Introducing… Ásgeir

Our Introducing... series focuses on artists who we think are worth shouting about. Here we have 21 year old singer-songwriter Ásgeir from Iceland.

Posted on Jul 8th, 2013 in Features and Interviews, Asgeir, One Little Indian / By Larry Day
Introducing… Ásgeir Here at Bearded we aim to shed light on acts who don't necessarily have giant labels or muscley budgets waving banners behind them. This Introducing series will focus on artists who we think are great, regardless of how much hype surrounds them or where their origin story lays.

Name: Ásgeir
Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
Genre: Melodic folk
Similar Artists:
Contact: Facebook, Twitter
Events: New single 'King and Cross' out August 12th

Ásgeir may already have a sizeable following on Twitter and Facebook (our very own Ben Wood even covered one of his John Grant support slots back in May, here) – and bundles of clout behind him – but he's a virtual unknown outside of his home nation. The Icelandic singer-songwriter is another youthful gem from the One Little Indian roster (we featured the indescribably fantastic teenage Samaris a couple of weeks back). Ásgeir only made his UK debut back in May, but with his current support slots with Of Monsters & Men, he's likely to make an impressive impact this side of the North Atlantic. That invasion is in full swing, with his new single 'King and Cross' receiving its worldwide première on Zane Lowe's show last Thursday (July 4th).

He's an absolute star in Iceland. He won four Iceland Music Awards in February, and was nominated for the glimmering Nordic Music Prize. He went on to perform at SXSW, Sonar and by:Larm festivals earlier in the year. A hearty ten percent of his native land's population own his debut Dýrð í dauðaþögn (try saying that three times fast), and he spent nine weeks at the top of their charts with his Blaz Roca collaboration, 'Hvítir skór'. It's a wonder then that he's made few gains on foreign soil (outside of Scandinavia).

'King and Cross' is a calm, summery ditty with breezy strumming and indie-dance percussion. There are Truls-like R&B vocals and fret buzz; sweeping, jarring synths dart in and out of placid melodies. It's a chilled-out cut conjuring visions of endless dusk and future cherished memories. There's complacent brass harmonies and funky bass; this is folktronica, but not as you know it.

Instantly, listening to his track 'Lupin Intrigue', there are nods to Bon Iver and Field Music. It's delicate guitar-based folk layered with stunning higher-register vox. The airy wisps of porcelain falsetto are spine-tremblingly fragile, yet hold a monumental power at the same time; his voice alone captivates from the off, demanding all your attention. He has complete control over your emotions – if he wants you to weep hysterically, you will, but equally, if he wants you to raise your head high and smile towards the future, you will.

He spins noises like a frostbitten spider spins a web in cold morning sun. Ásgeir weaves a frailty with strength; the organic sounds, such as his voice and the soft guitar, evoke all manner of mortal emotions, and the shards of electronic production inject a modernity into the otherwise pastoral music. The two sides of his sound perfectly compliment each other. Traditional folk elements and instrumentation explore natural melodies and gorgeous hymnal harmonies (reminiscent of Fleet Foxes), whereas the synthesizers, drum machines and theramin-y waves allow Ásgeir to delve into unchartered territory. It's like sci-fi folk – the kind you'd listen to as you kicked back against a crater on the Moon and gazed at the Earth-rise.

Towards the back end of this year we're going to receive Ásgeir's second debut. The English language version of Dýrð í dauðaþögn, retitled In The Silence for us, is set to drop this autumn. Iceland has already proved itself a treasure trove of music this year with Samaris, Sigur Rós and Sin Fang releases causing major commotion. There's no sign of that halting. Ásgeir has proved himself a formidable force and potent songwriter in Northern countries already with his masterful songwriting. He's showcased an innate talent that few possess. There's no doubt he will be a big, big deal.