KEXP at Iceland Airwaves 2013, Day 3: Ásgeir

Iceland Airwaves, Live Performances
Katy McCourt-Basham
photos by Morgen Schuler

Concluding the KEXP broadcast live at KEX Hostel for Iceland Airwaves 2013 is Icelandic singer-songwriter Ásgeir. His father is a poet and his brother a musician (in another Icelandic favorite, Hjatalin). He's not short on any of the family talent, and lucky for his listeners, an adolescent injury caused him to put down his athletic pursuits and concentrate on music.

He opened with "Higher", a song with featuring glitchy beats and delicate piano, his clear, angelic voice recalls Bon Iver's Justin Vernon. The next song, "Lupin Intrigue" featured sparse digitized beats, similar to UK artist James Blake. There was also live vocal manipulation on stage, sometimes reminiscent of  Imogen Heap. Swelled into a beautiful, building interlude, and an even bigger, instrument heavy breakdown. Glitchy beats and stark, woodsy singing make for an interesting rustic/contemporary combination.

"On That Day" was a more folky, acoustically-driven song. "Going Home" was a crowd favorite, a little darker and with heavier, more atmospheric instrumentation. The final two songs complimented each other beautifully. "Nú hann blæs" was slow and ethereal, textured and synthy, and even though non-Icelandic-speakers can't understand what he's saying, it's not hard to notice his striking poetry. "King & Cross," the set's last song was more dancey, and quite understandably a crowd favorite. A spectacular end to a very enjoyable Airwaves broadcast.

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