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Kurr


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Audio CD, June 19, 2007
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 19, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: 2007
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ever Records
  • ASIN: B000PHX11S
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,954 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Most music lovers first heard of Amiina due to their association with another Icelandic band called Sigur Ros. The girls started working with Sigur Ros in the mid 90's, resulting in their first shows with the band in 1999. The rest, of course, is history, as Amiina became the string players for all of Sigur Ros' subsequent tours and records.

Like the sound of cooing, aspects of Amiina's music flicker quietly and float softly, content and beautiful. Kurr is full of dazzling moments of that caliber, a wholly original work that is delicate, intricate and dream-like. Their music is genuinely so special, ineffably charming and infused with a sense of cosmic magic. It's certainly wielded that power on us.

Amazon.com

Amiina not only sound like Arvo Pärt in a music box, they actually play a music box. It's among the thrift-store instruments the Icelandic quartet employs, which include wine glasses, bowed saws, antique synthesizers, and--yes, even the violins, viola, and cello that they originally started with. We've been hearing Amiina for a few years now, adding strings and additional quirkiness to the last few albums by fellow Icelanders Sigur Rós. While Sigur Rós work in epic electric dimensions, Amiina work in the delicate spaces of fragile sounds and folk refrains. On Kurr, their first full-length album, they manage to be quaint and exotic, like a modern vision set in a dusty portrait from the past. Amiina's mixture of classicism and humor owes a debt to the Penguin Café Orchestra. But while the late Simon Jeffe's outfit had the air of erudite wit and debonair grace, Amiina are cuter, musically and visually. Like kids in the attic, they exude a more innocent, yet exploratory charm. Whether plucking pastoral electric guitar lines and singing a schoolyard chant on "Rugla," bowing saws and tapping glockenspiels on "Seoul," or actually playing their classical strings, Amiina enchant like a peek inside an elven gathering under the roots of Yggdrasil. --John Diliberto

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Felix Hayman on July 15, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Amiina (formerly amína) is a quartet from Iceland comprised of:
María Huld Markan - violin
Hildur Ársælsdóttir - violin
Edda Rún Ólafsdóttir - viola
Sólrún Sumarliðadóttir - cello
They are best known for their work as Sigur Rós' string quartet on the album known as ( ), as well as Takk... and re-arranged the string work on Ágætis Byrjun so that Sigur Rós could tour it.
Kurr is an eclectic work of great beauty where the simplest sounds become a real basis for making music. The melodies are incredibly simple, both elcetronic ad percussive but they make up a distinct sound somewhat like the music of Rae Howell's Australian group Sunwrae.The overall effect is hypnotic as well as being part of a new minimalism coming out of Northern Europe and Iceland.This is their second release but the first in this minimalist style. Well recommended
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Elevate Difference on September 4, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Take everything you love about Tom Waits' junykard orchestra and combine it with the elegance and beauty of Icelandic folk music. This is Amiina, the female quartet who will make you wonder why more musicians don't learn to play the saw. Their debut album, Kurr, (the Icelandic word for a bird's coo), is a 12-song lullaby on acid. It employs twenty instruments, each woman taking a turn at playing each instrument to achieve a multitude of unique sounds. Sparely used vocals add to the ethereal quality, and by the end you'll want both a mug of warm milk and an unfiltered cigarette.

Unlike most industrial music, their sound is rooted in the organic element of folk instrumentals, which lends a tender quality. The four bandmembers first gained recognition as the string backup for fellow Icelandic band, Sigur Rós. But these talented ladies, who first met at the Reykjavik College of Music as classically trained students, shine brightest when they have the spotlight to themselves. Their delicate attention to the subtleties of each instrument, and their perfect pitch and timing, betray their classical background. Kurr quickly rises above such limitations, to explore an atmospheric sound that conjures images of damp Icelandic winters, volcanic mountain ranges and rocky seaside cliffs.

Iceland is a magical land, at least that's what Bjork told me. Now, thanks to Amiina, I know it's true.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By EMO on September 2, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I first saw Amiina when they opened for Sigur Ros a while back. I was completely mesmerized by them as they played their "instruments" (like the saw on "Seoul"!), creating the unique, yet beautiful, sounds. I listen to this album a lot at work when I need to focus on something, yet want to listen to music. I'm a programmer, so this works out great for background listening.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 29, 2007
Format: Audio CD
WOW! We first heard them a few years ago open for Sigur Ros and they almost stole the show! We were so excited that they then played with the main act. This first CD is incredible...so delicate and magical yet very avant garde as well. This is a truly wonderful CD and a great addition to your collection, especially if you like different, experimental, magical and gentle music. ENJOY!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Trivisonno on October 22, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I grabbed this album on a whim and have to say I am really pleased with the leap of faith. Upon my first listen, I was afraid that band was just the middle ground between Mum and Sigor Ros, however, with each progressive listen this quartet sunk deeper into my brain.

The album has a really nice natural sound to it. It seems to me that all parts were hand played on an diverse range of analog instruments. It doesn't sound to my ears that they have any samples going on and I have say that this is one of the albums greatest strengths. It really feels like four people conversing musically with each other and responding in a very raw compelling way. It's all very beautiful and delicate.

If you like Mum, Sigor Ros, Bjork, Cocteau Twins or CocoRosie and the like- I imagine you will have a good time with album. I also recommend this for folks who like sound scaping things along the lines of Robert Fripp or fans of Miles Davis- In A Silent Way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Wes on August 23, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Leaving work one day I put this on. It had the instant effect of soothing the day's stress away. So calming and dreamlike. You'll look up and stare at the clouds and just feel like you're floating up there among them. Excellent for falling asleep to or anything that requires a tranquil setting. What a beautiful delight.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Karin Bartimole on November 25, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I happened upon Amiina's Kurr while looking for music to listen to after a recent surgery and am so happy I did. The music is playful, light, and lyrical while creating a tone of ethereal peacefulness. As an artist, I will surely use this music in my studio to support my creative practice as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DomFen on April 18, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This graceful piece has all the bells, strings, xylophone and chime influences which will catch you ears in a kind way. Its intense but soft musicality with seducing tones can induce you to remember Amelie's soundtrack: it has that instant classicality to it with high pitched almost naive and playful piano keys and steady violins. It is also haunting but not in a dark way, more in that grounded but light folk touch. It's at that edge where it avoids marshmallowy syrup, but it remains purely "musical" -not pop, nor rock, no vocals.
Amiina manage to guide you with grace through different types of instruments and their blending makes for one unique genre, agreeable in all, with an innocent vanilla like taste although it could be perceived to some as rather identical, one from the other song. I think the interest here it's the originality and calmness that breathes through as well as the playfulness of the whole: it does have the Iceland touch without the pretentiousness maybe of higher valued "stars" and other "rock" influences.
"Kurr" will fit into someone's collection who seeks to diversify and keep abreast of the current trends without falling into the pop-group-flavor-of-the-week syndrome.
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