In 2016, the Icelandic post-rock outfit Sigur Rós embarked a 24 hour journey around their home country's ring road, traveling around the entire country. They livestreamed the event, and using the stems from their song 'Óveður,' used generative software to create a soundtrack for this adventure. Sigur Rós' Route One experiment captures Iceland with technology, creating ethereal soundscapes that add mystery and wonder to their journey.
The new release of Route One whittles the 24 hours of music down to the most notable moments. Even these generated pieces of music fit in with Sigur Rós' very haunting demeanor. The tracks take their titles from the coordinates from stops along the route, '63º32'43.7"N 19º43'46.3"W' being the first stop. The haunting track paints the atmosphere perfectly, capturing the stylistically empty, droning nature of the album with ghastly flavor. Track four '64º08'43.3"N 21º55'38.8"W' has more of that ethereal sound that really feels like it swallows you whole.
Icelandic music is so powerful because it captures the mystery of the country, much like Route One does. There's a certain emptiness to it that just opens up a world of possibilities, which is a key to why track three, '64º02'44.1"N 16º10'48.5"W,' sounds otherworldly. In the simplicity, there's a very blissful emotion at the core of the song, giving it the sound of your soul leaving your body. Track five, '64º46'34.1"N 14º02'55.8"W,' and track six, '65º27'29.1"N 15º31'56.0"W,' build more off of those very pure feelings, building calm and peaceful atmospheres that truly put you at ease.
Sigur Rós' Route One experiment captures Iceland with technology, proving that even when their music is put through a program, it's still magic. It's quite an interesting concept, and even if there is a certain lack of humanity to it, it takes you on a mysterious journey through an equally mysterious place with vivid imagery to guide you.
Favorite Track: 65º27'29.1"N 15º31'56.0"W
Least Favorite Track: 63º47'36.2"N 18º02'16.9"W
Rating: 72 / 100
Stream or buy Route One on Apple Music, and follow our 2018 Playlist on Spotify: