Monday, November 9, 2009

2007 : 23 "Sexfaldur" by Amiina

If M.I.A.'s Arular was the first album I ever bought on the strength of tracks downloaded from MP3 blogs, then Amiina's Kurr was the first album I ever bought on the strength of hearing tracks through a streaming music service, specifically, one of those websites that builds up a profile of what you've listened to in the past and then puts algorithms to work all in the name of figuring out what else you might want to hear. You liked Band X? You might like Band Y. That sort of thing.

The fact that these services exist still strikes me as quite amazing. Some virtual bot somewhere is hard at work identifying patterns in some vast torrent of data, just waiting for me to query it as to what it thinks I'll like? Even if the outputted results were crap, this would still qualify as a sign that we're living in a piece of science fiction. The fact that the outputted results are good— that a band like Amiina was among the first results the service ever gave me —is even more stirring: it fills me not just with wonder but also hope. We're in the future, and it isn't totally broken!

Amiina is a group comprised of four women, best known for their occasional service as Sigur Ros' backing band. Their music has all the elements that I admire in Sigur Ros— mystery, grandeur, icy beauty —with very little of the (masculine?) showboating that I sometimes detect in Sigur Ros' work: consequently, they're pretty much a perfect band to serve my way.

There will be some people who lament a culture in which people get our music recommendations not from other people but from robots. That may, in fact, be why you're here, reading this. So this is me, a fellow human, telling you that I think you should buy this record.

Jeremy Bushnell

Listen: Amiina >> "Sexfaldur"

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