“Music is a place as real as any other place you have ever been to.” Philip Glass
Víkingur Ólafsson is the dude to be watching. Missed Nirvana’s final show cause you were too busy watching Hootie? Fuck that. Listen to Víkingur. *Deep breath in* He’s been called “Iceland’s Glenn Gould” by the New York Times. Gramophone knighted him with one of the greatest Bach recordings of all fucking time. He won album of the year at the BBC Music Awards, was named Gramophone’s artist of the year, and Limelight’s International Artist of the Year. He had over 20 million streams on Spotify just last year. He’s also been called one of the hot cocks on the block in regards to Classical, and the second coming of angel tit-shot Tuesday by the motherfucker hammering out these 26 letters. *Exhales* And, like I said before, everyone loves angel tit-shot Tuesdays. Because, really, what’s softer than angel tit skin?
Víkingur has made major waves with every single one of his releases. But he didn’t want to be known as the Philip Glass guy, or the Bach guy, even though dude could have made it rain classical dollars in either case. But, as Debussy says, “An artist has to escape his own success.” Víkingur took that shit to heart and has never repeated himself.
So, what makes Víkingur such a bad ass? First off, he breathes new life into pieces people have heard a nonillion times (yes, and it’s 30 zeros). To self-quote again like some asshole, “it’s like finding out your mom used to run a brothel somewhere on the border of Hungary. She’s the same person that you’ve always known but now she has this new depth, mystery, and wonder.” But dude does more than that. On this album he’s taken Rameau and Debussy and put them side by side even though they’re a couple hundred years apart. Debussy is known as this impressionist modernist fuck that might drink Champagne out of a shoe while twirling someone else’s Dali moustache at a party. Rameau is one of these overly technical music theory geeks that might trip and drop his books everywhere while trying to catch the bus. You just feel bad for the guy. He was such a loser that he was just forgotten for about 200 years. So what does Víkingur do? He goes back and forth between the two in such a way where, not only do you see a similarity, you have a tough time telling them apart. These two crazy musical fucks separated by time and style yet making sweet musical love through the hands of this Icelandic boss. The result is something technical, beautiful, yet strange enough to keep you interested. So like an accountant with a “Thug Life” tramp stamp, an astrophysicist with a mohawk, or a stripper with a PhD in theology this album is surprising, has more than meets the eye, and deserves a good fucking listen.