Words by Eoin Comiskey
July 29th, 2016
On an unexpectedly hot and humid Irish night, three acts from a decidedly colder climate took to a makeshift stage in D-Light Studios. Here, they were met with warm receptions late this July, in an event that celebrated the musical ties between Ireland and Iceland.
As the blaring sun began to set over Dublin, the sweltering crowd arrived seeking refuge in the inner city warehouse-style studio and event space. Panting and gasping, smiling to one another at the hilarity of their discomfort, the crowd settled down with a chilly beer to enjoy the trifecta of musical treats which awaited.
As the first act of the night, Indriði, loped towards the performance area of the giant studio space, his physical appearance was the first of many surprises from the Reykjavík native. Wild blonde hair flowed about him and to the seated crowd his towering figure must have seemed gigantic. He modestly began a repetitive loop from his Fender guitar, some of the crowd assuming this was still a soundcheck. As the lo-fi loops continued and grew, the experimental nature of Indriði became apparent. Deep-throated Icelandic lyrics added a folk element to his performance. Like a Nordic King-Krule, he crooned and joked throughout his entire set. Reading his setlist from the back of a torn paper bag he muttered, “Now, where are we… Nah, let’s forget that one…”. And later, with the crowd’s attention, he exemplified the laidback nature of the evening’s Homebeat show by jesting about his loop-pedal in a very Icelandic and deadpan way – “Usually, I bring my laptop but now I can just use this little yellow box… Now how does it work?”
Continuing the night was JFDR, the solo project of Jófríður Ákadóttir A.K.A. one third of the melodic electronic act, Samaris. Her solo work is of a more stripped-down nature; fewer beats, samples and loops, and more strings, more sentiment, more space. She further perpetuated the evening’s laidback vibe with her nonchalant approach to performance. Her’s was a set filled with character, charm and personality. Think Cat Power, but replace the Southern swagger with calm delicacy and a touch of quirkiness. She joked about how nobody will believe her when she attributes her sunburn to Irish weather before singing a song about trying to focus on the beauty of Iceland when it can also be so harsh, encouraging the crowd to close their eyes and picture California as she did so.
As the set developed, JFDR was joined on stage by her touring friend who “can’t play keyboard”, Indriði, on guitar and backing musicians from Talos, including the percussionist. As he settled down behind his drum kit, accepting her public invitation to perform “karaoke on drums”, she quickly explained to him how the song works – a song he apparently had never heard before. Her entire set followed this same charming vibe of let’s just see what happens, enjoy ourselves and have some fun.
The evening’s grand finale came in the form of Talos, the electronic music of Cork native, Eoin French. Consistently gaining notoriety over the last few years, French’s music exists in misty landscapes, drenched with atmosphere and bounding forth in a constantly epic slow motion. The highly polished production of his anthems comes through in recordings but truly shines in a live performance. A total of six musicians, complete with percussionist and cellist, filled the giant space with pop hooks, organic percussions and full, vast synths. The pure volume of sounds was overwhelming at first but nothing was lost in the soothing noise, nothing was superfluous. The apex was French’s quivering and sailing voice; distinctive and unique. It is the key ingredient which sets Talos aside in the category of being ‘something special’. Your Love Is An Island slowly ensnared the attention of the crowd from sparse beginnings and led them towards a satisfyingly rich peak; hairs raised on the backs of sweaty necks by the touchingly beautiful In Time; and the militant radar bleep of Tethered Bones searched for something unknown, finding a rapt audience sweaty, hot and lost in the sounds of Talos.
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