2011 best EP’s and music discoveries (and disappointment)

So I’ve done my top 10 list for Icelandic and foreign albums. But there is other great music that came out last year, and other music I first discovered last year that I wanna share 🙂

Best EP’s:

   #1  Ikea Satan – White Cat Blues

 

 I just love Ikea Satan and all their work! Their music is similar to The White Stripes (one of my favourite bands), and Pétur Úlfur, Ikea Satan’s frontman, also reminds me of Jack White in that sense that all music that he does I find brilliant!

#2 Samaris – Hljóma þú(EP)


 These young musicians won Músiktilraunir 2011, the Icelandic ‘battle of the bands’ competition for young artists. And as so many that have won that competition, Samaris are very talented and I believe that this album is just the beginning. I listened to their song, Góða tungl, most often of all songs on gogoyoko last year. I can listen to their music in so many moods wheather I’m chilling, working are partying!

Best discoveries:

I listened a lot to these following bands last year. They didn’t publish any album then, but I first discovered them in 2011.
#1 Puscifer

This is my top artist for last year! Puscifer is a side project of Maynard James Keenan from the bands Tool and A Perfect Circle, both bands I love (especially Tool). I’ve only listened to two of his albums, “Conditions of my parole” and “V is for Vagina” and they are both awesome! And yeah I pirated them, but his albums are not available in Iceland, so I’m planning of ordering some of his stuff on the interweb. His music is like Tool meets Massive Attack, a really good combo.

#2 The Cave Singers


 Yes I’m a sucker for good indie folk music and The Cave Singers are there on the top! I just noticed the bands name (because it reminded me of Nick Cave) when we got the Beggars group content on gogoyoko this year, and decided to check them out. I don’t regret that and have been listening to their albums ever since and they never grow tired!

#3 Forest Swords


  Yet another music wonder I’ve discovered on gogoyoko! Forest Sword’s music is magnificent, haunted and dreamy and gets you in the mood for whatever you are yearning for.

 

 

#4 Kylesa

Kylesa are this awesome sludge metal band that have won me over! They posses so much depth and variety (and they have a woman as a guitar player – how awesome)! “Static Tensions” is my favorite album by them as it is, but I have yet to check out some of their older albums. Lucky me to have something exciting to wait for 😉

Last and least, my disappointing album of the year:

The Middle East – I Want That You Are Always Happy

  I discovered the folk band The Middle East when I saw them perform at Eurockennés festival the summer of 2010 and they totally won my heart. Their debut album “The Recordings of the Middle East” is an outstanding album, with the songs “The Darkest Side” and “Blood” very close to my heart. I had been waiting since then for their next album that finally came last spring. It’s ok but it just plays through without you noticing it :/ I haven’t given up on them though, I put “I Want That You Are Always Happy” on every now and then, trying to get into it, but maybe I just have to wait for their next album. Let’s hope that will also blow me away as their first one  did.

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Top 10 foreign albums

Here are my Top 10 foreign albums! Tomorrow comes my last music post in this 2011 music trilogy, stay tuned 😉

#1 tUnE-yArDs – W H O K I L L

I missed tUne-yArDs at Iceland Airwaves, the line was just way too long, and after almost 2 hours wait in the wet and cold to see Beach house last 5 songs, I wasn’t up for another one… I’m stilled a bit pissed.. But I got to see Ham instead which was also awesome. I first discovered tUne-yArDs this year and I just love her, awesome album just as the rest of her work!

 

#2 Fleet Foxes – Helplessness blues

 

I had been waiting very excited for this album and hear how they would follow up their magnificent first album, Fleet Foxes.Their first single of their second album, Helplessness blues, was just wonderful. The whole album didn’t convince me at first, but suddenly I realized I had come to love it.

 

 

 

#3 Black Keys – El Camino

This album is not their best one. But Black Keys are one of my favorite bands and every single album they have produced is great. I only started to listen to El Camino a couple of weeks ago and I’ll probably come to love it more and more like all their other music. I can’t get enough of their rough old style blues/rock music!

 

#4

 Masala – Inny Świat

 (Remix Album)

 

 

 

I saw this band perform live in Warsaw in September as a part of the social program at the CC-summit and they blew my mind. It’s hard to describer their music, you really just have to listen to them. But trying to put it down to words; Masala is a fusion of ethnic indian music, polish hip hop and electronic music… and the result is just magnificent! You’ll never get bored listening to Masala!

