Album of the Day: Frakkur, “2000 – 2004”

Released under the name Frakkur, 2000-2004 captures three distinctly intimate projects from Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi, often recorded while touring over the course of his band’s five-year ascent to stardom after Ágætis byrjun. Though the songs stretch from gentle ambience to bedroom beatmaking, all of them navigate distinct emotional spaces. The album opens with the earliest recording, SFTLB, described as “a record of unrequited love for a straight boy at home in Reykjavík.” The songs wring tension from the typically pretty sounds, like kalimba and music boxes, cresting with the anxious, frenetic “SFTLB3.”

SFTLB is followed by the significantly brighter TB, a delicate collection of playful pop songs built almost entirely on samples of children’s toys. The warm melodies and chirpy vocals of this shorter session give way to PP, the most recent and cathartic of the recordings. Made in Boston at his boyfriend Alex Somers’s home between 2003 and 2004, The album’s final third mirrors the sonic intimacy of the first, but in a way that feels totally inverted. While SFTLB feels solitary—the sound of hibernating away a broken heart—the powerful, twinkling passages of PP are lovestruck, capturing the feeling of wanting to hide away from the world with your favorite person. A showcase for Jónsi’s experimenting with the program Logic after Somers introduced him, it feels like a hidden prologue to their collaborative and romantic relationship. In fact, it was Somers who is responsible for the songs seeing the light of day, having found them on an old CD-R after they were lost in a hard drive crash. His chance discovery is our great reward; each song gives new depth to both Sigur Rós and their elusive lead singer during a mythic era of their career.

-Miles Bowe

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