Anyone I’ve talked to about music in any detail in the last several years is aware of my monthly playlists. For the past three years, I’ve made playlists of the music I discovered each month and then burned them on CDs so I could listen to them in my car. Over the course of making these playlists, I’ve instituted some strict guidelines on myself to try to increase musical diversity and force myself to listen to a wider range of music. I say all of that to introduce today’s artist, Icelander Ásgeir. He appeared on the first monthly playlist I ever made in January 2014 with the excellent singles King & Cross and Torrent (my rules now would never allow for an artist to have two songs on a single playlist), and continued to appear for the next several months around the English release of his excellent debut album, In The Silence. Ásgeir is one of the first new artists I found on my own and it really served as a jumping off point for me actively searching out new music, something I do constantly now. I also find it worth noting that the Icelandic version of the album, 2012’s Dýrð í dauðaþögn, remains the best selling debut in his home country of all time.
Combining a haunting falsetto with acoustic and electronic production elements, Ásgeir makes incredibly cool yet accessible music. Since releasing his album in 2014, Ásgeir remained relatively quiet until he started teasing new music in December. Luckily, the wait was short as he released his new single, Unbound, last week and announced his sophomore album, Afterglow, set for release on May 5th. Unbound marks a shift in sound for Ásgeir, moving into glitchier sounding production and fractured melodies which serves as a great continuation and evolution of the aesthetic developed on In The Silence. Only time will tell if this marks a more monumental shift, like Sufjan Stevens’ The Age of Adz or Bon Iver’s 22, A Million, but either way, I’m just thrilled to have new music from Ásgeir and can’t wait to see what he comes up with next. Listen to Unbound below!