It's been two years since Iceland's Sigur Rós announced that the band was going to go on indefinite hiatus. The band originally went back into the studio to record a followup to 2008's Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust but scrapped the work. Band frontman Jonsi went off on his own, creating two albums (one of which made NPR's Best Albums of 2010 list) and making the soundtrack for the Matt Damon film We Bought A Zoo. Life's not the same without the stretched-out ambiance that Sigur Rós does so well, so it's good news to hear that the band is back together to release a new album later this year called Valtari.
Valtari, which translates as "steamroller," will be released in the US on May 29th. The album was formed out of pieces of the scrapped 2009 sessions, part of the bands work on last year's live film Inni, and new studio pieces. It's been described as "introverted" and "floaty and minimal" by the band. The first song released and the second track off the album, "Ekki Múkk," is filled with absolutely gorgeous textures. The song begins quietly but builds into a soaring piece — with strings, tinkling pianos, and tape cracklings — and then slowly fading away.
On the band's website Sigur Rós' bassist Georg Holm described stopping and starting over with Valtari:
I really can't remember why we started this record, I no longer know what we were trying to do back then. I do know session after session went pear-shaped, we lost focus and almost gave up...did give up for a while. But then something happened and form started to emerge, and now I can honestly say that it's the only Sigur Rós record I have listened to for pleasure in my own house after we've finished it.