With tipping season well and truly in full swing, it seems like as good a time as any to talk about Eurosonic Noorderslag, Europe’s premier showcase for new talent. Of particular interest this year is the focus on Iceland - 19 of the country’s most exciting artists will be erupting like Eyjafjallajökull all over the festival, so we’ve taken the liberty of picking out a few that are especially worthy of consideration.
Modern classical composer Ólafur Arnalds may well be a familiar name to both Drowned In Sound readers and fans of TV drama Broadchurch, but even if you’re unaware of his work, you’d do well to familiarise yourself with his new project Kiasmos, a collaboration between Arnalds and Faroese electronic musician Janus Rasmussen. The result is a blissful techno-classical fusion that will certainly appeal to fans of Jon Hopkins and Nils Frahm.
Combine trip-hop, experimental electronica, spine-tingling vocals and the best use of a clarinet you’re likely to hear outside of a These New Puritans album and you have Samaris, one of the most unique prospects to come out of Iceland’s music scene in recent years. Their current home on One Little Indian makes a lot of sense when you consider that Iceland’s most famous daughter Björk is among their label mates - they’ve got similarly forward-thinking heads on their young shoulders.
Formerly a member of Seabear and now a much-loved songstress in her own right, Sóley is currently on the cusp of finishing a brand new album, which means that her performance at Eurosonic will be one of the first chances to hear material from it. If 2011’s We Sink is anything to go by, it’ll be beautiful and macabre in equal measure.
Having won 2013’s edition of the Icelandic Music Experiments with their first ever live performance, Vök have gone from strength to strength. Combining the intimacy of The xx with sultry vocals and some surprisingly tasteful saxophone playing, the trio have hit upon their own uniquely atmospheric and emotional sound.
Logi Pedro Stefánsson and Karin Sveinsdóttir are the duo behind Iceland’s most intriguing new pop proposition, Young Karin. Debut single ‘Hearts’ is a slice of bittersweet Scandi-pop perfection, while newer tracks such as ‘Call On Me’ and ‘Black Water’ demonstrate that the band are already evolving.
For a full sampling of all the Icelandic artists playing Eurosonic 2015, check out this handy playlist courtesy of Iceland Music Export.
Elsewhere, the UK’s contingent contains already rising stars such as Kate Tempest and Marmozets, alongside up-and-coming names like God Damn, All We Are and Jack Garrett. The BBC’s Sound Of 2015 list continues to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, with about half the nominated acts scheduled to play at Eurosonic - James Bay, Låpsley, Rae Morris, Shura, SOAK, Sunset Sons, and Years And Years, if you’re curious.
Elsewhere in Europe, potential highlights from the huge list of acts who’ll be vying for attention at the festival include Spain’s Deers, Belgium’s Oscar And The Wolf, and Germany’s Warm Graves. We’ll be reporting back from the event, which takes place in the Dutch city of Groningen from the 14th-17th of January.
For more information about Eurosonic Noorderslag, visit their website.