Iceland Airwaves: Day Two — Murya, Sisy Ey, and Bendagram (11/2)

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Murya @ Bar 11

On the top floor of Bar 11, Möller Records’ Murya and Futuregrapher were set to play a collaborative set, but upon arriving early, there was no Futuregrapher to be found. It was a bit of a letdown, but Murya managed to make up for it with his unique renditions of house and garage music. At times house music can come off as just mindless pulsating beats, but Murya proved he could keep the listener’s interest without overwhelming them. Murya follows the typical house aesthetic in addition to adding various layers of hypnotic samples and synths. The turnout for the show was quite small, and in hindsight it might have reflected Futuregrapher’s absence. It was not a huge issue, but throughout the entire performance Murya remained seated. It felt awkward to say the least and in turn it felt that he was cutting off any possible audience interaction. Despite Murya coming off as disinterested, the crowds channeled the energy of the music itself into head bopping.

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Sisý Ey @ Faktorý (photo courtesy of Sisý Ey’s Facebook page)

Sisý Ey, a project founded in 2011 by Carmen Johannsdottir, came up with the idea to get Elín Ey and her two sisters Elisabet Eyþórsdóttir and Sigríður Eyþórsdóttir to sing live house music. A strange concept to grasp since house music does not require complex harmonies or great vocal ability, but Sisý Ey strive to break the barriers of what it means to be a live electronic act. With their vibrant voices, the group utilizes their abilities to put more focus on the acoustic aspect of the music, thus creating electronic music that is not only great to dance to but intriguing to watch. They may not be inventing a new genre entirely, but they have successfully reinvigorated what people call “house music,” thus proving that they are bringing something new to the table of live electronic music. The band is fairly new in the Icelandic electronic scene, but judging by the filled-to-capacity turnout, the band clearly shows promise.

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Bendagram @ Faktorý

Finland’s Bendagram are yet another new act making it into the electronic world who focus on live sampling of vocals with the addition of electric guitars. Bendagram consists of multi-instrumentalists Lauri Solin and Pekka Tynkkynen, who have recently attracted buzz as one of the leading exports from the Finnish music market. Their sound takes cues from the likes of New Order circa Movement mixed and 1990s R&B, along with sampling of various percussion and wobbly synth lines. The final product comes out as electronic pop with equal amounts of emotional intensity. This intensity stems from the duo’s simplistic melodies and harmonies. Unlike others in the contemporary electronic world who strive to outdo each other by sounding overwhelmingly experimental, Bendagram channels their strong pop sensibilities into a remarkable live performance.

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