Tickle Me Emo
Valgeir Sigurðsson, Iceland Airwaves, 2006
In honor of the currently ongoing Iceland Airwaves I've been listening to Valgeir Sigurðsson's Ekvílibríum quite a bit; his deliberate, music-box compositions aren't everyones cup of tea, but I enjoy them in two different ways- either as a stimulating background or, more intensely, as a challenging ear-puzzle. What is puzzling to me, as it also was on Björk's tracks with 'Anthony' on the CD Volta, is the intrusion of wavering, uncertain vocals. Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (Will Oldham) and a 'J. Walker' perform the aural graffiti on this occasion. I have heard that this style of singing is called 'Emo', and has gained some traction in recent months. The track Kin, which was a high point of last year's Airwaves, is nearly sabotaged by Oldham's strangled vocalizations, in spite of a strong lyric.
A new trick for an old dog?