 

 

#5 Iron and wine – Kiss Each Other Clean

I first discovered Iron and Wine this year (as so many other older bands) and their newest album is very professional, yet with honest feeling. I love to sing a long with their music 🙂

 

 

 

#6 Weedeater – Jason… the Dragon

mmmm…stoner/desert metal.. one of my favourite music genres! Jason… The Dragon is the best album I’ve heard in that genre last year!!

 

 

 

#7 Low Roar – Low Roar

A beautiful beautiful album by Low Roar – a project of Ryan Karazija, formerly of Audrye Sessions (Black Seal). He lives in Iceland and I can’t wait to get the chance to see him perform live! This album just gets better and better with each listening

 

 

 

#8 Dillon -This Silence Kills

This album kills! …well maybe not, it’s too soft for that, but it’s really good if you wanna listen to some soft, comfortable, good music. Lovely voice and all in all very pleasant… except there’s one song that I just can’t listened to because of some added high pitch noise added in the middle of the song Undying Need To Scream!

 

#9 Black Cobra – Invernal

Ohh I love gogoyoko so much for music discovery! Southern Lord is a great metal label, and on their gogoyoko label page I discovered Black Cobra when their album was released! Fast,heavy and tight sludge metal!

 

 

#9 Alexander – Alexander

A very jolly and feel good album from Alexander Ebert, the frontman of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. I got kinda bored after a while though (hmm I’m seeing some strange connection here with jolly music and me getting bored..), but it’s coming up again in my charts! 😉

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Top 10 Icelandic Albums 2011

What is a better way to start the new year than contemplating on last’s years music?! So here it is, MY Music Top Lists 2011! 🙂 This music year was exceptionally good in Iceland so I’m starting off with my top 10 Icelandic albums. More to come tomorrow 🙂

Top 10 Icelandic albums:

#1 Ham – Svik, harmur, dauði

After many years of waiting,Ham published a new album. They haven’t forgotten a thing and are as powerful and dark as ever!( I actually had a hurting neck for many days after too much untrained headbanging at Ham’s act at Iceland Airwaves). I love all the songs, the lyrics are outstanding and the album in a whole is a masterpiece!

 

 

 

#2 Mugison – Haglél

This is Mugison’s first album sung in his native language, Icelandic. He won over the nation – and me! I think every family in Iceland should have one Mugison, he’s just wonderful. 🙂

 

 

 

#3 FM Belfast – Don’t want to sleep

I’ve been waiting for their second album in some time, FM Belfast is the best live dance act in Iceland (referring to an earlier post), and they didn’t disappoint me. This has been my jogging soundtrack all summer, it gives me power(though I often had to stop myself from singing a long while jogging…that doesn’t function very well). Love this album! 🙂

 

 

# 4-7 Sin Fang – Summer Echoes

 

Sin Fang’s first album, Clangour, is one of my all time favorites so I had high expectations. It took a couple of listenings,but I came to love this album almost as much as Clangour.

 

 

 

#4-7 Hermigervill – Leikur fleiri íslensk lög

 

What can I say, what’s more awesome than an 8-bit like, electronic version of classic Icelandic songs?! He did it great with Leikur íslensk lög, and he did it again. Hermigervill always puts a smile on my face and rhythm in my body 🙂

 

 

# 4-7 Sóley – We Sink

 

Sóley’s first solo album is so phenomenal! Soft songs that touch you to the bone and never seize to surprise you! She’s very original,and I have to say I love the solo-projects that sprung from Seabear much more then the band (even though they are good).

 

 

#8 Of Monsters and Men – My head is an animal

Earlier this year, Of Monster’s and Men first album would have been in my top three. I listened to them too much and got kinda bored of it(they were also played on the radio too much). I think I have to see them live again, they charmed me away when I first heard them live. I have believe in these young musicians and look forward to hear more from them.

 

 

#9 Skálmöld – Baldur

This album is really professional work. Great storyline, great lyrics, great music and great cover. Their performance at Eistnaflug this year was one of the best there. I’m looking forward to watch their progress

 

 

10 Plastic Gods – Plastic Gods

Plastic Gods might not be prominent in the mass media in Iceland, but they are very prominent in the metal scene! I really liked their old stuff and their new album is just as good,if not better. They’re so heavy, I just go in a zone listening to them. They’re one of my all time favorite doom/sludge metal bands in the world.

 

 

Other Icelandic albums I like and have listened a fair share to last year are: Nology by Nolo, Jukk by Prinspóló, Winter Sun by Snorri Helgason and Russian Bride by Varsjárbandalagið.

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Do you wanna eat meat from an animal that suffered?

