KEXP Live at Iceland Airwaves 2017, Day 2: JFDR

Iceland Airwaves
Katy McCourt-Basham
Photos by Jim Bennett

It just wouldn’t be Airwaves without seeing one of Jófríður Ákadóttir’s many musical projects, and today we’re being treated to some of her new solo work, produced under the moniker JFDR, live from Kex Hostel in Reykjavík. A local songwriting prodigy, Jófríður has been playing music since she was 14, when she formed folk-pop band Pascal Pinon with her twin sister Ásthildur. From there, she expanded into new projects, like electronic duo Samaris (which even has Bjork’s stamp of approval) , and dream-pop band Gangly (which she shares with Sin Fang’s Sindri Már Sigfússon). This project under her own name was formed in 2016. Jófríður started her own label “White Sun” in order to release her 2017 record Brazil. The album draws from Jófríður’s varied musical backgrounds, from her early years in classical music, to the folk and electronic influences of her later projects. JFDR uses a blend of digital and analog to create lovely, meandering, cyclical songs.

Bleary-eyed fans packed Kex Hostel for the first performance of today's broadcast, and JFDR was right there with us. "It's early in the morning for a rock star," she joked as she was warming her voice. They opened with "Instant Patience" starting with gentle, spacey tones, sounding like something that would soundtrack a documentary about deep sea life. Jófríður sighed into her first timid notes, her mournful voice floating over the ebb and flow of the music.

Björk has mentioned that JFDR is one of her inspirations, and this project makes it clear that the admiration is mutual. Much like the iconic Icelandic musician, Jófríður'rs songs are evocative, creative, and deeply emotional. Her songs can be quite cathartic, but none more so than "Anything Goes" a heartbreaking song with sparse, tender instrumentation, her voice sounding so forlorn it sounded almost as if she was actually weeping. The audience was captivated, there was no doubt in anyone's mind that we were witnesses to something very special.

Next on the broadcast is Icelandic psych band Par-Ðar, join us at 3:30pm local time/8:30am PST/11:30am EST live on air or via our live video stream.

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