Song of the Day & Premiere: JFDR – Wires

photo by Matthew B. Thompson

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unrealeased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Wires”, by JFDR from the forthcoming album, Brazil, due March 17th on White Sun Records.

JFDR – Wires (MP3)Reykjavik’s arts and entertainment weekly, The Grapevine, may have had it wrong with they declared 2016 The Year of Jófríður, but only by one year. Sure, Icelandic songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jófríður Ákadóttir released two excellent albums last year with Samaris and Pascal Pinon, and made even more buzz as part of the “mysterious” super-trio Gangly, but it’s 2017 when her work as Iceland’s most productive musician (and that’s saying something!) should really pay off. Part of that acclaim will come from Gangly’s anticipated debut LP, which will undoubtedly make waves overseas, but, more so, next month Jófríður will release her first official solo project under the moniker JFDR.

Brazil finds Jófríður fully possessed of her creative powers, an artist confident in her trajectory yet still searching for new paths along the way. Encouraged by legendary multi-instrumentalist and co-producer Shahzad Ismaily (who’s worked with superstars like Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Tom Waits, and Yoko Ono), Jófríður spent two years writing material and recording in Shahzad’s own NYC studio. Fragile at times, and willful at others, the album explores the theme of leaving home and finding one’s place in the world. Jófríður explained, in-studio at KEXP last fall, that she named it Brazil because it was about as far away, geographically and climate-wise, as she could get from Iceland, in her imagination, at least. The songs, though, are grounded close to the heart.

“Wires”, today’s featured track, the album’s third single, is just such a one. It’s quieter than the contemplative “White Sun”, more sprawling than the trip-hop drummed “Airborne”, and more grounded than either. Sung barely above a whisper, the lyrics gently touch, like the bodies of two lovers whose passion flows like current, whether near or far. The song flows, too, along a dreamy guitar line that winds out of a pulsing programmed beat. All this from an analog inspiration. Says Jófríður of the song:

wires is the total and complete anthem to my first visit to new york, the beginning of that part of the journey, taking the leap and making the album without further ado.

in the process of making wires i learned about shahzad’s incredible intuition and abilities to play the mixing console like an instrument.

we ended up using one of the first mixes, that sparked from my requesting the song to be heavy on the drums.

there are still the 6 original vocal takes, all whispered as quietly as i could manage.

the lyrics i wrote on the spot, with shahzad waiting while i finished them. i took inspiration from the patch cables surrounding me and wires in the studio, morphing it into current events at the time and the surge of creativity and inspiration in my life that had just jumped up through the roof.

it was such a great time and wires still holds that feeling for me.

Feel the quickening of “Wires” as you listen to this exclusive premiere. Then, keep up with new music from JFDR through her website and Facebook page. You can hear more about the forthcoming album during her visit to KEXP last October:

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