Track of the Day: Auður “Manískur” (2018)

Last week Icelandic R&B musician Auður released his new record Afsakanir, and despite the fact I cannot understand a single word of it, I can report that it’s absolutely beautiful stuff. Afsakanir, which Google reliably informs me translates to Excuses, features a host of collaborations with a number of up-and-coming Icelandic musicians, including Birnir, GDRN and CLUBDUB. 

I’ve been a fan of Auður since I stumbled across his debut album Alone, last year. His style can be perhaps be characterised as R&B infused electronic music – though (somewhat unsurprisingly – it is Iceland after all) he was previously involved in Reykjavik’s hardcore and noise-rock scenes. Following in the footsteps of the likes of Of Monsters and Men and Sigur Rós, he won newcomer of the year at the Icelandic Music Awards in 2016. 

He also has a reputation for releasing his music in unconventional ways (this album by contrast was released with little fanfare). At the 2016 Iceland Airwaves festival he gave festival-goers the chance of a pre-listen to the album in Pokémon Go style, with 4000 people hunting it down via their mobiles in downtown Reykjavik. Whilst, at last years festival he teamed up with Omnom to release a special chocolate bar, which came with a link to five songs, some of which will not be released again. 

Auður recently opened for Post Malone, and has toured through Europe and the UK, appearing at The Great Escape Festival earlier this year. He also has PM approval, having recently been included in Icelandic Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir’s playlist celebrating twenty years of the Iceland Airwaves festival. 

“Manískur” is a beautiful and sweet track, featuring vocals from emerging Icelandic singer-songwriter GDRN. Incidentally, Auður also appears on GDRN’s album Hvað ef which was released back in August. The duo’s vocals really complement each other, with some great interplay and beautiful harmonising. I have absolutely no idea what they’re singing about, but the vibe you get, suggests it can’t be all that bad. It’s one of the album’s slower tracks, but the duo’s vocal performance coupled with the somewhat minimal instrumentation keep drawing me back. 

“Manískur” and Afsakanir are available now. Auður will be appearing at this year’s Iceland Airwaves festival which runs from November 7-10th. You can also keep up to date with what he’s up to via Facebook and Instagram

Simon Clark

Books Editor. An admirer of songs and reader of books. Simon has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature. All errant apostrophes are his own.