Here’s a great article (in Icelandic) by Sif Traustadóttir veterinarian about the factory farming in Iceland and what we can do as consumers to change these awful life conditions for the animals. She also appeared in Silfur Egils if you can’t bother to read 😉

 

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Food Incorporated

I’ve been a piscotarian now for 2 years now, i.e. vegetarian plus I eat seafood. The reasons for it are many; At the time I had subconsciously started to cut down in meat because I loved vegetarian food for it’s taste and it felt better for my digestion and energy. I always thought it would be cool to try it out sometime and when I met my friend Jake, who’s a vegetarian, for the first time when he was visiting Iceland I got inspired to finally do it. There are very few vegetarians in Iceland, and even fewer vegans (I don’t know anyone personally and we don’t even have an Icelandic word for vegan and believe me, in Iceland we have Icelandic words for pretty much everything). I found out that I began to eat healthier and with more variety. I also started to be more interested in the environmental and animal care aspects of it as a result and have been reading a lot  about the Slow Food movement, permaculture and more.

Meat production includes extensive use of natural resources, contribute to air and water pollution, and “Animals fed on grain need more water than grain crops. In tracking food animal production from the feed through to the dinner table, the inefficiencies of meat, milk and egg production range from a 4:1 energy input to protein output ratio up to 54:1.The result is that producing animal-based food is typically much less efficient than the harvesting of grains, vegetables, legumes, seeds and fruits for direct human consumption.” (wikipedia)
Then we also have the animal care side of it. Today we live in the illusion that our meat comes from happy farms with happy animals, but the cold fact is that most often it isn’t so. Industrialization of agriculture has lead to this mass production lines of meat where the animal is just another product and the goal is to make more meat, faster and cheaper. If you haven’t seen Food Inc. I recommend you do to get some reality check.

I could go on and on about the things that disgust me in Food Inc. Like the total lack of any emphasy towards the animals, the workers or consumers by the companies, the corruption in the government towards these issues, the patents on GMOs is really frightening (and Monsanto again gets the price of being the most inhuman and unethical company in the world). Just how the animals are treated made tears come to my eyes…

I’ve been wanting to believe that things are better in Iceland. We have this clean energy and nature, maybe all our farming is organic as well? Well, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that sadly that’s not the case… but most Icelanders still live in this happy farming myth. And the worst part is, that we don’t have many alternatives from this factory farming. All pork in Iceland comes from these factories where the pig mum never sees it’s piglets and can’t even move. The piglets grow up in a contained area, the male piglets are castrated without anesthesia and often their tales are cut of to prevent infection. When there is an infection the piglet is shot with anti-biotics, that have been found to be contaminating to humans who eat the meat. All chicken farming is factory made as well, where they’re grown with these big breasts and so fast that they’re body can often not keep up so they can’t even stand in the small cages the live in. Many of this sounds familiar if you’ve watched Food Inc. And even though the farming in the US can be even more cruel, the whole food system more corrupt and less workers ethics, there is at least a very good organic market there as well. In Iceland we can buy “environmental friendly” eggs, where the chickens can move around, but they still never see the sunlight and not very pleasant environment. At some farmers market sometimes you can buy eggs from the oldest chicken breed in Iceland (Landnámshænur) and they come from the few original farms we have left. The cow farming is better, though we have no organic cow farming, and of course the Icelandic lamb is pretty organic, it lives out on mountains for almost all it’s life span. Still most Icelandic farmers rely heavily on chemical fertilizer and oil so most of it is not certified organic, but we still have a market for that.

I recently got this wanting for meat (it’s maybe the third time it has happened during my 2 meatless years) and I’ve decided to start eating Icelandic lamb again. Just once in a while, I could never eat meat every day, because of all the combined reasons above.

Here’s the chicken who lay our  brown “environmental friendly” eggs:

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FSCONS part II

So Sunday at FSCONS right…

After lunch there was the keynote speech by Christina Haralanova. She talked about hacktivists and how important FSCONS was to bring all these people together and share ideas and activities. It was nice, a bit of a pep talk, and kinda strange to hear a talk about the conference you are attending, while attending it. 🙂

Eleanor Saitta talked about a project she and Smári worked on regarding the reviewing of the Icelandic constitution. They decided to try using analytic techniques, used in security and related spheres, on the law! Very cool idea and they found some bugs of course. Hopefully they’ll post the results and more info on the technique at their website.

