Deconstructing The Band
by Ryan Reed
Sigur Rós’ sixth studio album, Valtari, closes with eight minutes of crawling, pointillistic ambience called “Fjögur píanó” (translated in English to “Four Pianos”), a track built almost entirely on four gorgeous piano lines that trickle like waterfalls—one part played by each member of the band. It wraps up Valtari (“Roller” or “Steamroller”) with a moment of reflective calm, notes twinkling and decaying in jagged harmony.
Slow-motion soundscapes are nothing new to the critically-adored Icelandic quartet, who perfected the art of extended, dream-like suites on 1999’s Ágætis byrjun and its polarizing,...