Amina – AnimaminA EP

AnimaminA EP

For those who can’t get enough of the music coming out of the coldest parts of Europe – namely Iceland and Sweden, which I imagine are cold but are probably quite nice – Amina offers some chilly and beautiful music that should make every Sigur Ros fan take notice. Breaking out on their own after touring as the supporting string section for Sigur Ros (and, actually, the four members of Amina continue to do so, making an Amina show fairly uncommon), these Reykjavik College of Music grads have a lovely little EP that should appeal to Sigur Ros fans while set their own stage for an upcoming full-length.

These songs are comprised primarily of violins, cello, and viola, and yet these four women bring remarkable depth from their instruments and assorted sounds. This isn’t likely the type of string quartet you’ll hear at your local chamber hall, because these musicians stretch the boundaries of the style, creating flowing and orchestrated instrumentation that’s as experimental as it is beautiful.

“Skakka” opens up with some sounds of rain falling and unique percussive touchs – perhaps bells or chimes. It’s a gentle yet slightly haunting introduction, flowing nicely into “Hemipode.” This track feels more experimental, the notes on the string instruments plucked at times, giving the song a very rich, chiming feel. It rides a gentle, swaying pace throughout, then leading into “Fjarskanistan,” which is quieter, lacking the pacing of its predecessor but bringing in some of the most richly performed and produced strings you’re going to hear. This track may lull you to sleep with its lush beauty, but “Blaskjar” brings back the plucked strings, giving the song a Western European, gypsy-like charm.

There’s something about the music from Iceland that carries that country’s chilling connotations. Amina’s tracks are lush and extremely well orchestrated, never going on too long (a rarity for instrumental musicians) and always maintaining a beautiful accessibility for all its experimentation. What’s important is that these artists get out from Sigur Ros’ shadow and make music that’s quite different than the more well-known Icelandic band but music that will surely appeal to that band’s fans. It’s cool, it’s crisp, it’s perfectly produced, and it’s decidedly beautiful.