KEXP Live at Iceland Airwaves 2016, Day 2: Axel Flóvent

Photos by Jim Bennett

Second on today’s broadcast live from KEX hostel at at Iceland Airwaves Music Festival was Icelandic singer-songwriter Axel Flóvent. Axel has achieved recent international prominence after years playing in his hometown of Húsavik (a small fishing village in the north of Iceland), and all around his native Iceland. He released his debut EP Forest Fires last year, and followup single “Your Ghost” this summer. His music is of an indie-folk variety one would more often associate with the Pacific Northwest than with Iceland, and while it doesn’t share the same gut-punching drama as, say, a Sigur Rós song, it holds true to the things that make Icelandic music so desirable, especially in its lofty cinematic quality. His voice is gentle and soothing, the music like a cold night spent wrapped in your softest blanket. 

The crowd filtered in, buzzing with excitement as Axel Flóvent prepared to perform. He opened with “Silently,” with delicate drumming like fat raindrops on an iron roof and a climactic chorus, the band sounded mighty big on that small stage. Faintly uptempo with spangly guitars and distorted, saw-like accents, the real standout of the performance was his 2016 single “Your Ghost.” Though his music is rather solemn, his set was beatific, putting a smile on every face in the room. With beautiful harmonies, glistening guitars, and a plethora of melodic oohs and ahhs—Axel’s sound strikes a delicate balance between polished and rustic, making engaging folk music that speaks to a life spent near the sea.

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