Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and collaborator; the mighty Ásgeir returns in 2017 with his highly anticipated brand new album, ‘Afterglow’. The Icelandic artist has spent three years honing and perfecting the eleven tracks that make up this magnificent and affecting body of work. Lead single ‘Unbound’ is a stunning, yearning piece of music – surely a career-defining moment for the musician, who’s follow up to debut album ‘In The Silence’ is greatly anticipated by fans worldwide.
The brand new record, which is released on 5th May 2017, sees Ásgeir depart from the sentiment and sound of his debut album in many ways, bringing a great deal more electronic instrumentation into the fold, and adopting r’n’b and soul elements. The album leaves behind the folk-tinged acoustics of ‘In The Silence’ and dives head first into melancholic, melodic electronica in its purest form. The spell-binding artist has also once again collaborated with his father, Einar Georg, for ‘Afterglow’, who is credited with writing the lyrics for the entire album alongside long-time musical collaborators, Ásgeir’s brother, Thorsteinn, Julius Robertsson & Hogni.
Renowned for his silky, falsetto vocal, the musician has previously drawn comparisons to Bon Iver, James Blake and Kings of Convenience, however ‘Afterglow’ sees Ásgeir refine his own distinctive style. The record undoubtedly comes from a place of darkness, reminiscent of ANOHNI’s ‘HOPELESSNESS’, yet it retains an essence of hopefulness at its core. Talking about ‘Afterglow’, Ásgeir said: “I feel like I have achieved plenty already with this album, gotten to know myself better, feel like I’ve grown a lot. Not just because of the album, but it has definitely helped.”
Ásgeir couldn’t have predicted the immensity of his success off the back of 2014 debut album, ‘In The Silence’ – coming from the Icelandic town of Laugarbakki, populated by just 40 people, Ásgeir is every bit as introverted, humble and unassuming as he is gifted. The same year, Ásgeir sold out two shows at Sydney Opera House, one at Shepard’s Bush Empire and played a mesmerising show at London’s Union Chapel, which sold out months in advance. The original Icelandic version of the album, ‘Dyrd í dauðathogn’, became the fastest selling debut from a home grown artist in Iceland, breaking all previous records and outselling Bjork and Sigur Ros by a long way.
The album won Ásgeir four Iceland Music Awards and a nomination for the prestigious Nordic Music Prize. In October 2014 he also picked up an EBBA Award for cross-border European chart success. The ubiquity of Dýrð í dauðaþögn caught the attention of musician John Grant, and the Midlake collaborator immediately recognised Ásgeir’s musical talent. Grant saw plenty of beauty in the album’s lyrics—a poetic collection touching on nature, fantastical creatures, weather and old short stories—and he ended up translating the lyrics into English for the international version of the album, titled ‘In The Silence’.
Over 10% of the entire Icelandic population now own ‘Dýrð í dauðaþögn’, and the album has accumulated over 70million streams worldwide. Debut single ‘King and Cross’ was #1 on the Spotify Viral Charts in the UK, achieving over 4.7m views on YouTube, while second single ‘Torrent’ was #10 in the same week on the same chart. The record had hit the top 10 in Australia, and the top 40 in the UK, France, Japan, Denmark, Holland and Belgium. At just 20 years of age, Ásgeir had become an overnight sensation.
Listen to ‘Unbound’ below: