Archives: February 2012

Pólýfónía Remixes

Nine remixes of Apparat Organ Quartet’s “Pólýfónía” hit the streets yesterday.

Apparat Organ Quartet is probably the only organ quartet in the world with five members.
They are without a doubt the only one openly admitting to be influenced by Kraftwerk and Mötorhead. In 2011, their second album Pólýfónía received critical acclaim across the board and on the heels of its success Apparat Organ Quartet will release selected remixes from Pólýfónía.

Yesterday, 27th of February, nine remixes from acclaimed collaborators hit the streets presenting interpretations of the Icelandic group’s most successful release so far. The remixers include Dreamtrack, Robotaki, Bloodgroup, FM Belfast, and Reptilicus.

Snoop-Around reccomends this interesting remix release.


Get the album on Gogoyoko here

Tracks

Síríus Alfa (Reptilicus Remix)
Söngur Geimunglingsins (Frederik Schikowski Remix)
Konami (Flemming Dalum Remix)
Cargo Frakt (Beta Satan Shred To Pieces Cover)
123 Forever (Thomas Troelsen Remix)
Konami (FM Belfast Remix)
Konami (Bloodgroup Remix)
123 Forever (Robotaki Remix)
Konami (Dreamtrak Diamond Sound)

www.apparatorganquartet.com
www.twitter.com/#!/ApparatOrgan
www.facebook.com/ApparatOrganQuartet

Samsteypan collective

Samsteypan collective is premiering the piece ÚPS! directed by Víkingur Kristjánsson on Thursday 1st march in Tjarnarbíó 101 Reykjavík. We took a sneak- peak and met with Ásgerður G. Gunnarsdóttir the dramaturg of the piece and the rest of the group to find out a little more about the project.

Ásgerður / the group in front of Tjarnarbíó

What is this group about, and what is the concept?

We started this group in 2005, and when we were deciding on a name, we wanted our group to have words that somehow would be connected to movement, energy, experimentalism and some kind of development.” Ásgerður says and adds that collaboration with actors, musicians and others working in the field of stage-arts are in the limelight and an important part of their work.

Do you think the arts are too categorized in that sense, when you think about dance and acting?

Well back in the day, before the Icelandic academy of the Arts offered education with various ideas about this blending between acting and dance, with the contemporary dance department and theory and practice, this was surely and probably categories that didn’t blend too much.” Ásgerður says and adds that she thinks catergorization is fine, but that their group had more interest in new ideas about movement, that it isn’t just about pre-given steps and technique and so forth.

We want to use different dance styles in cooperation with all those that have to do with stage- arts and performance. We were in the beginning inspired by dance- styles by international groups.” Ásgerður says.

Photos from previous pieces, Kandiland and Shake me. Photographs: Bart Grietens

ÚPS! The title of the piece, what can you tell me about that?

This is the final piece in a triology we decided to create, they have all been built on works by Shakespeare. This is the last one, and it is based on the Shakespheare comedies. The word ÚPS has so much to do with mistakes, misunderstandings and that kind of things, like woops, that this happened.” Ásgerður explains and adds that the group found this word fitting for the concept of the piece.

“You maybe find yourself in some sort of dramatic crisis, but then you just say, woops, obbossí!”

So its not serious, its just ÚPS (woops) and that’s the end of it?

Well that’s the thing, you maybe find yourself in some sort of dramatic crisis, but then you just say, woops, obbossí! And that´s the end of the matter in these comedies that we are working from.” Ásgerður says and laughs. “The line we found is very thin between drama and comical things.

So, this piece consists of four dancers and one actor, right?

Yes, we got to know Hannes Óli Ágústsson in the Icelandic Academy of the Arts, and did the first piece of this triology together in 2009. This blend has been very interesting and successful for our group.

What about the music, do you have a sound world in the piece?

Yes, the musician Gísli Galdur has remixed a lot of nineties songs for our piece ÚPS! that will surely strengthen our world that we are creating. This has been a theme for all our pieces in this triology, first we had power-ballads for the first piece and songs by the very well knowned band Queen for the our second piece.” Ásgerður says.

We felt that the energy in surden songs from the nineties, is clownish and strange, that suits this humour- and comic preformance very well. Maybe its this e-pill popping, like Ibiza atmosphere, that I at least think about when I hear some of those songs.

