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Valtari (LP+MP3)

4.5 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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Vinyl, May 29, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

In English Valtari translates as "steamroller" and there is something right about the title in terms of the process of its creation. The last three tracks of Valtari are like one long slow gorgeous fade out, as the listener, having been softened up by the slightly more "song-y" start to the album, is left with the subtly shifting, deep introspective beauty of the last 24 minutes. After that, penultimate track, Valtari is like the far heart of the album; eight minutes that feel like being alone in row boat on a chill day.
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Product Details

  • Vinyl (May 29, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: XL Recordings
  • ASIN: B007OWG3L2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,891 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: MP3 Music
It's been 4 years since the last Sigur Ros album and for a while fans wondered if we'd ever get to hear it. But since then we've received the fantastic live album Sigur Rós: Inni­ (Blu-Ray + 2 CD) and now, yet another masterpiece, Valtari. Like their previous albums, this is a hushed back, subtle-vocal work that transcends mind and genre. Listening to Sigur Ros is like experiencing a reverse hangover. It is peaceful, relaxing, imaginitive, inspiring..a journey. I really don't know how else to describe it.

It should also be noted that any Sigur Ros album is an ALBUM, meaning you should really listen to it from beginning to end, no skips or rewinds. It is a narrative of sorts, and should be experienced that way. That being said, I have to point out that Varúð and Fjögur píanó are two stand-out tracks worthy of the admission price alone. Varúð especially. That is one of the greatest songs I've heard in years. I love every song, but those are the stand-outs in my opinion.

OVERALL: If you're a longtime fan of Sigur Ros, prepared to be pleased. If you're just getting in on the game, Valtari is as great of a place to start as any. Newbies might also want to check out the song Saeglópur - it's another one of my favorites.

ENJOY! :)
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
My first impression of the new album Valtari by Sigur Ros was underwhelming to say the least. I fired myself up to write a three star review and complain about the sad decline of the once brilliant Icelandic band. After my first listen, I agreed with fans who described the music as pretty but uninspiring. This, coming from artists who invented a genre of emotional music as moving and innovative as any created.

I was determined to have the music on the new disc move me with the same impact I felt from Agaetis Byrjun,() and Takk. I kept anticipating the barren cold textures, the unexpected sweeping turns and finally, the breathtaking climaxes (the "I need a cigarette kind!") It never happened; what a disappointment.

Then something else happened...After an extremely tiring yet pleasurable surf session, I decided to try Valtari again. Exhausted, I closed my eyes and listened without expectations. By the second track, Ekki Mukk, I felt as if a door had been opened. Next, Varuo completely took me over (tears escaped my closed eyes.) I started seeing colors. I felt as if I was still in the Pacific riding waves. The music, just like surfing, had picked me up and moved me. In the ocean, one can not make a wave. When listening to Sigur Ros, the listener can't make the music move them.

My assessment: The first five tracks pour in, a liquid steamroller. Jonsi's vocals rise and fall like an ocean wave. The final three songs are mostly instrumental and lovely, almost like one merging outro. These last three, a sailboat riding the tide out and taking the listener to relative safety of the sea. The soft ending is welcome after the beauty and glory by the shore.

Please excuse the dramatic metaphors; I know it sounds pretentious. But every word and sound rings true for me. So please, long-time fans, give the record a chance; don't compare it to their storied past. Newbies: just get on board and enjoy the ride...
4 Comments 59 of 66 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
"Valtari" is the latest Sigur Rós album, and it is their most laid-back to date comprising pastoral choral pieces. Listening to this is akin to floating on a calm ocean. Everything flows into the next, making this an album to be experienced as a whole, a far cry from lead vocalist Jónsi Birgisson's 2009 solo debut "Go" which was more upbeat and electronic.

Standouts include the tender piano/string "Varúð" with Jónsi's ethereal vocals juxtaposed against an ornate soundscape with strings and harmonies ascending to a skyscraping climax. Awesome and enthralling, my favourite. "Rembihnútur" is a gently ascending number with Jónsi coming in midway, while "Dauðalogn" is like a Hymn. Jónsi sings on the first 5 tracks, while "Varðeldur", "Valtari", and "Fjögur píanó" (the latter with delicately tinkling keys) are largely instrumental with Jónsi's harmonies adding instrumental tone on some.

The music is dense and requires time for everything to come into focus, but once it does, there's no letting go.
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Format: Audio CD
I'm a fan of Sigur Ros' more mellow work, the songs that tend to meld into themselves to create a cohesive album vs a "song oriented" album. With that said, "Agaetis.." and "Med Sud.." are my least fav; "( )" and "Valtari" are my favs. "Takk" is a pretty good meld of the two faces of SR, prob 3rd on my list.

I love the fact that they didn't simply churn out another album with the usual post-rock conventions, as other reviewers have mentioned; even though they would've done a fine job I'm sure. The whole "build-up to a beautiful crescendo that overflows into shimmering bliss" is great, but predictable after the genre's been around for 10 years and then some.

For "Valtari" it seems the band went into it with a creative, more experimental idea in mind. There are lots of layered sounds, parts that've been slowed down, etc. It's as if Jonsi brought the idea for he & Alexs' "Riceboy Sleeps" (dreamy soundscapes) album and SR decided to do a similar thing, but actively use more studio manipulation to bring the atmosphere closer to the intended emotional response. Usually I can smell the stench of studio tinkering a mile away, and it distracts/detracts from the music; not here in the least, however--the puzzle is complete in all its airy-but-full, "small-feel" glory. It all creates a floating feeling that isn't jarring to the ears in the least; although many will likely complain that it's nothing more than a sleep aid. I'm also partial to ambient music, so my likings may be explained there.

"Valtari" also really grasps the feelings in some of the sets/stages in the "Heima" DVD, with more intimacy in the playing than I've heard in any of their other releases. Liked it so much I had to get the double LP.
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Valtari (LP+MP3)
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