What is Músiktilraunir?!

I'm on a plane about to take off on a seven hour flight over 3,000 miles across the Atlantic. Let me first say Icelandair is just a wonderful airline, the flight attendants are always offering complimentary beverages and extra pillows and blankets. As I'm settling in to my luxurious seat I notice in front of me a T.V. screen. Sweet! I don't have to watch the same movies on my laptop over again, I'll find something new. So I begin scrolling through the selection of in flight movies and settle on an Independent Icelandic Film to set the mood for my trip. "Prestir" meaning "Sparrows" was the name of the film if you were curious, great movie if you're in the right mind-set of course. Anyway while I was searching around for movies I first noticed they also had MUSIC! to listen to. And they even had an "Icelandic Indie" genre! A small selection but hey its something. I listened to some music after my film to re-set my mood. I'm telling you all this because these were the moments that lead my thought process of... whats the "Icelandic Indie" music scene like? My brother showed me some of his favorite bands from Iceland: Vök and Sigur Rós and they definitely have a unique style which I also enjoy listening to. I never really looked into how these bands, from such small country, went about sharing their talents. I learned about a music experiment in Iceland. And in honor of my resent travels to the lovely country I wanted to talk about this music experiment aka Músíktilraunir.

Músíktilraunir "is often referred to IME (Icelandic Music Experiment) as a platform for young inexperienced bands out in the strenuous music business." It started over 30 years ago in 1982, in the basement of Tónabaer, a youth center in Reykjavík. With an affiliation of SATT (Association of folk poets and musicians) the musical events were well-organized. Young kids with musical passions can express themselves by playing their own unique sounds for a crowd while learning the discipline of going out and taking what you want. The event was also a competition. The winner would receive a perfect prize, an award to further their abilities, with not just money to spend on anything, but a better chance to get their work heard. Any band that goes through to the end wins studio recording time!

Setlist Tonabaer.jpg

The Youth Center were it all started. 

When the community started to bring in an audience and more talent, the funding became much more of a priority to keep creativity and new sounds fresh. "The experience and association with other musicians is especially valuable and an important factor for the partakers. New ideas and bands form to flourish in the music scene. This is one of the main purposes of IME." Bands such as: 'Of Monsters and Men' 'Maus' 'Agent Fresco' 'Vök' Sigur Rós and much more have all started in their own "Músíktilraunir", we need such music experiments.

Back to the plane ride, I landed safely and now am traveling the beautiful Icelandic country side. I was told to visit the Iceland Museum of 'Rock n Roll'... stay tuned!

LT