Art & Culture

A little Jónsi magic


I recently had the pleasure of hearing Jónsi (of Sigur Rós fame) perform live at the Paradiso here in Amsterdam. I am not a music critic, and so it’s difficult for me to write about the performance without resorting to what may seem to be clichéd language: transcendent, sublime, stunning – but it was all those things.

I have long been a Sigur Rós fan, and had no doubt after a cursory listen online that the latest solo effort by their lead singer, Jónsi, would be to my taste exactly. That said, it is important to note the differences: Jónsi sings in English, not Hopelandic; the attack and decay happens faster, with only traces of the Takk-era Sigur Rós slow crescendos. It’s beautiful music that deserves multiple listens. In the concert environment, Jónsi was appropriately taciturn between songs, and the performance of the songs themselves was impeccable.

The visuals, which were equally what I was there to see if I am to be completely honest, were in such stunning synergy with the music that it was breathtaking. As you’ll see in the behind-the-scenes video I’ve embedded below, the 59 Productions team worked closely with Jónsi after all his songs were finished, to create a “visual track” to go along with his music. However, it is so much more than that. The animations are emotionally resonant, full of richness and compelling in their own right. The combination of potent visuals and stirring song leads audiences directly into lump-in-throat territory.