Song of the Day: Högni – Komdu Með

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, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. This week, we are featuring songs by Icelandic artists performing at the 2017 Iceland Airwaves Music Festival, curated by Kevin Cole, host of The Afternoon Show on KEXP. Today’s song is Högni’s “Komdu Með” from the album Two Trains, which is available now via Erased Tapes.

Högni – Komdu Með (MP3)

Högni Egilsson has been a mainstay of Iceland’s deeply intertwined indie and electronica scenes, thanks to his work with both the rock-centric Hjaltalín and the long-running collective GusGus (the latter having dropped albums on both 4AD and Kompakt). Yet nothing in the singer-songwriter’s catalog quite prepares listeners for the shadowy, alien vibes permeating this year’s Two Trains, his solo debut for avant-garde stalwarts Erased Tapes Records.

Indicative of the concept album’s meditation on past and future (the set is actually dedicated to Minør and Pionér, locomotives used in early 20th-century Iceland), the song “Komdu Með” folds digital technology into older music forms. Church choir-like chants, muted piano, and classical strings, all of which evoke a rich sense of the archaic, gracefully weave their way through skittering, electronic percussion and fuzzy bass drops that seep their way into the skin. Egilsson, meanwhile, soars far above, utilizing a feathery falsetto. The song definitely taps a similarly moody sublime as ambient R&B composer FKA Twigs, or even post-dubstep tunesmith James Blake for that matter. At the same time, it’s deeply introspective, even insular, as if Egilsson has found a way to turn the hums and buzzes of his nervous system into a kind of bio-digital backing track.

Högni performs live at Reykjavik’s Kex Hostel, as part of KEXP’s Iceland Airwaves broadcast, on Friday, November 3, at 1:30 PM (PST). Watch live streaming video of his set on our Facebook page. And watch Högni perform today’s featured song live for Icelandic online series Les Frères Stefson.

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