October 26th, 2007

  • lizhand

Live from Reykjavik

Actually, I felt more DOA when I returned several days ago. Touched down in Boston with the flu, felled by a potent viral cocktail of exhilaration, exhaustion, smoke inhalation and alcohol. Been in bed since then, which has given me a lot of time to feverishly brood over the acts I saw at the Airwaves Festival.

Reykjavik is an intense city, the best simulation of life in an offworld colony that I can think of; at once aggressively vibrant and also the most incredibly bleak place I’ve ever seen — it makes the Maine coast look like Ibiza. Architecture tends toward the sheet metal/quonset hut/basalt block school, though the Nordic House gallery, where I caught several acts on Saturday afternoon, was by Alvar Aalto and adds a sleek edge to rusted corrugation. The surrounding frozen-lava landscape resembles shattered tarmac, with gray crashing waves in the distance, and the bus trip between Keflavik airport and Reykjavik is like a coach tour of Mordor. Factor in an exchange rate where a dollar gets you a derisive look, and what’s not to like?

Unlike NYC’s CMJ festival or SXSW, Airwaves doesn’t seem to be primarily an industry affair (yet); more a homegrown celebration.
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