It has been a while (again) since my last review but I found another amazing artist from Iceland that I had to share. Asonat (duo of Fannar Ásgrímsson and Jónas Thór Guðmundsson, vocals by Oléna Simon) recently released their sophomore effort on N5MD Records on September 30th and it is entitled “Connection.” It may be my favorite album of 2014 as it offers such a wide range of beautiful sounds. You will hear some great pop-sounding tracks, some experimental sounds, a hint of post-rock, as well as some classic trip hop sounds as you progress through a listening session of “Connection.”
The album name is a a reference to the fact that the three artists were all living in different locations while putting the album together so the final result is this outstanding collaboration or “connection.” The work as a whole connects together very well too, making it a nice theme for the project. The lyrics also speak about missed connections so it all comes together to make a nice quasi-concept album.
Compared to what I heard on their debut album “Love in Times of Repetition” which seemed a little more mellow and more synth chord driven, “Connection” is comprised of more layers and complex trip hop beats which make for a nice overall groove while listening.
You can hear some classic synth sounds on “Before It Was” which is was the first straightforward chill track that I noticed. What was really cool about “Connection” was when I noticed that it has a “connected” or “sister” track, if you will, called “Rejection” which shares a similar melody. I didn’t notice it until skipping around for highlights to write up this review.
“Rather Interesting” (which had its own EP release earlier this year) lives up to its title and sounds like it was created in that similar synth-pop vein. Its pulsating beat and Oléna Simon’s unique vocal sound (where she inserts what it seems to be almost chanting towards the end) made me think it would be a great fit for end credits music for a film. “Interesting” It also reminded me of Massive Attack’s “Hymn of the Big Wheel” that I first heard on “Ultra Chilled 01” when I was first getting into downtempo/chill music. What a great song!
A couple of other tracks that stood out is the offbeat opener “Quiet Storm” and retro/R&B flavored “Everything Illuminated.” It still has that warm synth sound but is infused with a soulful 70’s funk tinge to it. “One Step at a Time” is track with a deep, driving bass beat with synth arpeggios running throughout.
It has started to get very cold here in the Midwest, so this is a great album for putting on repeat and immersing yourself in on a cold night and letting these awesome sounds wash over you again and again. Highly recommend!