Whale Watching Tour

Over its lifespan, renowned Icelandic label Bedroom Community's diverse roster of artists have helped to shape each of the many genres that their work exists in. From the visceral, "haunting noise scapes" of Ben Frost, to the precise modern compositions of label founder Valgeir Sigurðsson's and co-founder Nico Mulhy, and the inimitable "apocalyptic folk songs" of Sam Amidon, rarely is one label such a reliable source of unmissable releases.

On stage, each artist will contribute to each other's songs (as is often the case on their records), with the result promising to be a seamless flow between highlights from each artist's catalogue (along with a few surprises, most probably from Sam Amidon who's performances are always wonderfully unpredictable). Joined by the quartet of Nadia Sirota (viola), Una Sveinbjarnadóttir (violin), Borgar Magnason (double-bass) and Helgi Hrafn Jónsson (trombone and vocals) this is a must see.

Tickets are given out free to festival ticket holders on a first come, first served basis at the media centre from Wednesday 2nd at noon.

Whale Watching Tour, Harpa Eldborg, Thursday 3rd, 20:00.

Bára Gísladóttir

"I like music to be a challenge, and I don't feel that everything needs to always be accessible."

2015's 'Different Rooftops', which paired double bass with tenor saxophone, electronics and vocal treatments ranging from guttural howls to angelic mezzo soprano (I nostril dei sono morti IV) certainly isn't always accessible. It is a listening experience quite unlike any other; equal parts challenging, uncomfortable and spellbinding, and quite beyond categorisation.

Bára Gísladóttir's new album BRIMSLÓD is, on first listen, quieter, more restrained and focused, but just as rewarding. Centred on Gísladóttir's experimental approach to the double bass here coupled with delicately positioned electronics and field recordings, the album "display's raw music in three movements that each represent a certain layer of the ocean."

Both albums manage to maintain an improvisatory character despite what is almost certainly a methodical compositional process, which bodes well for the transition to a live environment, as do reports that Gísladóttir sometimes lies down on stage behind her double bass during performances; should be an enthralling hour.

Bára Gísladóttir, Harpa Kaldalón, Saturday 5th, 21:50.


Kiasmos is the panoramic, minimal techno inspired duo of Icleand's Bafta award winning composer Ólafur Arnalds, best known for his emotive piano and string compositions, and Janus Rasmussen from electro-pop outfit Bloodgroup. Kiasmos sees them explore the space between Ólafur's largely acoustic compositions (although synths and electronics do make appearances) and Janus's synth-heavy electro pop.

With a tactile approach to the electronic aspects of their sound (the pair even replaced high-hats with the metallic grind of a lighter wheel turning on early single 'Thrown') and extensive live dates throughout the past year, this should be an energetic, yet immersive blend of precise rhythms, expressive synths and sweeping strings.

Kiasmos, Harpa Silfurberg, Friday 4th, 01:10.

múm & Kronos Quartet

For more than 40 years the Kronos Quartet have been committed to continually re-imagining the string quartet experience. Having performed with an impressive variety of artists from a variety of disciplines (David Bowie, Tom Waits, Amon Tobin and the poet Allen Ginsberg to name a few), this time they will be joined by Iceland's múm, whose own career story is similarly one of constant reinvention.

2013's Smilewound saw the return of original vocalist Gyða Valtýsdóttir and, whilst not quite matching the haunting and claustrophobic beauty of 2000's Yesterday Was Dramatic Today Is Ok (the last album Valtýsdóttir featured on), Smilewound still gives a lot of reasons to smile. Kronos Quartet's explorative strings should be the perfect partner for múm's unique blend of fractured rhythms, effervescent programming, delicate piano and wispy vocals.

Tickets are given out free to festival ticket holders on a first come, first served basis at the media centre from Wednesday 2nd at noon

múm & Kronos Quartet, Harpa Eldborg, Friday 4th, 21:50.

Ólöf Arnalds

One of múm's list of former members and described by Björk (whose own performance would also be on this list were the tickets not sold separately) as having a voice "somewhere between a child and an old woman", Ólöf Arnalds' voice is certainly her most distinctive asset. But there is much more to love in her delicate folk songs, not least her finger picked (and self taught) guitar playing which recalls both a down tempo 'Don't Think Twice It's Alright' Bob Dylan and the gentler output of Bert Jansch. 2014's Palme bolstered Arnalds' sound with various electronic elements, aiding its otherworldly nature without removing any of its charm.

Ólöf Arnalds, Fríkirkjan, Friday 4th, 22:00.