So, do you record your pieces so that you have them in some sort of video- format?

Well this has been a problem for all dance forms, that the documentation of the pieces are not always produced in some sort of video footage or photographs. This is an disadvantage for performing arts.” Ásgerður says but adds that they try to document their pieces as much as they can.

Hannes Óli Ágústsson, Melkorka S. Magnúsdóttir, Katrín Gunnarsdóttir, Ragnheiður S. Bjarnarson, Ásgerður G. Gunnarsdóttir, Arna Ýr Sævarsdóttir og Víkingur Kristjánsson.

Is it possible to document and capture movement visually, and do the piece justice at the same time?

I´ve been thinking about this a lot. You can, but the result will only be the skeleton of the piece though. You can never capture the full atmosphere, the experience of being in the same space and time, as the performance happens.” Ásgerður says but adds that the group is open to all documentation formats.

So what can you tell me about the piece, what can one expect?

The piece is very visual, very physical and energetic. It dosent give one specific meaning, but there is a lot of stories that binds in one wholesome whole. We are trying to creative one world for all those different threads that are in this piece.

Is this performance going to be in English?

Well the dance, music, movement and atmosphere is international. But we are going to perform this piece in English.” Ásgerður says. “Stay tuned”!

facebook.com/icecorp
Get tickets here

Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís

Bogi Jónsson

On a musky day we drove to Garður, the town we had never been to while travelling the Reykjanes peninsula. Bogi Jónsson and his wife Narumon Sawangjaitham (Nok) greeted us with welcoming gestures. Me and Bogi sat down with hot coffee and cookies to discuss the seaweed spa, Peace- garden, their lives together, and how they ended up with the hot tub spa in this windy and exotic place.

What is this concept about and how did you get this seaweed spa idea in the first place?

Actually, this was an accident in the beginning. I had a hot sea tub in my old place, in Álftanes where I started out with the thai- spa. I managed to set up the hot tub on the roof with heated sea in it.

“They day after I thought to myself, why is my hair and skin so soft, did I go overboard with the conditioner?!”

Anyways, then I wanted to surprise my wife with something extra special, went to the coast and got a lot of seaweed to add to our spa experience, for making it a little mystical for her. They day after I thought to myself, why is my hair and skin so soft, did I go overboard with the conditioner?! My wife felt the same, so we figured out that it must have had something to do with the seaweed.

This drove me to try this again, and I found this to be the case, my skin was soft as a baby´s bottom. Then I got online and did some research, and found out that this is an old tradition in Ireland and some other places too.

My father spent most of his life examining marine animals, and he always talked about his hands getting very soft after he had been all in the seaweed, looking for interesting things. So my thai-spa in Álftanes turned in to the hot seaweed spa, and then the adventure started. Today I´m still trying out different kinds of seaweed and so on, and this has also to do with seasonal magnitude of seaweed in the nature.

“We think about seaweed as something unpleasant, but when you are in the tub it is just lovely, you just want to hug the seaweed and rub it all over your body”

What is you relations to the seaweed?

Well, I was born and raised by the costal line and had many around me that were doing research on the coast. Actually, my plan is to evolve my usage of seaweed through experience and information seeking. I´ve tried this both on psoriasis and cellulite skin, and we mark that this spa is having good effects, but I don’t want to give out statements before I have had more experience with this. Ill have to change the seaweed every day, to offer the same effect. I use seaweed and fresh kelp in the hot tub, sometimes I use kelp flour to have the flora in the spa just right.

Sometimes we think about seaweed as something unpleasant, but when you are in the tub it is just lovely, you just want to hug the seaweed and rub it all over your body. We just want people to try it because we think this spa has so many good elements, without talking like a cheesy salesman.

 Hah, that’s a good vision you have. Tell me, what is this gel in the seaweed?

At first I thought this was some kind of a frost protection, but it actually is a seasonal thing, so there is less of this soft gel in the seaweed during the winter.

The seaweed has a lot of iron, d-vitamin and b12 and this is exactly what we need in the north where we live sunless lives. I´ve been reading a lot about the seaweed, and this is a magnificent plant actually. There is no other plant for example that has as much iodine as the seaweed plant has.

Well, I will have to ask you, how do you feel about being placed just beside the blue lagoon, do you see them as a competition?

Well, my business is small and I want to offer a very homey feeling to our visitors. We want our message to be “Welcome to our home and to our seaweed bath”. Then it will be a personal experience, to have a bath at our place, and that is quite different in comparison to the blue lagoon.

I think I am more into this hippie style of bathing in nature, but I do not dislike the lagoon in any ways. But the focus point is the expensive set around the lagoon, but that suits many guests that come here. I think its just two totally different things in itself.

What about bathing in nature, do you like to do that?

I have a lot of interest in bathing in nature, Its all about your personal experience and how you feel about things. We are always being controlled in our travels nowadays. And you are “supposed to” experience and feel this and that, that is a box that I don’t like.

But on the other hand, there are many tourists that want to be controlled, and have no interests in taking changes. That’s valid, and has to be on offer actually. Most tourists want to do something that is knowned and see sights that are advertised for the masses. Some travellers know beforehand what they are going to do, but that is not my style when I travel. I love surprises!

So to turn to your business, do many know about your seaweed spa, is there a traffic?

Well, not exactly. The traffic goes up in the summer time though. I have been very quiet, and our advertisement has been low- key. There is this word of mouth element, I think that is a more honest way of building up a good business.

” I have always been a fan of the concept “enjoying the moment” “

Well we have customers that drive a long way, especially to come and bathe here in our seaweed spa. There is a guy from the North, he has skin eczema between his fingers, and he tells me that it disappears when he´s done bathing in our spa.

So what, you think of yourself as a hippie?

Well, I have always been a fan of the concept “enjoying the moment”, what life has to offer. We don’t have to have everything new and fancy around us, to score higher than our peers, or something like that.

For example, if you look at our kitchen interior, I bought it online from someone that was going to throw it away. I think things have more charisma if you multi- use things. Also, in my opinion, there is this culture of throw-away that I don’t like. You are not respecting the materials, you are not respecting the nature and you are not respecting the blood sweat and tears that went into making of things if you just throw them away constantly.

But as for the hippie concept, well I like to stir things up. If people get shocked or are in any way surprised, it simply tells me that they have taken a minute to look outside the box, and that’s a good thing.

Wow, that’s a great family portrait that you have on your wall! When did you and Nok meet, and how did it all happen?

Well, I was not looking for a wife actually when we met. Back in 1984 I decided to go sober in life, and started to think about what life is all about. I really wanted to experience other cultures and travel at this point in my life. There were two things that dragged me to Thailand originally. I wanted to see the joy those people have in their hearts, despite they live in some sort of poverty as it is defined and I wanted to meet girls but I had been shy in my life so I thought this would be fun.

“They are used to this, they know that I´m not “a usual” guy anyways, they are not surprised about anything anymore”

Then I met Nok, and fell in love. I came back to see her a couple of times, and then we took one year a part to test if this was really something, if this was real love. We couldn’t evolve our relationship in Iceland without marriage, so we got married and we are happy to this day. Nok had two boys before I met her, but we have one son together also. The family portrait is of us all.

What do the boys think about your business, your adventure having this seaweed bathing spa?

They are used to this, they know that I´m not “a usual” guy anyways, they are not surprised about anything anymore.

I´m looking out the window, what is that I see in your big garden, this strange metallic object? Is this the Peace- globe I´ve heard about?

Well, I´ve been studying my faith a lot. When I joined others in relations of being sober, I thought to myself “ugh, that’s a hassle”, when they told me that faith had something to do with this life without alcohol.

When I started to look into various faiths, I realized that it was all the same thing, for me at least. This metal object represents peace, because I believe that all humans on earth are living in the same bubble, and we are all the same at the end of the day.

The only thing we need, so we can have peace in the world, is that people take responsibility of one self by being peaceful. Then we can be peaceful and we don’t have to judge others if we think about it, really. You can write peaceful notes and place inside the Peace- globe, that’s a ritual that I really like, asking the greater force to give us peace. God for me is some kind of a life force, this energy that binds us together is the force, and we have influences on each other.

 Do you read those notes people put in there?

 No I don’t have the desire to do so.

So how do you like it in this town, is it strange for you?

Well, to be honest, I haven’t landed here quite yet in my mind actually. I´m loosing my other place in Álftanes so that has been taking a lot of our time. I´m very proud of what I did over there.

But this place, well, I haven’t been living in this small and quiet town before in my life. The energy is good, its more personal and the people are united. Last year we had many artist staying here making art, as we will again this summer. We have movie screenings, a man that made a documentary and invited the whole town to come and see it and so forth.

“Ideas are floating all around us, you just have to reach up and grab one”

How are they accepting you guys, into their community?

They are very polite. But many must scratch their heads and think, what is this spa about? But I´m not shy of being different.

Lastly, are you afraid of others stealing your idea of this seaweed bath?

Not at all. I think that ideas are floating all around us, you just have to reach up and grab one for yourself. If somebody would copy my idea, I would think to myself “Well my idea is good, I really like that somebody else is doing this too, can I help?”

What does the future hold for you guys?

We are here, and we will also be offering home made dinners soon in our other house. Maybe we will have a little hotel here somewhere along the way. The future is hope, goodness and seaweed bath! Now I see Nok has made us thai- dinner. Do you have any more questions? No, thank you very much, umm this looks amazing!


We drive away from Bogi´s and Nok´s place with warmth in our hearts and belly´s,
and when I look in the review mirror I can see Bogi standing on the steps,
still waving goodbye. His eyes are engraved in my memory, honest and lively.

icelandseaweedspa.com
facebook.com/seaweedbath

Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís

Icelandic photo-festival 2012 – a literal review

I was on a meeting, when they started to set up the photo-festival at Kex-hostel downtown Reykjavík. There they where, seven or eight people, fuzzing and buzzing about how to set up the projector just right. I thought those guys were hilarious. The first Reykjavík photo- festival was just around the corner.

On saturday night I popped in to see the show at Kex- hostel, there Jón Proppé started the show off by having a talk about the history of contemporary photography. I didn’t have the camera with me, I thought it would be too much, sitting in a room filled with photographers, taking pictures of them, talking about pictures. His lecture was inspiring and very informative, his view was from the top. The photographs projected at the show were amazing, the people watched many examples of contemporary Icelandic photography work with admiration in their eyes. The evening ended with an artistic best-off photography show from Voies Arles, France (the project manager of the photo-festival told me earlier that it was the sister festival to the Icelandic one). One thing that was great, was the dramatic and artistic music played under the shows, I think that it strengthened the atmosphere to a greater level of inspiring the visual experience.

Sunday came with its gray musky weather. I couldn’t resist of going to the Sundhöllin, swimming hall for dipping in, and watching the photography show on display, the theme being Icelandic swimming culture.


I laughed at the literality, yesterday I was afraid of photographing the photographers watching the best of photography, now I was in my swimsuit, taking photos of other people swimming with the swimming photographs on display! Wonderful! The only thing was, that this indoor swimming pool had too much light coming in from the windows, but the show was great. And what an idea! The culture of swimming and the swim suit fashion!

After drying up and leaving the pool, I just wanted to see one more thing. I went to Lækjartorg square, and saw the historic show, Kvosin for 100 years. I thought it was very clever to have the projector inside “the clock”, which is a famous landmark for us inlanders, a meeting point in the city. I loved how this history of this area was shown and it made me want to think about my craving of photographic displays in public spaces, outside.

Unfortunately, I didn´t see other venues, but I will be keeping an eye on the next photo-festival held! All and all I had a great time, and I wish all people involved in Icelandic photographic culture the best in having these kind of festives in the future.

Ása Baldursdóttir

photos: Ása Baldursdóttir

Rán

On a rainy day I met with a young red- haired lady, that runs Feima hairsalon
downtown Reykjavík. She has been doing so since she was 21 years old.
She has been figuring out how to run a business for almost a decade, how
to make it on her own. She is quiet and low- key in her manners but very
strong-minded about certain things, like the environment, style, happiness and hair.

Hello! Do you have an organic banana to go with my haircut? No, just kidding. So if I get it right, you are trying to be as green and organic as possible?

Everything we offer is organic for example organic coffee, tea, fruit and you name it for the customer. We buy fruits and vegetable from the green market and Yggdrasill, they are all organic. This concept, to run this green hair salon, is about preventing allergy and also to protect the environment.

