Ágætis byrjun (Icelandic: [ˈaːucaitɪs ˈpɪrjʏn], A good beginning) is the second studio album by Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós, released on 12 June 1999. The album was recorded between the summer of 1998 and the spring of 1999 with producer Ken Thomas. Ágætis byrjun represented a substantial departure from the band's previous album Von, with that album's extended ambient soundscapes replaced by Jónsi Birgisson's cello-bowed guitarwork and orchestration, using a double string octet amongst other chamber elements. Ágætis byrjun became Sigur Rós's breakthrough album, both commercially and critically. It received a 2000 release in the United Kingdom and a 2001 release in the United States. According to their label Smekkleysa, the album sold 10,000 copies on its first year of release in Iceland, earning the band platinum status. It won numerous awards, and has appeared on multiple critics' lists of the best albums of the 2000s. Ágætis byrjun is the band's first album to feature keyboardist Kjartan Sveinsson, and their last to feature drummer Ágúst Ævar Gunnarsson, who left the band several months after the album was released. Gunnarsson was replaced by Orri Páll Dýrason in the same year.Wikipedia
The sound of midnight in the wintertime, being alone without being lonely, a calm darkness with nothing insidious hiding in it. Absolutely marvelous.
oh wooooaaaaaaw this is the kind of thing I was hoping to find on this excursion. An unusual and exotic band, something I have never heard before and instantly have a connection with. I really enjoyed this, and can't understand a word he is singing... but somehow I get it. Isn't music just amazing. gibberish out of 5
Ágætis Byrjun is a triumph of engineering and arrangement, but most of all, it's a triumph of imagination. For sure, you can trace Sigur Ros' antecedents in My Bloody Valentine, Mogwai, and other similar post-rock bands, as well as ambient and industrial music, but the widescreen cinematic dreamscapes of Sigur Ros are unique to them. How do they pull it off? It sure isn't the melodies and the harmonies, which are standard issue. It's more the ever so patient accrual of layers of bowed guitar, keyboards, strings and horns, all played legato, and how all of it is recorded through echo and reverb and other production tricks. The breakout track is the title cut Svefn-g-englar, which steadily builds to an epic conclusion slowly dying away. At over ten minutes, it's long for a pop tune, but the running time goes by in a flash because the music lulls you into a trance state. Not all the tunes on Ágætis Byrjun are as timeless and wonderful, but there's plenty to enjoy here. Ágætis Byrjun is an amazing breakthrough which has inspired dozens of bands--the reverberations are still being felt today. 4.5/5
-Aged very well -Calm and soothing -Clear production -Easylistening
Unremarkable orchestral stuff with dreary guitar stuff and whiny vocals. I saw these guys live when I was going through a brief post-rock phase. They put on a big visual spectacle show, but I honestly can't remember what I ever enjoyed about the music. I guess it felt like serious, artistic music to me at the time, and I was a try-hard. But it's really the most insipid elements of ambient, classical and rock brewed together into a weak and unsatisfying infusion. Couple of interesting brass moments, and one or two tracks were the vocals actually sound alright - but these are dribbles of interest in an overlength ocean of tedium.
Ethereal Millenial Soundscape. Very cool all around, a little hard to listen to all the time. Very, Very good though.
Vous qui fréquentez ce site connaissez très bien mes goûts et ma personnalité. Et je pense qu'aucun d'entre vous n'aurait parié sur le fait que je puisse adorer cet album. C'est pourtant ce qui s'est passé. J'ai néanmoins été déçu d'apprendre que les paroles qu'ils baragouinaient n'étaient en rien de l'Islandais mais bien une langue inventée de toute pièce, ce qui ne m'a pas empêché de relever quelques fautes de grammaire.
Highlights: Starálfur, Flugufrelsarinn, Viðrar vel til loftárása I have no idea what they're saying, or what language (It's Icelandic, in case you were wondering) but it doesn't make any difference because Sigur Rós' moody, atmospheric downtempo transcends language, invoking a sense of wonder and serenity. I can't help but to try and connect with the music...My own interpretation is that Starálfur ("Staring Elf") transports the listener to a celebratory fireworks display so lifelike, you can almost smell the sulfur and feel the night breeze on your cheeks. Flugufrelsarinn ("The Fly's Savior") continues later in the same night, deeper in the dark, at the water's edge. My interpretations don't really matter, though... This is right at home with the likes of Halou, Flunk, Zero 7, and Theivery Corporation, and will be including more in my downtempo playlists.
