Venue: XOYO, London Support Bands: Amiina Date: 28/09/10 Icelandic collective Amiina offered up an hour long set of experimental ambience at new London venue XOYO on Tuesday night. Playing a set weighted with tracks from their latest release Puzzle their compositions; ranging from contemporary classical to minimal electronica, looped and layered an intriguing selection of instruments which successfully allowed the set to flow from beginning to end in an almost singular, seamless reel - with little interruption other than that of the claps and cheers from the enthusiastic audience. Having worked with the likes of Sigur Ros, performing as the string ensemble on the former's ( ) album and follow-up Takk, it is easy and perhaps even lazy to make the obvious likeness of Amiina's sound to that of other soundscape bands of Scandinavian decent. However the group that formed in the late 1990's as a female string quartet has expanded and grown to encompass an innovative and creative sound entirely their own. There is seemingly no instrument of the selection on stage that cannot be employed somehow, and while strings and laptop drum beats form the frame of the majority of compositions; accordion, glockenspiel, table harps, musical saws, vocals and megaphones all have an important role as they subtly eek in and out of the melodies. In the minimalist decor of XOYO, with the stage bathed in a cool blue light the set up perhaps connotes an isolated tranquillity to their sound, and while at times this can be clinical and cold - the metallic echo of a glockenspiel that is amplified in such a way so as to render it almost electronic, it is a hypnotic beauty that is entrancing rather than empty. The layers and threads of tune are like billowing sheets and plush clouds, creating a scene of dream-like serenity. Allowing yourself to ride along with the waves of ambience created was virtually impossible not to give in to, and with the introduction of new tracks that allow themselves indulgences in moments of reined in post-rock, the set is frequently charting peaks and troughs in pitch and tempo such that there is never a stagnant moment or a time when the prettiness and intricacies become inane and lull us to sleep.