jónsi has spent more than a decade writing epic compositions with sigur rós, creating some of the finest, most acclaimed albums of the last ten years. the choice to make an album of solo recordings came together as a solution to a backlog of songs jónsi had written that didn’t seem to fit within the sigur rós context. the first collection of this material saw its release earlier this year in the form of a record called riceboy sleeps, an instrumental album made with his partner, alex somers. go, however, is a different beast entirely. ecstatic, dramatic and alive, it features jónsi’s signature vocals throughout, with the majority of the songs sung in english.
when he began working on go, jónsi initially though he would be making a low-key, acoustic album until, as he says, "somewhere along the line, it just sort of exploded." that explosion resulted in sheer aural fireworks. not a straight ahead pop record, nor rock, folk, ambient or electronic, it encompasses all of these to create an expansive musical palette that’s been brought to life by jónsi alongside a number of free-spirited collaborators.
chief among these is nico muhly, the philip glass protégé who is renowned for his work with björk, antony & the johnsons, bonnie "prince" billy and grizzly bear. muhly has arranged all the songs on go, bringing strings, brass and woodwind to dance playfully alongside his offbeat piano playing. add into the mix the percussive genius of samuli kosminen, whose original drumming powers many of the songs along, and you have a sonic landscape that bears little relation to anything else around today, yet explodes from the speakers with sheer happiness and wonder, wide-eyed and eager to be heard.
go completes a personal journey for jónsi away from the wordless and near-brutal sonic monoliths of sigur rós’ untitled ( ) album, and is a bold stride beyond the career-redefining pop of "hoppipolla", and even the explosive percussive assault of the last album’s “gobbledigook.” above it all sits jónsi’s voice, which has never been more impressive or breathtakingly arranged; here spectral and wraithlike, there fulsome and gorgeously warm, or other times, his backing vocals swoop and dart everywhere in a giddying array of crazed inventiveness. indeed, go is also one of the most joyous collections of songs you’re ever likely to hear. it’s an album that sounds like an artist entirely out on his own, doing exactly as he pleases, and from the creator of some of this decade’s most inventive, evocative music, we would expect nothing less.
jónsi will be bringing these songs to life with an extensive world tour throughout 2010. for more details on this, along with exclusive jónsi news, music and information, please check out Jonsi.com