Coincidentally been listening to this (for the first time) recently. Very chilled and cohesive. Definitely added to my favourites.
Ágætis byrjun by Sigur Rós (1999) It’s a rare album that can induce tears on a first listen, but this is it. A first person narrative beginning in the womb, a boy anticipates nativity with an awareness of transience, reticence, impatience, and the explosive violence of birth, followed by experiences of the comforting softness in his early sensations. Then, as a toddler, an awakening in his nursery room is marked by the image of an elf running toward him, strangely without getting closer. And in his reflexive effort to check his surroundings, he notices that something is missing—the walls. And we’re only four minutes into the third track. I strongly recommend listening to this album while following an English translation of the lyrics (unless, of course, you know Icelandic!). The dramatic development of the narrative is set to a composition that makes just enough contact with Western traditional music to keep it accessible, with string octet, bowed guitar, and brass ensemble providing the dominant settings. Not without horror, disappointment, and reverie, Sigur Rós walks us toward a celebratory contentment with what God provides. I won’t spoil any more of the experience of a first listen, other than to say that this slow tempo sonic masterpiece will take considerable time to absorb. En það verður ei gott að fórna sér Dagarnir eru langir (But someone has to sacrifice himself The days are long) 5/5
Familiar with a couple of Sigur Rios songs but first time listening to this album, wow, so atmospheric absolutely a masterpiece. Can see me listening to this a lot this year.
Sigur Ros is Icelandic for Sugar Ray.
Ooh, this was honestly the definition of atmospheric. Made me feel at peace. Singer is brilliant. 4.
Feel like I aged 100 years listening to this. In a good way
This album starts off like a tornado and smacks you in the chops. It’s loud and brash and in your face. It’s thrashy and punky and a little bit screamy. Normally this combination would induce an excited curiosity from myself and these tracks did just that...but that was all. I just can’t find anything worthwhile or standoutish. The songs speed along happily enough, but leave you feeling unsatisfied and with an empty void. 2 Stars!
Agaetis Byjurn and Godspeed You! Black Emperor are 2 of the most well received records that do absolutely nothing for me. I know the orchestration sounds terrific, and the strings, pianos, flutes create beautiful harmonies, but it's just incredibly boring to me. I will not listen to 9 minutes of pretentious ambient noises to wait for a climax that won't come, in a language that I don't understand again, to see why people love this so much. 2/5.
When this was released I thought it was deep and emotional but upon relistening it appears fucking insufferable. Nice music, but those vocals? Drunken elves.
I thought I would like this more than I did.
This album is just too slow for my liking. Not really a fan.
Mental icelandic orchestral cinematic sounds. The singing is a bit irritating. I liked the batteri and bamm bamm bamm
A womb with a view. I eat placenta on a daily basis. It goes best with vinegar and brown rice. Yum.
You could probably sleep to this. Very slow, quiet songs. All in Icelandic or whatever.
Listening to this album, waiting for something that never happens. Letdown.
The most demanding album I've come across so far on this generator. 1. It demands to be listened to with headphones. 2. It demands to have your undivided attention, while doing very little to grab it and hold on to it. 3. It demands you stay awake throughout the album, which too is no easy feat. 4. It demands you look up the English translations and make an attempt to decipher it's cryptic lyrics to follow the themes and stories. 5. It demands that you be in a certain type of melancholic, vegetative mood, but again, do not drift off to sleep! I'm sure for the listeners able to meet the above 5 demands, it would be a very rewarding listen. Unfortunately for me, I could only really meet 2/5 on any given day.
A little dull, sometimes repetitive. Cinematic, but what’s the point?
I fell asleep. Tedious stuff that goes nowhere. I get what they're trying to do, it is not for me.
pretty but just overall generic and boring
I get a slow build but having to wait 20 minutes for anything resembling tempo was just annoying. An exercise in patience and futility.
Long and Boring. That’s all I can say about this album.
relisten. very pretty album! tracks 2-4 are basically perfect (9/10 but its a lame five point scale)
Staralfur and Olsen olsen are personal standouts, but ALL are great.
