Back in November 2018, KEXP took our annual trip to Reykjavik for the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival. Over the span of four days, we broadcasted live from the renowned KEX Hostel, streaming live video of performances from Icelandic artists and other acts from the festival lineup. We’ll be rolling out these videos over the weeks to follow. Today’s feature is of a collaborative set between President Bongo and composer Óttar Sæmundsen, billed as Les Aventures de President Bongo. Writer Dusty Henry reported:
The first set of our 2018 Iceland Airwaves couldn't have been more fitting with an expansive soundtrack that felt like the opening credit scroll to a film. Bodies packed the front of the stage, half of the crowd with beers in hand. The warmth of the room was a contrast to the harsh Icelandic winds barrelling outside across the water. The band's hypnotic crawl mirrored the gusting force. A slow build-up of Stephensen's synthesizer drones and Sæmundsen's low bass guitar hums started the set, with Böðvarsson's guitars adding an eerie, cryptic texture that rattled throughout the mix like lovely, creaky floorboards. It was at both times relentless and glorious, kicking off a continuous build that wouldn't let up until the end of their set. Bibí's vocals would come in bursts, a heady monotone hypnotically spouting monosyllabic words – words like "sad," "sexy," "sick," "lust," and "fucked." Even when she wouldn't utter words for minutes at a time, her stoic presence on the stage was commanding.
Recorded November 6, 2018.
Hosts: Kevin Cole & Cheryl Waters
Audio Engineers: Kevin Suggs & Eyvindur Þorsteinsson
Cameras: Jim Beckmann, Alaia D'Alessandro, Scott Holpainen & Matt Ogaz
Director & Editor: Justin Wilmore