Kaktus Einarsson (Iceland) - ‘Kick The Ladder’ (single from forthcoming album)
Most of you probably won’t recognise the name Kaktus Einarsson, but followers of the Icelandic music scene will have definitely come across him before, courtesy of his involvement in the always excellent Fufanu, who were probably one of the 1st bands I wrote about in NMR late in 2014, courtesy of an appearance at Iceland Airwaves.
I’m going to take a wild guess that it was that appearance rather than our feature that resulted in them signing to One Little Independent Records early in 2015, and they gained themselves a reputation as a really hard working band, with tours (and some one off appearances in London if I remember), live performances at festivals, support slots to Blur and many others – as well as their recorded releases obviously.
Anyway Kaktus Einarsson is releasing his debut solo album in May, and from it he’s released a single entitled ‘Kick The Ladder’, an impressive sophisticated release, with an expansive yet laid back sound. There’s two versions, a radio edit and a longer version that you can really immerse yourself in. You can guess which one I prefer obviously.
Reading up about the album after I’d heard the single makes me even more intrigued and interested to hear it, as it blends together both classical and pop techniques, as Kaktus explains.
“I was using my knowledge of extended playing techniques and the contemporary repertoire, and getting them into my pop music. We replaced synths with acoustic sounds that are familiar, but unfamiliar in many ways. It’s all organic, there are no artificial effects: we created all the effects with this one instrument, the grand piano”. He then explains in detail all the ways they managed to get sounds out of the piano, from ‘bowing the strings inside’ to ‘using it as a drum machine’.
The album covers some interesting topics, which hopefully we can write about in May, and it was produced by Kaktus alongside Swiss electronic composer Kurt Uenala aka Null & Void – his production credits include Depeche Mode and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
For now we can just enjoy the single, it’s easy listening melodic indie / alternative music but not quite as we’ve heard it before.
Oh and I almost forgot the video, very cleverly put together by SnorriBros and Tomas Tomasson, and shot, apparently, with ‘anamorphic lenses in a super wide ratio‘. To be honest it looked pretty rubbish on my 9 year old work issue HTC phone, good on an IPad, and even better I suspect if you have a 65inch TV or greater.