CMJ, once a college radio trade publication available only in print, has since turned into a music events and online media company. The company runs a website and hosts an annual festival in New York City, which promises to bring emerging acts into the spotlight for industry operators, radio programmers, managers and label executives. In the past few years, the acts have become increasingly international, as the bands are using it as a way to break into a new market. There have been artists sent in from Ireland, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan and, of course, Iceland.
Sigtryggur Baldursson is the managing director of IMX, Iceland’s music export office. At this year’s festival, he was able to send out three Icelandic groups: Fufanu, Mammut and the one-woman act dj. flugvel og geimskip (Airplane and Spaceship). Though Fufanu and Mammut are already on labels, all three bands arrived to experience valuable music collaborations to help their careers along as they break into a new market. The night was well-stocked as well with bottles of delicious Brennivín and Icelandic Glacial to help further push the Icelandic atmosphere.
Fufanu is a two-piece alternative band who found their roots in techno and now create joy-division-like “psychedelic bummer-rock” with a backing band. Mammut also started smaller, as an all-female vocals-focused trio and evolving into a five-piece band who turn out unique, slightly distorted songs with a steady grip on melody. Airplane and Spaceship, a mischievous individual, enjoys performing “grimes-like falsettos over tangled electronic beats.” The music across these three bands strikes a perfect representation on what the sounds of Iceland have to offer us in the here and now – with everything from pop-electro beats, to post-punk sounds, to psychedelic experimentation.
Here’s to hearing more of Iceland’s unique music at next year’s CMJ Showcase!