Valtari

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Valtari
Studio album by Sigur Rós
Released23 May 2012 (2012-05-23)
RecordedSundlaugin, Greenhouse Studios, Air Studios
GenrePost-rock, ambient
Length54:36
LabelParlophone
ProducerSigur Rós, Alex Somers
Sigur Rós chronology
Inni
(2011)
Valtari
(2012)
Singles from Valtari
  1. "Ekki Múkk"
    Released: April 21, 2012
  2. "Varúð"
    Released: August 21, 2012
 
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Valtari
Studio album by Sigur Rós
Released23 May 2012 (2012-05-23)
RecordedSundlaugin, Greenhouse Studios, Air Studios
GenrePost-rock, ambient
Length54:36
LabelParlophone
ProducerSigur Rós, Alex Somers
Sigur Rós chronology
Inni
(2011)
Valtari
(2012)
Singles from Valtari
  1. "Ekki Múkk"
    Released: April 21, 2012
  2. "Varúð"
    Released: August 21, 2012
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic74/100[1]
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic4/5 stars[2]
The A.V. ClubA−[3]
BBC Musicpositive[4]
Drowned in Sound8/10[5]
NME7/10[6]
The Observer3/5 stars[7]
Pitchfork Media6.1/10[8]
PopMatters7/10[9]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[10]
Slant Magazine4/5 stars[11]

Valtari (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈval̥tarɪ], Roller)[12] is the sixth studio album by Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós, released on 23 May 2012 by Parlophone.

Contents

Background

Bassist Georg Hólm described the album as having "more electronic stuff than before" but not being "a dance album". The first single "Ekki Múkk", as well as an accompanying video, was released on the same day.[13] Hólm also said of the album - "I really can’t remember why we started this record, I no longer know what we were trying to do back then. I do know session after session went pear-shaped, we lost focus and almost gave up... did give up for a while. But then something happened and form started to emerge, and now I can honestly say that it’s the only Sigur Rós record I have listened to for pleasure in my own house after we’ve finished it."[14]

The song "Varðeldur" is a different version of the song "Lúppulagið" from the live album Inni.[15]

Artwork

Valtari's album cover is by Jónsi's sisters, Lilja and Inga Birgisdóttir. Inga was also the baby on the cover art for Sigur Rós' debut album Von[16].

Release

On Record Store Day, 21 April, Sigur Rós released a special vinyl edition of "Ekki Múkk" that plays inside out. Its B-side is an instrumental track titled Kvistur.[17] This B-side is also available as a pre-order bonus track. [18]

On 17 May, the official website streamed the album online, in an activity called Valtari Hour at 7 p.m. at time zones around the world, in advance of the album's release.[19][20] On the same day, Zane Lowe premiered another brand new track from the album, "Ég anda", on BBC Radio 1.[21]

The song "Dauðalogn" was premiered during the third season finale of The Vampire Diaries, aired 10 May 2012.[22]

On 21 August, the song "Varúð" was released as single in a special limited edition 10" to coincide with their 2012 summer tour. It plays inside out, just like "Ekki Múkk". Its B-side, Logn, is also a pre-order bonus track. [23] [24] [25]

The Valtari Mystery Film Experiment

Sigur Rós have given a dozen film makers the same budget and asked them to create whatever comes in to their head when they listen to songs from the band's forthcoming album. The idea is to abandon the usual approval process from Sigur Rós, and allow film makers utmost creative freedom.[26]

Among the twelve filmmakers working without brief to a chosen song are Ramin Bahrani, Alma Har'el, John Cameron Mitchell and Ryan McGinley[27]

"We never meant our music to come with a pre-programmed emotional response. We don't want to tell anyone how to feel and what to take from it. With the films, we have literally no idea what the directors are going to come back with. None of them know what the others are doing, so hopefully it could be interesting", said from Sigur Rós[28][29]

On 21 May, Sigur Rós released a video for the track "Ég Anda", which is filmed by Ragnar Kjartansson. It is the first video from the Valtari mystery film experiment. The video shows how we should proceed if someone starts to choke.[26]

On 6 June, Sigur Rós released a video for the track "Varúð", which is filmed by Inga Birgisdóttir, who is the Valtari cover designer and the director of Ekki Múkk music video. It's the second video from the Valtari mystery film experiment.[26]

