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Now an annual event, our very own Reykjavik Calling is bringing to Boston some of Iceland’s finest and pairing them up with a host of talented, local acts. One of the main Icelandic attractions, Ásgeir Trausti, took some time out of his schedule to stop by the WERS studio and perform a three song, acoustic set. Despite only being twenty-years-old, Trausti has made his way to the top of the Icelandic music charts with his song, “Summer Guest”, while his debut album, Dýrð í dauðaþögn, was nominated for a 2012 Nordic Music Prize. His calm and sometimes dark folk songs are powerful and moving. Trausti has a keen sense of melody and masterfully matches it with his soft and gentle, finger-picked guitar lines and high flying falsetto singing voice.
Trausti began his set with the song “Going Home”. With its foreboding and dark intro and haunting melodies, Trausti immediately filled the room with his dark and emotional take on folk music. His high-pitched, quavering vocals filled the darkness with light as he let the melody waft around the room. One thing that Trausti is great at is creating an atmosphere. His songs follow a strict course of arrangement and quickly grow over their few minutes of existence.
Up next was the aforementioned Icelandic hit, “Summer Guest”, and it’s easy to see why it is such a hit. In stark contrast to his first song, “Summer Guest” was bright, happy, and catchy; a winning combination for chart success. As he calmly sang, “Oh the ocean’s endless blue, it never fails… its breath is clear and true”, he was lightly accompanied by a friend on lead guitar that was quiet, but effective. Trausti’s songs are slow and melodic; like smoldering ashes, his songs have the spark of a fire but are never too much to handle.
Trausti decided to end his set with the song “On That Day”. The most emotional of the trio, it began with a slow arpeggio on the guitar which Trausti matched with his soaring falsetto, sounding like a combination of Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver) and Jónsi (of Sigur Rós). The slow, beautiful melody hung on the song’s touching lyrics: “I still think about the possibility of love, I see reflections of that moment now”. A very poignant way to end his set.
As previously mentioned, Ásgeir Trausti will be performing at Reykjavik Calling, tonight at the Paradise Rock Club on Commonwealth. The 18+ show will feature Trausti along with Sóley Stefánsdóttir (also form Iceland) and Boston’s very own: the Adam Ezra Group and Kris Delmhorst. The show is absolutely free and everyone is welcome until the club hits maximum capacity.
Reykjavik Calling will kick off Trausti’s short, North American tour. From Boston, he’ll be heading out to New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Toronto along with a handful of shows at Austin’s SXSW festival. However, we all know that the best place to catch Trausti will be tonight at the Paradise Rock Club.