Guitarist Marc Ribot is a man so prolific that it’s impossible to assign him a genre. Whether rock, jazz, world, or experimental, his music always bears the mark of a master.
CeramicDog, his outfit with Shahzad Ismaily and Ches Smith of Secret Chiefs 3, plays a brand of guitar-driven experimental rock that speaks to the body. Your foot taps, the distortion wails, and before you know it, you’re sunk into the voodoo haze of an auditory bayou.
Icelandic singer and multi-instrumentalist Ólöf Arnalds has crafted an intimate and lovely sophomore record, Innundir Skinni, released on the London-based label One Little Indian. Arnalds, a touring member of Múm since 2003, follows up Við og Við – voted Iceland’s Record of the Year in 2007 – with nine songs produced by Sigur Rós keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Kjartan Sveinsson.
Classically trained on the violin and viola, and self-taught on the guitar and charango, Arnalds enlists the help of fellow Icelandic musicians Skúli Sverrisson, Davið Þór Jónsson, and Björk as well as Secret Chiefs 3 contributor Shahzad Ismaily.
Innundir Skinni – “Under the Skin” in English – is largely an album of balance, of the ebb and flow between quiet moments and orchestral bursts. It’s a calm yet affecting album, due in large part to Arnalds’ vocal charm. For the many instruments she plays, her most enchanting tool is her voice — at times folksy and melodic, at others high-pitched and lilting – drawing comparisons to Kate Bush and, in rare moments, Joanna Newsom. Yet her style, acutely Nordic, is distinctly her own.