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In English Valtari translates as "steamroller" and there is something right about the title in terms of the process of its creation. The last three tracks of Valtari are like one long slow gorgeous fade out, as the listener, having been softened up by the slightly more "song-y" start to the album, is left with the subtly shifting, deep introspective beauty of the last 24 minutes. After that, penultimate track, Valtari is like the far heart of the album; eight minutes that feel like being alone in row boat on a chill day.
SIGUR ROS VALTARI
|Audio CD Release Date:
||May 29, 2012|
|Number Of Discs:
|Average Customer Rating:
|| based on 68 reviews|
|1. ||Ã‰g anda|
|2. ||Ekki mÃºkk|
|8. ||FjÃ¶gur pÃanÃ³|
Average Customer Review:
( 68 customer reviews )
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 50 found the following review helpful:
A WORK OF ARTMay 29, 2012
It's been 4 years since the last Sigur Ros album and for a while fans wondered if we'd ever get to hear it. But since then we've received the fantastic live album Sigur Rós: Inni (Blu-Ray + 2 CD) and now, yet another masterpiece, Valtari. Like their previous albums, this is a hushed back, subtle-vocal work that transcends mind and genre. Listening to Sigur Ros is like experiencing a reverse hangover. It is peaceful, relaxing, imaginitive, inspiring..a journey. I really don't know how else to describe it.
It should also be noted that any Sigur Ros album is an ALBUM, meaning you should really listen to it from beginning to end, no skips or rewinds. It is a narrative of sorts, and should be experienced that way. That being said, I have to point out that Varúð and Fjögur píanó are two stand-out tracks worthy of the admission price alone. Varúð especially. That is one of the greatest songs I've heard in years. I love every song, but those are the stand-outs in my opinion.
OVERALL: If you're a longtime fan of Sigur Ros, prepared to be pleased. If you're just getting in on the game, Valtari is as great of a place to start as any. Newbies might also want to check out the song Saeglópur - it's another one of my favorites.
41 of 45 found the following review helpful:
All this useless beauty...Jun 06, 2012
By Paul D. Sandor
My first impression of the new album Valtari by Sigur Ros was underwhelming to say the least. I fired myself up to write a three star review and complain about the sad decline of the once brilliant Icelandic band. After my first listen, I agreed with fans who described the music as pretty but uninspiring. This, coming from artists who invented a genre of emotional music as moving and innovative as any created.
I was determined to have the music on the new disc move me with the same impact I felt from Agaetis Byrjun,() and Takk. I kept anticipating the barren cold textures, the unexpected sweeping turns and finally, the breathtaking climaxes (the "I need a cigarette kind!") It never happened; what a disappointment.
Then something else happened...After an extremely tiring yet pleasurable surf session, I decided to try Valtari again. Exhausted, I closed my eyes and listened without expectations. By the second track, Ekki Mukk, I felt as if a door had been opened. Next, Varuo completely took me over (tears escaped my closed eyes.) I started seeing colors. I felt as if I was still in the Pacific riding waves. The music, just like surfing, had picked me up and moved me. In the ocean, one can not make a wave. When listening to Sigur Ros, the listener can't make the music move them.
My assessment: The first five tracks pour in, a liquid steamroller. Jonsi's vocals rise and fall like an ocean wave. The final three songs are mostly instrumental and lovely, almost like one merging outro. These last three, a sailboat riding the tide out and taking the listener to relative safety of the sea. The soft ending is welcome after the beauty and glory by the shore.
Please excuse the dramatic metaphors; I know it sounds pretentious. But every word and sound rings true for me. So please, long-time fans, give the record a chance; don't compare it to their storied past. Newbies: just get on board and enjoy the ride...
19 of 20 found the following review helpful:
Indescribable beautyMay 29, 2012
By Nse Ette
"Valtari" is the latest Sigur Rós album, and it is their most laid-back to date comprising pastoral choral pieces. Listening to this is akin to floating on a calm ocean. Everything flows into the next, making this an album to be experienced as a whole, a far cry from lead vocalist Jónsi Birgisson's 2009 solo debut "Go" which was more upbeat and electronic.
Standouts include the tender piano/string "Varúð" with Jónsi's ethereal vocals juxtaposed against an ornate soundscape with strings and harmonies ascending to a skyscraping climax. Awesome and enthralling, my favourite. "Rembihnútur" is a gently ascending number with Jónsi coming in midway, while "Dauðalogn" is like a Hymn. Jónsi sings on the first 5 tracks, while "Varðeldur", "Valtari", and "Fjögur píanó" (the latter with delicately tinkling keys) are largely instrumental with Jónsi's harmonies adding instrumental tone on some.
The music is dense and requires time for everything to come into focus, but once it does, there's no letting go.
4 of 4 found the following review helpful:
Such exquisite beautyMay 29, 2012
Not just a return to form for the band, Valtari is the most consistently meditative Sigur Ros album yet. It must be at least partially inspired by Jonsi's "Riceboy Sleeps", and is even more gorgeous than that album. I love the band's epic, intense rock songs, but the tranquil sound of Valtari also suits me just fine, much more than the pop style that was the focus of their last two albums. I love that my favorite band doesn't ever make the same album twice, but I do believe that Valtari will be remembered as one of their best. Any Sigur Ros fan can tell you that they have always been capable of music so beautiful and unique that it sounds as if it's from another planet, but to hear an entire album devoted to such beauty is a special listening experience.
26 of 35 found the following review helpful:
Ambient or anemic?May 31, 2012
Throw me in the mire with the rest of the apologists with this one, as i too am a huge Sigur Ros fan, but as you can probably decipher from my supercilious title for this review i was regrettably disappointed by this album. Let me start with the positives though, firstly Sigur Ros have shown considerable courage in choosing to mainly avoid post rock cliches this time around, the most obviously absent of these being the slow build tension and cathartic release technique that i personally think has been done to death over recent years. Admittedly These guys do it better than almost anybodyelse which can be evidenced in all of their previous albums post Von.
This decision to move in a new direction leaving behind arguably the bands greatest strengh is something i can't help but admire and occasionally it's been known to yield some truely amazing results the most recent example being when Radiohead decided to move away from the highly successful alt rock of Ok Computer to the abstract electronica of Kid A. Unfortunately for Sigur Ros though this album is more comparable to R.E.M's transition from the sprawling eclecticism of New Adventures to the politely underwhelmng Up which although pretty, failed to really captivate or galvanize a strong emotional reaction like their previous work had done.
Valtari doesn't do anything audaciously wrong here, the music like Up is also pretty, delicately ambient and i'd imagine quite soothing to listen to if you had a migraine or were looking to get an early night and needed something relaxing to help you doze off. That last sentence might sound unfairly flippant but the unobtrusive feel of this album doesn't do anything to elevate Sigur Ros to the next level of musical perfection (i think they already achieved that with agaetis byrjun). Instead it justs sounds a little tired and lacking in ideas, the less is more approach is something they're not necessarily unfamiliar with () is faily narrow in scope and repeats a similar formula throughout it's 8 tracks, the differences between the two abums though are that () has a devastatingly powerful feel that is capable of flooring you at various times throughtout it's 70 minute playing time. Valtari has no such moments and remains largely innocuous throughout, comapared to Sigur Ros's former albums this sounds plaintively tame, taken on it's own merits it's a pleasant collection of ambient soundscapes that are ideal for background music.
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