Read through archived FRONTLINE/World
conversations around this story, including responses from
Angela Kim - Irvine, California
This is why I love Frontline!
The report about the emerging Icelandic music scene was
refreshing and engaging. I think the entire Scandinavian
region has been putting out some amazing music. Artists,
like Radiohead, should also be acknowledged for bringing
experimental music overseas and having it more accessible
to a wider audience. I know I learned about Sigur Ros when
they supported Radiohead a few years ago. Hopefully, we'll
be seeing many of the bands mentioned on tour in the states!
Charles Macphee - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I found this segment very interesting especially the group
Apparat Organ Quartet since they remind me alot of the German
group Kraftwerk. Though several decades separate Kraftwerk
and this Icelandic group it is nice to see that music is
progressing in new and different paths. I hope that I can
see their music played in Canada at some point and I would
like to get a copy of the CD.
Keep up the great work on this program and all the best.
Iris Rollins - San Francisco,
I really enjoyed this piece on music from Iceland, I wish
all music from around the world can be more accessible to
America instead of being regulated by the establishment
that sells the music.
David Day - Somerville, Massachusetts
It was good to see Johan Johansson and Sigur Ros, but where
was the music of Mum? They are the hottest thing. It seems
Marco bought into the hype around the Apparat Organ Quartet.
The comments RE: Kraftwerk are appropriate, but Kraftwerk
was much more techno while Apparat is more progressive.
Werman's opinionating at the end ("adding an invigorating
sparkle to pop music that's been missing for far too long")
was especially hard to take. Simply because you haven't
been listening doesn't mean it hasn't been happening, Mr.
More stories on music, though. MTV has dominated the culture
for so long, it's getting pretty awful in top 40 land.
Thanks for your thoughtful comment.
We wanted to let you and other visitors know that we did
cover Mum on the Web site. You can read about them and
hear streaming audio here.
Manchester, New Hampshire
Thank you for such a wonderful report on the music of Iceland.
It makes me want to go there to experience such a unique
place of people and music.
Angela Trombley - San Francisco, California
Excellent report and refreshing! What a great time I am
sure you had! Let's bring the 'Quartet' to SF! Haven't heard
anything like that since Kraftwerk. However, these guys
are creative and different, that's for sure. Wish you could
just go around the world a do a one-hour show each week
on different music. So much more stimulating then the other
media ^%%!!!! being reported these days!
It is nice to finally see some experimental bands coming
out from the underground. I am most certainly a fan of Apparat.
Kate Sandman - Novato, California
Astonishing to see the diversity of and interest in music.
The Organ Quartet was particularly fascinating. Another
element that draws me to visit Iceland.
Hill Pride - Rockland, Maine
I was sooo pleased to see the story on Icelandic music!!
I have recently been listening to Sigur Ros and Mum and
I really like it. It's great to have TV like this. Hehe,
Peter - Newark, New Jersey
These Apparat guys sound just like Kraftwerk did 22 years
ago(with a dash of Vangelis thrown in to dazzle the "critic")...Marco
was probably not even born when the Apparat sound was...
Loved your piece on the icelandic music scene. There are
truly wonderful and innovative sounds coming out of there
and it's nice to see that acknowledged and reported on.
In general, I think Frontline is by far the best and most
informative television program I've ever seen.
Robert Wilks - Austin, Texas
I really couldn't believe Marco Werman's treatment of the
Icelandic pop music scene. He kept describing the Avatar
(sp?) Organ group using words like "avant garde" and "experimental".
My friends, this music was done by Kraftwerk over 25 years
ago -- please! There is absolutely nothing new or experimental
here. It is irritating to hear commentators on both PBS
and NPR gush over artists who create nothing but tired old
cliches. It just so happens that there IS a truly innovative,
imaginative musician from Iceland, possibly the freshest,
most creative popular musician in the world today. Her name
is Bjork, and she was barely mentioned in this piece. How
can Mr. Werman call himself a "music critic" and be so unable
to tell the difference between originality and mediocrity?
Reporter Marco Werman responds:
Glad to hear you like Bjork. You're
right. She continues to be fresh. Bjork, as I pointed
out at the beginning of last night's story, is the best
known of Iceland's artists. She has one box set of her
work and a greatest hits album. To me that indicates she
doesn't need a lot of publicity. The Iceland Airwaves
festival presented nearly 80 bands all from Reykjavik,
very few of whom have ever been introduced to this country.
One of the problems with the inward-looking culture of
the US is that we are fed a single artist from an "exotic"
country, and that artist in turn somehow becomes representative
of all music from that country. It's not a fair way to
judge the body of art from a place. Is it right to think
that all Senegalese music sounds like Youssou N'dour?
Is Yungchen Llamo the only singer in Tibet? No and no,
but when you go to the bins in the World Music section
at the record store, you'll find that those two dominate
the Senegal and Tibet sections.
You are correct in hearing echoes
of Kraftwerk in Apparat Organ Quartet. But the similarity
is only superficial. Where Kraftwerk was a group of guys
doing electronic rock, Apparat is a group of guys who
are preserving old technology with the conscious purpose
of making a statement about disposable society. As for
experimental and avant-garde: check out Apparat's entire
CD, and then listen to what Johann Johannson of the band
has done with his other project, "Motorlab3", with composer
Barry Adamson and Finnish electronic artists, PanSonic.
I think you'll hear what I mean. By the way, I've never
considered myself a critic, just a reporter of musical
trends around the world. Thanks for watching.
White Plains, New York
Maybe I didn't hear enough of Apparat Organ Quartet, but
they reminded me of a lightweight pop clone of Kraftwerk
- the German band from the late 70's. Not that that's bad.
But "Stereo Rock and Roll" isn't in the same league as Autobahn,
or Trans Europe Express.
I liked the music by Apparat Organ
Quartet, but it's not really anything new....
'Orbit Rain' - Bliss
Reporter Marco Werman responds:
Hi White Plains,
I agree, Apparat has a Kraftwerk
sound, but I wouldn't call them a lightweight pop clone
of the German band. Unlike Kraftwerk, Apparat has a conscious
philosophy about why they make the music on the instruments
they use (old Hammonds, Farfisas, even Rolf Harris's famous
1970s stylophone). That philosophy was best summed up
by Johann Johannson at the end of lastnight's story: the
beauty is in the fallibility of the old instruments that
many people might just throw away. The band came together
by that belief, but also by a more progressive feeling
that many Icelanders seem to possess that the world is
dominated by the economics of a disposable society, and
that even musicians can do something to change that. I'd
encourage you to take a listen to the story I produced
for the public radio program The World on Apparat Organ
Quartet where some of these ideas are further fleshed
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