Starting with the impressively monikered Forest Swords, actually Matthew Barnes from The Wirral and his bassist pal, is a hell of a way to start. Despite bass that vibrated my corneas, Forest Swords layered sounds, twisted and weaved over electronic beats sounded terrifying and intense. Thor’s Stone sounded awesome.
I catch some of Fufanu over in Andrews Theater, but the young Icelanders are not cutting it, with too much going on, including techno squeaking, an over-active drummer and an unnecessary trumpet. Less is sometimes more.
Sin Fang seem a little lost in the expansive hangar, which is a real pity, as I’m a fan of anything Sindri turns his hand to, not least his latest album, Flowers. He doesn’t seem to know where to put himself, and the crowd responds accordingly.
I return to Andrews Theater for Kría Brekkan. Quite possibly the quirkiest act I’ve seen all weekend, Kristín Anna sits alone at her piano like a rare exotic bird, constantly tweaking bits of gadgetry, whilst delivering childlike vocals in a seemingly endless stream of consciousness. It’s not without charm, but can feel a bit like you are invading her personal space.
For A Minor Reflection have been around for a while now, and have a back catalogue to draw upon. They do, and the trademarks gained by touring with Sigur Rós make for a tight, thrilling show with impressive visuals to go with their post-rock. A mid set technical failure threatened to upstage the whole thing, but actually just caused them to play with renewed energy. The last track, untitled and new was as blistering hot as the molten lava on the screens behind them.
I Break Horses is Maria Lindén from Sweden, with two lads who she seems to have insisted wear their hoodies with hoods up at all times. I was hugely surprised with this group—I wasn’t expecting such a presence; Maria commands the stage like a woman possessed whilst the music is swirling synths and clever beats. I really enjoyed their set, with stand out tracks being ‘Denial’ and closer ‘Winter Beats.’
I leave ATP confused. The venue is an odd choice, and I’m not 100 percent sure it works. It’s location is far from ideal, and at times, it still feels and looks like the abandoned air base that it is. Thursday felt a little flat, whilst yesterday was buzzing. The music however has been hard to beat, with winning sets from Mogwai, Low Roar, Spiritualized Acoustic Mainline, For a Minor Reflection, I Break Horses and the mighty Portishead. I took a walk in downtown Reykjavík earlier today; all I heard was talk of Portishead and ATP. That, I think, is a triumph.
Edward Hancox lives in the United Kingdom with his wife and two small, noisy children but spends as much time as he can in Iceland. Music—especially contemporary Icelandic music—is his other passion. He writes about both subjects for Iceland Review and in his debut book, Iceland, Defrosted. He does not consider himself an expert on anything.