Valtari is Sigur Rós’ first full length album in four years, and it signals a return to the gorgeous, alien moodiness that captured listeners from the start. Valtari moves with glacial grace, recalling images of large pastoral landscapes painted in muted watercolor, impressionist as ever. The tempo, if ever indicated, never drags, but moves with great breadth. Jónsi’s voice returns to the ether as well, eerily calling into the fog of music enveloping him. “Ekki múkk” creates immense, static stillness under his high warble, while “Varúð” moves and sways with a gentle yodel. The title track is perhaps the most cinematic and dynamic of the collection of songs, but all eight pieces included on Valtari are yielding aural landscapes for the imagination. And, wouldn’t you know, the band has plans for a film for Valtari as well. Titled “Mystery Film Experience,” the piece will be a collection of music videos for the album, each by a different filmmaker. The result is sure to be lovely, but even if nobody ever made a single film for Sigur Rós, the cinematic scope of their inventive music is too lovely to miss.
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