One problem that a lot of atmospheric albums have is a lack of discernible melody, which is not a problem here. They've successfully created soaring music that still qualifies as music, which is nice. I feel like I need more than one day to properly digest all of it, which is usually a very good sign. Here's a fun game to play if you only speak English, like I do: Try to figure out (without cheating) which songs are sung in Icelandic and which are sung in their made-up gibberish language. Best track: Olsen Olsen
Ghostly and one of my all time favourites. Great band from the 2000s era.
did not listen but is sigur ros cowboy
Classic. My foray into post rock. I love this album.
i absolutely love the ethereal dreaminess of the whole thing.
Chillax music, great when high!
this is so pretty
Wie in einer behaglichen Kapsel echolotet man umwabert von Oxytocin Schwaden durch die Kathedralen von Drone, atmet tief und weit und tränenverhangen. Auf die Frage, welches Instrument man hiernach lernen möchte gibt es nur eine Antwort: Wal. 5.0
very nice, unusual, but enjoyable
really liked this! Maybe 4.5 stars 1. cool intro music 2. I kept thinking this one was in English but the end that sounded like heartbeats getting faster was super cool 3. more heartbeat sounds and awesome strings, this is my favorite so far 4. I'm liking the wind sounds and how somber this one is. The vocals are really cool, this was my favorite of the album 5. started off so gentle, I liked that better than the heavy drums. Nice horns though 6. funky beat, I like it. the static at the end didn't feel particularly good 7. the beginning felt almost like when the sun comes out after a big storm?? I also liked the dissonant strings at the end 8. nice and chill 9. "Ágætis Byrjun" apparently means "good start" which I just think is sweet 10. the outro to this was super interesting
Absolutely beautiful album from start to finish.
Ben ik bevooroordeeld omdat ik al in IJsland ben geweest en ik mij spontaan de landschappen terug voor de geest haal bij het horen van deze muziek? Misschien...
goated, if only their other albums were as consistent as this
Very spacey? cool! genuinely so good. ny batteri was my favorite but the later songs in the album were super good too its all good
beautiful and mesmerizing. sounded like the ocean.
Sigur Ros, always a classic.
Very nice! Haven't listened to this album yet, but quite a big fan. Definitely can tell that Bon Iver has been influenced by this.
I love this album and play it regularly for relaxing, yet touching and inspiring background music.
Love this album to death. 5/5
Yaaassss. Absolutely yasss!
Ive loved this album since the first time I listen to it. Someone once described it as "the sound of melting gold cascading down an iceberg" or something like that.
How have i not heard this before? A treat start to finish.
This was such a gateway album for me… I still remember the room I was sat in when I first heard it 20 years ago. Just perfection!
You either love this dream pop Icelandic faerie stuff or you hate it. You can guess where I fall. (Re-listening to this album after over a decade brings back so much emotion… I almost cried for my lost youth during starálfur.)
Quietly intense and beautiful.
I remember the first time I heard this. When his voice comes in on the first song I'd not heard anything like it. Excellent
kyllä tää on varmaan kaunein albumi jonka tiedän.
Love it obvs
What a piece!
Listening to this makes me realize why I bought the head sets that I did and the speakers that I did. It evokes a sense of curiosity and fills me with cathartic energy... my own personal musings about leaving the work that i am tied to and exploring the world greater.
A great album from a great band, brilliant end of the night listening.
Transcending, otherworldly, it was something i have never heard before, i have loved every single minute of it
Five stars. An all-time classic, and a personal favorite of mine. As is usually the case with those classic albums, I won't write a full-blown review here given that others have already written wonderful stuff about them and there's not much I can add that I feel could be relevant and interesting. Àgaetis Byrjun is just a timeless gem aimed at anyone who's into Sigur Rós or even post rock at large. Go and listen to this record a.s.a.p. Number of albums left to review or just listen to: 955 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 21 (including this one) Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 8 Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (many others are more important to me): 14 Albums I might not be the best person to judge, but that I *might* include in my final list: 3.
