Hard to say, but a debut as intriguing and engaging as this is a bit awkward to meet after having reviewed a second album that, by recent comparison, feels like a toning-down of things. It feels like chronology has been denied for a purpose, though. “Itemhljóð & Veinan” is more intricate, more of a statement about who or what AMFJ is and what he is all about. The man has a character all his own that becomes sound after unheard sound, something that makes me consider this Iceland native very valuable. He might not say it, not directly, but one can tell that Adalsteinn is out to innovate. It can not be any more clear. This debut tape plays on side A Jeksola Buzz-forged tracks that are difficult to pin down stylistically, but that are so unique and sometimes exciting that it doesn’t matter what you call it. Whereas “Baen” was a very masculine effort with all the noise and force, this is a side that illustrates the kind of structural ingenuity that makes Jorundsson’s material so noteworthy. Much more electronic-sounding, but side B is a section of live performances that see Mr. J. turning into what he wrought in his second effort, “Baen”.
There exists a high level of manliness that intrigued me with the discovery of this project, and I know now the root of this musical disposition. “Itemhljóð & Veinan” is a remarkable tape because it immediately displays the majority of Adalsteinn’s fortitude in sound. Upon first and especially after repeated listening, one would not think that a man laden with so much musical muscle would need any push of any sort, so I admire the info shared with the release, insight that warmly acknowledges the help he got, even that our artist didn’t even name himself. “AMFJ” came from FALK friend Blaldur Björnsson, and Einar Valur Aðalsteinsson was gracious enough to lend his abilities with programming to really make the work all it can be. The weaving of elements into a very electro-centric cassette brought to light such tight and sinuous tracks as “Klasar”, the best track, as I consider it. This song happens to sum up the totality of AMFJ (IS) to date, with its Moroder-style sequencing, sweeping-synth accents, and best of all, the icelandic glory of Adalsteinn’s vocal stylings.
This is followed by “Ég Er Guð”, one that starts in a rather seductive way in a minimal drone, pulse and what sounds like hi-hats being treated with some kind of chorus effect, then added to with a style less attributed with an unwavering sermon quality, and more like a lullaby. His great voice lingers enough to draw you in, stretching his notes elegantly, and then things get ugly. Dark, rather, betraying what was just before with a down-tuning and distortion of words. The remix included of this one is also a worthy inclusion, toned down, but taken elsewhere, a place more artful. Funny when you think about how side B then gives strange new life to the tracks preceding, with the basics still intact, but with the artist practically rushing down to hell, the vocals more processed and filthy and growled up from God knows where deep within. An excellent debut. I thought I was a fan having experienced a sophomore effort, but now I feel this man can’t throw out another soon enough.
Written by: Rexington Steel
Label: FALK (IS) / Format: 40 x Cassette, Limited Edition / Cat. # – 03/14/13/0C/00-28
01 Forspil / Intro
02 Ég Er Fastur Í Endorfínpolli
04 Ég Er Guð
06 Ég Er Guð (7oi Remix)
07 Ég Er Fastur Í Endorfínpolli (live)
08 Klasar (live)
09 Ég Er Guð (live)