On 18 June, Sigur Rós released the third Valtari Mystery Film. "Fjögur píanó" was filmed by Alma Har'el starring Shia LaBeouf.[26]

On 2 July, Sigur Rós released the fourth Valtari Mystery Film. Arni & Kinski directed the video for "Rembihnútur". According to them, the video talks about how Sigur Rós's music has changed positively the people who listen to them.[26]

On 16 July, Sigur Rós released the fifth Valtari Mystery Film, by Ramin Bahrani, for the song "Ég anda".[26]

On 31 July, the sixth Valtari Mystery Film, by Ryan McGinley, was released for the song "Varúð".[26]

On 13 August, the seventh Valtari Mystery Film was released. Melika Bass directed a video for the song "Varðeldur".[26]

On 28 August, Sigur Rós released the eighth Valtari Mystery Film. Henry Jun Wah Lee directed the video for "Dauðalogn". The video took place in the primeval forest of Yakushima, a remote island in southern Japan.[26]

On 12 September, the ninth Valtari Mystery Film was released. The film is called "Seraph" and features "Rembihnútur" and "Ekki Múkk". This is the first time in the series that two tracks play in the same film. It was directed by Dash Shaw and written by Dash Shaw & John Cameron Mitchell. The video discusses subtly about homosexuality.[26]

On 24 September, the tenth film was released, a short, narrated story of a man lost in the English countryside set to "Ekki Múkk". It was directed by Nick Abrahams and featured Aidan Gillen and Shirley Collins.[26]

On 8 October, the eleventh film and winner of the People's Choice contest was released: "Dauðalogn", directed by Ruslan Fedotow.[26]

Critical reception

Valtari has received mostly positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 74, based on 36 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[30]

Commercial performance

Valtari debuted at number eight on the UK Albums Chart, selling 11,136 copies in its first week.[31] In the United States, the album entered the Billboard 200 at number seven with first-week sales of 26,000 copies, the band's first top ten entry and third best sales week.[32]

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Sigur Rós. 

No.TitleEnglish translation[*]Length
1."Ég anda"  I Breathe6:15
2."Ekki Múkk"  Not a Sound7:45
3."Varúð"  Caution6:37
4."Rembihnútur"  Tight Knot5:05
5."Dauðalogn"  Dead Calm6:37
6."Varðeldur"  Campfire6:08
7."Valtari"  Roller8:19
8."Fjögur píanó"  Four Pianos7:50

Personnel

Sigur Ros

Additional musicians

Charts

Chart (2012)Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart[33]14
Austrian Albums Chart[34]39
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders)[35]4
Belgian Albums Chart (Wallonia)[36]17
Canadian Albums Chart[37]4
Czech Albums Chart[38]18
Danish Albums Chart[39]21
Dutch Albums Chart[40]18
Finnish Albums Chart[41]21
French Albums Chart[42]29
German Albums Chart[43]23
Irish Albums Chart[44]1
Italian Albums Chart[45]7
Japanese Albums Chart[46]17
Mexican Albums Chart[47]93
New Zealand Albums Chart[48]34
Norwegian Albums Chart[49]12
Polish Albums Chart[50]35
Portuguese Albums Chart[51]12
Scottish Albums Chart[52]6
Spanish Albums Chart[53]21
Swedish Albums Chart[54]31
Swiss Albums Chart[55]15
UK Albums Chart[56]8
US Billboard 200[32]7
US Rock Albums[57]4
US Independent Albums[57]2
US Alternative Albums[57]3

Release history

CountryDateLabel
Japan[58]23 May 2012EMI
Australia[59]25 May 2012
Germany[60]
United Kingdom[61]28 May 2012Parlophone
United States[62]29 May 2012XL Recordings
Taiwan[63]8 June 2012Gold Typhoon

References

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  2. ^ Sendra, Tim. "Valtari – Sigur Rós". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. http://www.allmusic.com/album/valtari-mw0002344605. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  3. ^ Plagenhoef, Scott (29 May 2012). "Sigur Rós: Valtari". The A.V. Club. Onion, Inc. http://www.avclub.com/articles/sigur-ros-valtari,75636/. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
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