STAFRÆNN HÄKON, "...'Skvettir Edik à Ref'"

Journalists invent music sub-genres when they get tired of comparingmusical artists to another musical act. While Icelander OlafurJosephsson is once again showcasing his amazing playing, arrangement,and compositional talents for his second full-length disc as StafrænHákon, it's painfully difficult to escape the comparisons to Mogwai.(In addition, it's rather ironic than Josephsson now makes Glasgow hishome.) All of his music is instrumental once again on this, his firstrelease to be put out through somebody other than himself. For tensongs, the guitar and effects-driven melodies are a blissful wash ofdrifting audio landscapes. It's quite easy to get completely lost inthe music's beauty. Numerous songs like "Tætir rækju" pulse with asubtle beat and move within somewhat predictable, and enjoyable whilebeat-less tunes like "Grifflur" are chilling and turbulent like thebright moonlight reflecting off of cold, icy waters. With the additionof organic drum work and chiming sounds, however, songs like the closer"Safi" are unmistakably resemblant of Mogwai's tunes from their EP +release. There's nothing unpleasant about any of the songs, but what'slacking perhaps is an element of the unexpected, the unpredictabile, orchaos. There's so much that can be done with this music, but Josephssonchooses a route which leaves most of the music completely as is. Whileit may reduce the chances of being accused of being gimmicky, it doessound derivative. Skvettir Edik  à Ref is a good second albumand will surely please a ton of fans of the more gentle side ofinstrumental guitar music. There is a load of potential for StefrænHákon to be amazing but it's just not quite at that level yet.