We have been lucky enough to have a couple of different waste containers just outside the salon. Feima- hair salon emphasizes on being very conscious about waste and throw-aways of their material that is being used. You can call it my passion in my field of running this salon.

“I have always been against this

over- chemical world that we live in”

So, are you the only one that is running a green- salon in Iceland?

I really don´t know if there are other hair- salons in Iceland or if this is the only one, but I can assure you that if I would run the world, all hair salons would be green. There is no way to get this kind of certification here in Iceland and that has to change. I have always been against this over- chemical world that we live in. For example, I buy everything organic for my household and such.

How has going green affected you and your clients?

These products have been working well for people that have allergies, and especially for pregnant women, because their immune systems are sensitive and they are more likely to get stronger allergic reactions. Many clients feel less of a burning sensation in the scalp after colouring their hair.

When I think about it I often had headaches and I always thought it was because of my sour muscles. But when we changed the products that we use in the salon, they went away. These products are also much better for the skin. The purpose is to make the salon more healthier for the people that come here and do business with us.

Those who have allergies are better off working with these materials also, for example hairdressers that can´t work with chemical materials, but can employ themselves in green- salons.

So if you are a woman in the hair-profession, you could still work while pregnant?

If you are working in salon that is green or organic, you should be able to. Also as I mentioned earlier, if you look at the bigger picture this evolves around awareness about the world biosphere and so on.

I´ve been shown Danish studies that hairdressers, farmers and gardeners are more prominent to give birth to children with defects, for example on their genitals, and allergies. That is interesting, I must read these Danish sources then! We should all think about these things.

What does this Swan- certified logo mean?

It is the official Nordic eco-label. They have strict requirements to minimize environmental impacts and to ensure that the product is better for the environment and people´s health, without sacrificing quality.

It has also to do with the nutrient in products and to minimize the usage of hazardous substances. The main components that people are familiar with are parabens, which is a hormone disruptive chemical. Swan- certified products are free of parabens, silicone, sensitizing fragrance, hormone disturbing chemicals and known carcinogens.

“I think about trends in hair, my ultimate vision is to make the field of hair more health- orientated”

What products do you use in the salon?

I use Zenz Organic Hair Products and John Masters Organics, and the colours I use are called Elumen and logos. Some of the John Masters products have the USDA organic- certification and the Zenz products have the Swan- certification.

So, to turn to something else, how do you like to run this salon in this street, Óðinsgata?

I like to be here, in the heart of the down-town area. There are many hotels here, so that our clients are very various: travellers from all over the world, exchange-students from the University that live close by and people from this neighbourhood in a blend with our old customers. This neighbourhood is lively and our neighbours are friendly. The atmosphere is a little bit like a small-town feeling, I like it a lot. I think about trends in hair of course, but my ultimate vision is to make the field of hair more health- orientated, both for us that work in the field and for the customers of our services.

Well I almost forgot, how has it been running a salon for so long, you were so young when you started?

I was jumping in the deep-end of the pool when I started out in this business, I was young and had no experience of running a company. I am very glad that I did it, I have learned so much over this almost a decade. This experience has made me a stronger person that has strengthen me as a manager and the owner of the salon. My family has also always been very supportive, and always willing to offer a helping hand.

What is your passion in hair, what is your vision?

I think about trends in hair of course, but my ultimate vision is to make the field of hair more health- orientated, both for us that work in the field and for the customers of our services. It has also a huge say for the environment, imagine all the chemicals that are left in our nature systems by the industry!

 ”I think fashion and this green lifestyle should go hand in hand”

Fashion and innovation have always been a strong elements for me and Feima- salon. Well that’s given, if you don’t give attention to what is new and happening, you will be left behind in this field of work. I´m influenced by arts, fashion and trends. My favourite eras in hair, that always influence me in one way or another, are Charleston quotations, the rockabilly element and other things. I like to blend those references together with modern influences.

But all in all I think fashion and this green lifestyle should go hand in hand. Some think that it´s not hip enough or something, but it should be our number one fashion element today!

Point taken! 

Now, what about talking to the client, when in the chair. Can that be difficult in some way?

Well, that’s a good question. The hairdresser should be able to talk about whatever comes up at the time. Of course I have my own opinions, but at the same time I have to respect that the client has a totally different view on things. You have to listen to people a lot and be in the psychologist role in that sense. It’s a part of the profession. Some clients I have known for a long time, so we get very personal at times.

On the other hand, my clients get the lecture now and then from me, about this health and organic and green matters.

What about you, are you a healthy person? I heard you where straight-edge?

Well, I don’t drink and I am healthy in my lifestyle I guess. But I can tell you that I listen to death metal. But I don’t play that kind of music in the salon though.

“when everybody is out, and I´m cleaning up at night, the radio-station goes off and my metal goes on!”

This straight- edge concept, well I don’t think about it as a label. But when everybody is out, and I´m cleaning up at night, the radio-station goes off and my metal goes on in the salon! I really like that young kids are into this lifestyle though, and I thought of it as a brand myself when I was younger. Maybe I´m not the stereotype for the hardcore metal listener anyways!

What kind of music do you play then, at the salon?

I try to play mild music, but it has to be something that I personally like. Nick Cave is a good example, I mean, who doesn’t like him?

I have to ask you this. You are a red- head. Are there many red- heads in Iceland?

In my knowledge, there are unusually many, compared to other places. Maybe this has to do with our celtic/irish genes? I think stereotyping of red-haired people is very wrong particularly in the context of bullying, this hair-colour is and should be desirable, if something else. I think your red- hair is very noticeable and beautiful. Well, thank you! I think this red-hair war has diminished and this has become more sought after. There are many myths about natural red hair and I kinda like those.

I thanked Rán for the tour of her little salon while zipping up my coat. I end the day by walking Óðinsgata street to its end, with a passion inspired mind, thinking about chemicals, hair and the young Viking woman that walked the street proudly in her awareness- battle in the hair industry.

Feima
Óðinsgötu 7
101 Reykjavík

facebook.com/feima.harstofa
facebook.com/ZenzOrganicProductsIslandi
zenzorganic.com

Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís

Breakbeat.is crowd-funds Taktabrot

Breakbeat.is: crowd-funds the publishing of the Poster book Taktabrot

They have been active for 12 years in event control, radio programming- and website management. The people behind Breakbeat.is are now collecting funds to publish a book with posters, flyers and other printed material from the years 2000-2012. The concept of crowd-funding is about financing various projects through the Internet. Instead of looking for a bank or other sources it’s all about raising money for specific projects through many small donations. Funding will be accepted the whole month of February.

Here is a video presentation of the project:

Music: Subminimal
Video & Editing: Arnar Valdimarsson

Further information about the book
The book Taktabrot will include nearly one hundred Breakbeat.is posters, authored by sixty national and international designers and artists. All these posters decorated Reykjavík streets and walls of shops, schools and restaurants in this twelve-year period, as advertisements for events held by Breakbeat.is.

The posters are various, fun, innovative and exciting and have been nominated for many awards, appeared in numerous magazines and books, both domestically and internationally. They are also sources about the Icelandic dance-music scene for the last decade. The book-release party will be held on Saturday 24th March this year.

To help them out, go here: bok.breakbeat.is

Breakbeat.is offers three support packages:

* Those who support the project by 1.000 kronas (ISK) or more get their names on a special support page in the book and on the web.

* Those who support the project of 3.500 kronas (ISK) or more get a copy of the book when it releases.

* Those who support the project for 5.000 kronas (ISK) or more get a ticket to the book-release party, 24th March this year.

breakbeat.is: breakbeat music and culture in Iceland, especially drum & bass, jungle and dubstep music.

 

Icelandic web awards for 2011

Best web for editorial and photographic work 2011!

The Icelandic web-awards SVEF took place at Tjarnarbíó for the
11th time on Friday, February 3rd. Jón Gnarr, the mayor of Reykjavík,
presented the awards for outstanding webpages for the year 2011.

05

Ása Baldurs., Nanna Dís & Guðni Rúnar



Snoop-Around won in its nominated category, for editorial and photographic work.

We would like to thank all of our participants and readers for the year 2011,
and hope for a bright and exciting future for us at Snoop-Around.
Watch out, we are going to bring you great new interviews, happenings,
and people in 2012!

photos: Hannes Agnarsson
hannes.agnarsson.com