Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Here are their love letters to records that forever changed their lives.
The Kite String Tangle: Jonsi – ‘Go’
You came at a time when my unhealthy obsession with Iceland and Icelandic culture was budding and preparing to blossom. You are one of a select few vinyl records that I have on my walls. I had always felt a little lost in music. I knew I liked it and that I made a lot of it, but I never knew what I really wanted to focus on within music. You came along and showed me that it absolutely doesn’t matter and I should stop thinking immediately and ‘go do’.
I was producing a lot of music and falling in love with the process and the endless possibilities that are available to me when I’ve captured a sound and have it on a computer. You sounded like a million different things yet you were so concise. Distorted to beauty, undulating with dynamic, chorale, vulnerable, euphoric and unpredictable…you were everything all at once. You gave me the same feeling as when I’m at the airport about to embark on a long trip with only the first week booked.
I’ve always gravitated towards records that made me feel both melancholic and euphoric throughout. I rarely want to feel angry or overly energised, I tend to go for nostalgia and introspection, and boy did you deliver with wave after wave of raw honesty and hair-raising intimacy.
I think one of the things that made me dig even deeper was your aesthetic. It’s so unique and it seemed clear you were in your own lane and weren’t trying to impress anybody but yourself.
You gave me the confidence to explore whatever I wanted in production and instrumentation. Why use guitar and drums when you can use a cinematic cymbal hit, timpani, distorted kitchenware and a fleet of recorders? I think this was when my love for texture and sampling started, which is so interesting because most producers’ interested in those things usually stem from hip-hop and electronic music, but I was exploring the production techniques in this record and having my mind blown with every listen. I think I also have you to blame for my productions being so dense with layering. It’s a delicate and difficult art that you do, unlike any other.
I eventually got to go to Iceland in 2016 and managed to hook up a studio session in Reykjavik. I had been passed the studio details from a friend of a friend and when I arrived, I instantly recognised a whole bunch of the instruments as being from ‘Go Quiet’, the acoustic DVD version of you. I got to play the instruments and it was essentially a museum of this record for me. Complemented by the bleak Icelandic weather, it made for a poignant session which felt very full-circle for me.
At this studio in Iceland I also got to hear the masters of my debut album for the first time and, all at once, it hit me that I’ve somehow made a path for myself and have started to discover who I am, artistically. For so many years into that journey, you’ve been a guiding light, and are still as relevant as ever in my life and pool of musical influences.
I then met your creator (Jonsi) backstage at Splendour in the Grass 2017. I ran up to him after the show and said thanks for the music and he turned and said “thank you, it’s so cold here” which is hilarious coming from an Icelander. I could have said a million things about Iceland and the studio and how important you’ve been in my own creative growth, but in that moment, I was completely lost for words. It was kind of perfect.
This will forever be one of my favourite records and it shall remain framed on my wall until the world crumbles under a cinematic barrage of nuclear missiles from all directions, for which you would make the perfect score.
The Kite String Tangle’s national album tour kicks off this Friday, 6th October in Adelaide. Details here.