07.28.2014 — “Úti” by Hugar


If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Úti” by Hugar (2014, from the album Hugar).

Hugar is a neo-classical/post rock instrumental band from Iceland. The core of the band is Bergur þórrison and Pétur Jónsson. They’ve been playing music together for several years, but just put this project together in 2012, recruiting lots of help along the way. They recorded some demos in a friend’s basement, and before they knew it, they had an album. They just released the self-titled album

I had never heard of Hugar until I got something in the mail bag today. I actually got a couple of submissions from Iceland today. There’s barely 300,000 people in all of Iceland, and it seems like every one of them is in a band or is doing something else creative. I don’t speak any Icelandic, but a quick internet search tells me that Úti means “there”. I also learned that the band name Hugar means “mental”.

Although they’re not quite as “classical” sounding as The Rachels, and not quite as avant-garde as Efterklang, Hugar reminds me of both of those bands. At least in some small way.

I’ve listened to most of the album tonight, and so far, this is the song that has jumped out at me the most:

“Úti” by Hugar

I like how the stringed instruments slowly work into the mix, and by the end of the song, they’re totally at the front and center of the mix.

I have no idea what this song is about. Sometimes, instrumental bands will tell you that their songs definitely have narrative. Others will tell you that the songs are about whatever you want them to be about. Whatever the case may be, I think it’s about something that’s horribly sad but still has some beauty. I imagine a movie with a woman drowning in a frozen lake. That’s the tragic part. Then the camera zooms out to show lots of freshly fallen snow, the sun just coming up and lots of birds and deer doing bird and deer things. That’s the beautiful part juxtaposed against the tragedy.

I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing that this album is meant to be listened to as a whole thing. That’s how I do things anyway, despite my work on this blog where I focus on individual songs. The good news is that you can download the album for free from the band’s website here. You can also use bandcamp to “name your own price” for the download here.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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