Friday, December 11, 2009

Music: "Riceboy Sleeps" by Jónsi & Alex

Jónsi & Alex is a collaboration between partners Jónsi Birgisson and Alex Somers. Birgisson is known for his heavenly vocals as the lead singer of the amazing Icelandic band Sigur Rós. Somers is an artist, a founding member of Parachutes, and the pianist for Kira Kira. The duo released their appropriately titled album Riceboy Sleeps in July of this year.

I say that the album is appropriately titled because Riceboy Sleeps is the best napping album I’ve ever heard. This might sound like an insult, but I mean it as a compliment. You see, I’m terrible at sleeping and thus, terrible at napping. Once a week, I attempt to take a nap. Usually I fail to fall asleep, so instead I have a relaxing hour lying in bed, but about once a month the nap actually works. Riceboy Sleeps is full of beautiful ambience that is perfect to fall asleep to, or more appropriately for me, perfect to lie awake to. The album’s uncluttered sound makes it light enough for sleep, but its stunning atmospheric grandeur makes it even better to hear while you lie in bed with your blinds closed as you pretend it’s night.

If I do fall asleep, I’m always woken up roughly three minutes into the second track, “Atlas Song,” by the collective voices of a boys’ choir who create a sound of innocent and majestic grace, which is fine by me. Jónsi’s distinctive ethereal falsetto can be heard towards the end of “Indian Summer,” but otherwise it is largely absent from this album. This is not a side-project that sounds the same as both musicians’ roots – it is something entirely new. I understand that most people will not "get into" this album, but those who do will find a unique and arresting ambience that allows for reflection. Or napping.