The first time I checked this album out was upon watching the Pixies documentary loudQUIETloud, in which the Pixies were followed in Iceland going to meet Sigur Ros in their studio almost in a pilgrimage way. I don't remember seeing the Sigur Ros bandmembers on screen but I remember going WTF after hearing this. I also remember my friend saying exactly the same. I sure wasn't expecting an ambient album, and never played it again. Last year, someone suggested me () and my opinion about the band changed, but it wasn't until I received this vinyl copy that I really came back to Ágætis Byrjun (I just copypasted the title, it seems impossible to retype!). It really is an album that deserves to be listened on vinyl, and I was wrong: it is not an ambient album, there is so much more about it. I don't know if it's Iceland that do this to musicians, but the first impression I got is that it's heavenly, cold and warm at the same time, as if it were reflecting the sun at midnight. It's just majestic. There is a dream-like quality to this music. No surprise that they cite Spiritualized as one of their influences, but still, sonically, there is almost nothing on this album that could ressemble that band. I was about to go through every single track and try to describe them only to discover that it would have been a useless exercise: here, the music speaks by itself. I cite from the record booklet: "... we had our own idea of what a song was about... because of how it made us feel. Like, underwater, or a womb-like floating feeling". And I couldn't agree more. I still struggle with long albums, but this one went down much better, and that's surely positive.
Holy shit. 10/10 I know an album is good when my first impressions of it are "Wait.. this could be the best album I've ever heard in my life"
Angelic, etheral, divine! One of my all time favourites.
Jebena najveća petica na cijelome svijetu i svemiru. Spoznala sam značenje života kad sam poslušala ovaj album prije 7 godina. Vidjela sam boje koje nisam znala da postoje. Upoznala sam vraga i rekao mi je da su Sigur ros njegovi anđeli koji su otišli jer su imali ambicije u glazbi. On je bio okej s tim jer su toliko dobri. Kad Jonsi krene sa svojim falsetom dođe mi da se rasplačem ko beba. Ne znam koji kurac se događa tam na Islandu al oni očito znaju neš što mi ne znamo.
I remember my sister being a big Sigur Ros fan when I was a kid/teen but I never really listened to them myself even though I'm a pretty big post-rock fans and these guys are some of the pioneers I'm told. I regret not getting around to it sooner immensely. What a chillingly beautiful album throughout with loads of great, unique ideas. Think this will only grow with multiple listens but I am in awe. Need to check more albums from them ASAP.
This is what all those lofi ethereal playlists are going for huh? I fucking wish I could understand the vocals, but this sounds so good.
Una obra de arte
Very fond of this album.
minne meg om videregåande såg dei på bergenfest for nåken år siden, var bra såg kygo utenfor strippeklubben på vei heim
Elemental, beautiful, atmospheric, idiosyncratic. It is what I imagine the ambient sound in Iceland to be!
I can only assume this is what the soundtrack to life in the womb sounds like.
Pretty, in icelandic, radiohead pablo honey-esque
This morning I was walking in the nearby wetlands, on a foggy morning. Revisiting this album. I almost forgot how warm, ethereal and beautiful music can make me feel. This is one of the most amazing pieces of music ever made.
Já við þekkjum þessa
I just deleted all my notes accidentally oh my god here we go I could never really get into sigur rós because of the new language thing but I think it is cool in concept The instrumentals fit the singing well in almost every track The new language is kind of growing on me now I like it I kinda like how each track is really long for some reason The singing is really well executed even though I dont understand it I enjoyed this project way more than I thought I would and I really loved it I am blown away 10/10
This dreamscape they created is the most unique sound to come out of music in decades
Aged wonderfully since I first heard it years and years ago. Beautiful, cathartic, classic.
Peaceful. Inspiring. Dreamy. Hypnotic. Magic. Essential. Breathtaking. Wonderful. Post Rock. 1999. Sigur Rós. Ágætis Byrjun.
Atmospheric while also never just melding into the background.
The best. I am so glad to revisit this album with more mature ears.
I _really_ like me some cinematic post-rock, and this is a great album, sure, but its inclusion on the list throws into sharp relief all the other bands from this genre that have been omitted. We could comfortably halve the number of albums by white (mostly British) guys ripping off the blues in the 60s and 70s and include more representatives of splinter genres, and that would make a much more interesting list... So, this 5 star review is dedicated not just to Sigur Ros, but to Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai, Do Make Say Think, Mono, A Silver Mt. Zion, Explosions in the Sky, and 65daysofstatic! Fave track - "Svefn-g-englar", I think - I coincidentally rewatched "Vanilla Sky" between listening to this and writing the review, and it's used excellently in the film...