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Sigur Rós

Sigur Rós (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈsɪːɣ̞ʏr ˌroːus] ( listen)) is an Icelandic avant-rock band from Reykjavík, who have been active since 1994. Known for their ethereal sound, frontman Jónsi's falsetto vocals, and the use of bowed guitar, the band's music incorporates classical and minimal aesthetic elements. The band is named after Jónsi's sister Sigurrós Elín.

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The ways in which a band is influenced and encouraged to create music affects the way listeners experience and react to that music. There is a certain mystery and pureness about the nature of Iceland that Sigur Ros responds to and therefore imitates through their music. The organic sound that they create is minimalistic like black sand, but it builds with great intensity to something extraordinary like a rushing waterfall. Through their music one feels a sense of peace; the kind of peace that nature can bring. The ambient and ethereal atmosphere they create through unique innovation and instrumentation puts many people at ease. The genre of the band is labeled as post-rock, but it often sounds orchestral as well. They are considered to be a rock band because they use instruments like guitars, basses and drums that are associated with rock bands. Even though they’re post-rock, their sound is also described as being ambient because they use synthesizers and beautiful timbres to create a wonderful atmosphere. It’s what Sigur Ros does with their instruments and tools which make them original and enjoyable. They often play their guitars with violin bows, Jonsi sings in a falsetto voice, and they embellish their music with simple electronic distortions created by synthesizers. Violins, cellos and trumpets are other instruments that are also integrated into their music. Through all of these innovations they are able to create a huge palette of sound and emotion. Individuals are meant to find their own unique identity and meaning through Sigur Ros’s music, and the band has made this possible in several ways. First, the band sings in their Icelandic language. They thought about writing their lyrics in English, but they decided that they wanted to embrace their culture. A great deal of Sigur Ros’s fans don’t speak or understand the Icelandic language, therefore, most of their fans give the songs their own meaning. Sigur Ros also helped create this effect by releasing their album ( ) in 2002 in which all tracks were untitled and sung in the made-up language called Hopelandish. This Hopelandic language resembles the sound of the Icelandic language, but it has no meaning. Sigur Ros also allows their fans to make experimental music videos using their music. Fans compete with one another to create the best music videos and Sigur Ros decides who the winner is. This encourages people to find their own meaning in the music that Sigur Ros creates and it gives fans the opportunity to express their reaction to the music.

Contributed by Jordyn DeLaney

An album by the Icelandic group, Sigur Rós.

Contributed by Alexandria Blaise

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