really cool album that doesn't get enough love

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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