Sigur Ros’ eagerly awaited third album is to be released by Fatcat Records on October 28. Un-named and represented only by a symbol best described as a pair of brackets, the record contains eight songs, each of which is also untitled. The material is drawn from the live set the group have developed in the three years since the initial Icelandic release of their breakthrough album ‘Agaetis Byrjun’.
‘( )’ is the first Sigur Ros record to be made at Alafoss, the group’s converted swimming pool studio just outside of Reykjavik. It was recorded there between January and March this year and mixed at Real World in June and August, with co-producer Ken Thomas. It also features the group’s live string section amina throughout it s 70-minutes length.
‘( )’ is in many ways a rawer, more fragile record than its predecessor, with the band moving away from ‘Agaetis Byrjun’’s intense loveliness towards something starker and less obviously honed. For this reason it perhaps appears as more of a live record, although, paradoxically, it also sees them experimenting with samplers and the overall breadth of their sound more than ever before.
Sigur Ros are changing, that is apparent throughout the intense highs and lows of this strange and incredible record. What remains constant, however, is their unparalleled ability to draw on deep wells of emotion and beauty wordlessly. As before vocalist Jonsi Thor Birgisson only ever uses his other-worldly voice as another instrument in the band.
The CD and album artwork features close-up photographs taken by the band, which have been manipulated using natural materials.
Otherwise the sleeve will be largely featureless, with all credits posted on the sigur-ros.com website. The tracing paper CD booklet also contains only subtle designs and no text, with listeners invited to write or illustrate their own interpretations of Birgisson’s “Hopelandish” vocals and post them on the site. The idea is that the most oft-used words and phrases will then be recognised by a computer program on the site and “become” the lyrics. The CD will come in a special die-cut slipcase, while the double vinyl will also feature a special die-cut sleeve.
Sadly, because the recording of the new album took longer than anticipated, the band had to cancel their appearances at most of this Summer’s European festivals in order to make the Autumn release date. So it is with pleasure that they can announce they will be touring Europe throughout October, before taking off for America and then, briefly, Japan.