Last but not least, Mathias Klang was great as ever. Now talking about if anonymity is possible. He raised a lot of interesting questions and pointed out that Internet companies and government were using the Salami Tactic, taking a little slice by slice of our right to privacy, so little at the time we don’t care. But one day we could wake up and realize we don’t have any privacy online at all. Another great point he made, was about Information Junk Food. All over the Internet we get advertisements (and info from Google) that are tailored to our interest. Or rather our interest as THEY see it. But what happens when all we see is something we already have interest for, the same way as would happen if we would only eat junk food. It’s not healthy for us and we won’t get to evolve as human beings anymore! Mathias also had a couple of interesting quotes from the man who controls our identity and social life online, Mark Zuckerberg: “A Squirrel Dying In Your Front Yard May Be More Relevant To Your Interests Right Now Than People Dying In Africa”. Nice right? And another: “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.” If w think on that for a moment, we all show different identities to different people. You don’t act the same way with your family, teachers and your friends. And that’s the way society rules works and expect of you. There’s always a social context we have to think about. But Zuckerberg doesn’t think so, let’s have everything out there for everyone. If there’s believe left that facebook will care about one’s privacy, it’s gone… But what can WE do about this? Well I do use facebook even though I have a real problem with their ethics, but I try to be critical and I don’t put all my personal life out there. And hopefully I WILL quit facebook some time. I thought Google+ was a better choice, just because out of these companies I like Google better, not that their approach to the Social Media differs much from Facebooks. But then I realized the other day that Google knows SO MUCH about me, through all their endless applications I use… and now I’m giving them my social/friend info as well?? That’s very concerning.

All in all FSCONS was great! 🙂 The one thing I missed this year was to have some social gathering outside the venue. Somehow just changing venues get different people to talk and be more relaxed. But thanks to the fire alarm at Lindholmen, we were forced to leave the venue (and btw I think I have never even stood up before when a fire alarms starts in Iceland, so to have to stand outside for an hour before even getting permission to get our coat was a completely new experience for me) and that evening was one of the best times I had (and the morning after, waking up after 2 hours sleep to catch the train, was not one of my best times…).

Thanks to all the people behind FSCONS and all the volunteers, you did a great job 🙂

p.s. here’s an example of the Salami tactic(from Yes Prime Minister)!:

 

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FSCONS

After 8 hours delay of our flight with Iceland Express to Copenhagen, me and Björgvin finally got there and just caught the last bus to Gothenburg and arrived at 2:30 A.M., the night before FSCONS. A friend of a friend was so kind to let us use his couch for the whole trip. Thank you Arnar!

We woke up fresh on Friday morning and showed up 9 A.M. for a workshop about basic data security. It was fun, of course a lot of it was basic (as the title implies) but it was fun using wireshark, encrypting files, talking about shredding and of course pgp. Per’s slides can be found here. Me and Björgvin then went to a café with our new made Greek friend, Dion Papas, or Dennis as we called him and met up with maloki and other hackers. I pretended to be doing sth, but I was in fact just catching up and chatting. It was fun 🙂 The official opening of the conference was that Friday night, and it was great to see familiar faces and new ones 🙂

During the Saturday I pretty much stayed at the Future of Money track, except when Peter Sunde’s talk was supposed be, but he was sick, so we went to see Claudia Rauch talking about how to run successful sprints. It was fine, nothing much new, but inspired me to organize some event with Hakkavélin soon (and we are now having our annual meeting and Jólaglögg(Icelandic Christmas punch) in a couple of weeks). Nikolay Georgelev talked about Open Source Ecology, which I think is really cool, and I’m really looking forward to follow their progress. They have a OSE farm in the US, and  are now planning on another one in Spain. This 6 min TED talk explains the vision behind this very well. To sum it up the project is about open-sourcing the blueprints for farm machines, allowing anyone to build their own tractor or harvester from scratch. Next up was Ripple, a project about building a new kind of monetary system based on trust. The idea sounds cool, but in practice it’s about lending money to your friends (and ppl you trust), which I don’t think is that great idea in the end 😛 I really loved the next talk, Marco Sachy talking about the Dyndy project. I can’t easily explain what Dyndy is, but if I try, I would say they’re getting people to think differently about the monetary system, and giving us ideas and tools to use and build upon. They are inspired (at least to some extent) by Bernard Lietaer, who’s a great visioner and I have had the pleasure to attend his talk (see my older post). This youtube video Marco showed is very concerning and everyone has to see: EU: Treaty of debt (ESM) – stop it now! Smári closed the session with his interesting talk about cryptocurrencies and taxation. His question was, can we have welfare if cryptocurrencies gain a momentum, with no tax involved?

The most interesting talks on Sunday was Kyrah’s talk: The revolution will not be televised! (But will it be on YouTube?). Was  social media and the Internet as important in the Middle-Eastern revolution as some people have said? Well, it was used a lot to plan protests in Tunisia and Egypt. But what happened when Egypt turned off their Internet? It had the opposite effect Mubarak thought, people just became more engaged in their revolution! Syria “surprisingly” opened up access to Facebook and Twitter earlier this year…well after at first the Syrian people felt pleasantly surprised, they realized that it was just a tool to monitor the citizens. So social media yes helped to spread the word, especially to people in the Western countries, but the revolution was by the people, not the internet. In Libya, NATO intervened Gaddafi’s massacre of his people, but Russia and China won’t allow that to happen in Syria. Russia has a naval base in Syria, and is not gonna give it up… There’s maybe not much we can do to help the people in Syria, but what we can do is running Tor nodes since Tor is one of the few things that is not censored there.

To be continued…

 

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FSCONS and more

I’m going to FSCONS on Thursday! I went last year and it was just so awesome 🙂 Lots of interesting talks, and lots of great people. Some of them are my good friends today 🙂

Yesterday I went to our newly started weekly FSFÍ meeting at at the café in Mál og Menning, Laugavegur. We talked and planned action about open wifi’s that intercept SSL communication and if the phone companies, Vodafone and Síminn, will allow use of other hardware/software to receive their TV broadcast.

In this sprint at work I’ve enhanced the search (try now to type “Prins Póló” when searching for Prinspóló :P) and started developing for the gogoblaster (our Android app), so user can download all his library to his phone .

I’m preparing a talk about Creative Commons at a OER conference in Reykjavik in 2 weeks. I’m apparently the first speaker, after the prime minister finishes his introduction to the conference!

Oh, and if you wanna support meaningful change in the music industry, please signup for subscription on gogoyoko! 😉 For only 5€ a month, you can get ad-free gogoyoko.com, unlimited playlists with unlimited songs, access to the full version of our Android app and surprise gifts! These 5€ pays 40% to artist based on their streaming and 10% charity.

Ciao!

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Storm – beat poem by Tim Minchen

I first saw Tim Minchin’s standup in a nice apartment in Oslo this March. I was in Oslo giving a talk about IMMI at GoOpen, an open source conference. The conference was nice, but very business orientated. The last conference I was at before that was FSCONS, and GoOpen was totally different experience; no social events, standing lunch, people in suits, no one starting a conversation to an unknown etc… The highlights for me were Simon Phipps talk about Open Source: “Freedom is an ethical issue. Corporation are incapable of ethics. Corporation pretend to be interested in software freedom but are only capable of open source.” – and Pippa Buchanan‘s talk about Mozilla Drumbeat and all the cool projects Mozilla is supporting. Some people are just made to give talks and take you away with them 🙂

But yeah, back to Tim Minchin and this nice apartment in Oslo… as always, the greatest thing about going to a conference like GoOpen was meeting the people. This conference I didn’t get to know many people (because of the whole setting of the thing) but the ones I did get to know and spend some time with were great! 🙂 I was with my friends Stian and Smári, and they knew this Norwegian guy( who’s name is completely stolen from my mind right now… ) and he shared an apartment in Oslo with his completely adorable Philippines girlfriend AND also had an Icelandic girl as a roommate (oh how the world is so small, especially when you’re from Iceland!) and we spent some time there discussing politics and society (and eating delicious microwaved chocolate delicacies). I first heard about The Corporation there (and that documentary is definitely a MUST SEE) and heard about Tim Minchin! He’s this cute, funny, red haired, eye-maked up, kinda crazy looking, piano playing, stand-up comedian. And he’s great 🙂 To keep a long blog post short, here is my favorite clip by him:

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The sun also rises

I watched the new Woody Allen movie on Friday, Midnight in Paris. It’s very good, even though I’m not a particular Woody Allen fan. It’s message is that you’ll always think past times were greater than you are experiencing, and you should never settle but go with your heart. As an inspiration from the film, that partly takes place in the “Golden Age” of 1920’s in Paris, I started to read Ernest Hemingway’s first novel, The sun also rises, and finished it just now.

I realized I haven’t actually read any of Hemingway’s work before so it was about time. The sun also rises is a beautiful novel, the scene is Paris and Spain, a group of people are drinking, eating, exploring life, and of course are in love. Unfortunately most of the male characters are in love with the same woman.

Even though the novel is written in the 1920’s I could deeply relate to the characters. That’s what defines great literature, that people will forever relate to it so it lives on.

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