Sun. May 26th, 2024

Renowned For Sound

For the latest music reviews and interviews

Live Review – GusGus – 20th October 2023 – Electric Brixton, London, UK

4 min read

Iceland has long been known for its heavy output of unconventional musical artists. Carrying the weight of eccentricity and musical ingenuity over the years, the likes of Sigur Ros, Ólafur Arnalds, Of Monsters and Men and of course, Bjork have helped shape the world’s view of Iceland’s contribution to the arts. To join those world-renowned beacons of creativity are electronic outfit, GusGus who, over the course of the last 25 years, have turned out some of their native Iceland’s most celebrated records and have become the country’s leading techno pioneers.  The line-up of GusGus is forever changing but the foundations set by of Birgir Þórarinsson, who has been the only constant of GusGus since its inception in 1997, along with Daníel Ágúst Haraldsson, who has been present for all but a several year break in the early noughties, are the super glue that holds the techno outfit tightly intact and on a constantly fresh stride through the electronic landscape.DanceOrama is the collective’s latest concept-style studio offering and ahead of its release on November 10th, the band – currently consisting of Þórarinsson, Haraldsson and newly recruited Margrét Rán Magnúsdóttir – are on the road to gift their fans with a taste of what’s to come, as well as trapsing backward throughout their long career and touching down on musical milestones and gems from the bands impressive and uniquely sculptured back catalogue.Main players at some of the most unique events and festivals around the world, London’s turn to host the trio finally came with Electric Brixton taking the honours to accommodate the electronic outfit as they brought DanceOrama to fans for a rare performance in the UK. Those very excited ticketholders filled the venue early to catch the bands set which kicked off at around 8.15pm with opening floor filler Featherlight.
The Icelandic trio took fans on a journey through many of the outfit’s studio albums over the course of their 90-minute Brixton performance including, surprisingly, only new single When We Sing and Unfinished Symphony joining the set to carry the promotional weight of DanceOrama. However, the new pair of songs sat confidently amongst career notables like Arabian Horse‘s title track, near closing number Deep Inside and album hit, Over with frontman Haraldsson’s distinctive and pitch perfect voice soaring over the crowd as fans either held phones in the air to film the band or found themselves completely lost in the moment; dancing or snogging someone next to them as Haraldsson encouraged the audience to “get lost in feelings and emotions” and to celebrate “our night”.

Mobile Home‘s juggernaut and Magnúsdóttir led, Higher was the clear crown taker of the night with its steely production perfectly fitting for the metallic stage of Electric Brixton as the singers emotionally charged yet defiant vocals propelled us through the industrial infused masterpiece. With the bass heavily reverberating through the south London venue, the song – taken from one of the bands most underrated yet perfectly shaped and executed records – took over the crowd as they watched in awe of the singer’s effortless ability to hypnotise a packed venue of fans that were in absolute worship of her performance.

The manipulation of genres and twisting of soundscapes has become synonymous with the work of GusGus’ 11 studio albums to date. This fearless approach to experimentation is very much present on new album DanceOrama and translated heavily into the collectives live show. GusGus transported the sold-out Electric Brixton crowd into a mythical world overflowing in pulsating techno, imagination and goosebump-inducing euphoria, complete with a backdrop of some of the most incredible lighting we have ever seen in a theatre style venue that only equaled the venues crisp, high-end sound system that Þórarinsson took full advantage of as he held centre stage – the captain of a very tight and unified musical ship.
As we quickly approach the bands release of DanceOrama, we also enter a new era for one of the electronic world’s most iconic acts. Having been lucky enough to get a pre-release copy of the album (and having it on repeat every day since), the world of experimental techno is about to be flipped on its head once again. Fingers crossed we don’t have to wait so long for another show because as far as 5-star concerts come – the bands Electric Brixton performance was the absolute cream of the crop!
Setlist:Featherlight
Over
Arabian Horse
Simple Tuesday
Higher
When We Sing
Unfinished Symphony
Lust
Add This Song
David
Deep Inside
Moss