Sigur Rós will self-release their ambitious new live album and film ‘Inni’ on 7th November. It will be released on the band’s own Krunk imprint in all territories around the world except American and Japan where it will be released on XL and Hostess respectively. ‘Inni’ could be described as either the first-ever Sigur Rós live album, or second live film (the follow up to 2007’s acclaimed Iceland tour film ‘Heima’). In fact, it’s both: a 75-minute film and 105-minute double live album of the band captured in full flow at the close of their last tour in November 2008, here housed in one single package.
Filmed at London’s Alexandra Palace over two nights by director Vincent Morisset (Arcade Fire’s ‘Miroir Noir’), the film ‘Inni’ would best be described as the anti-‘Heima’. Whereas that film took a band about whom the world knew little, and placed them in the cultural, social and geographical context of their homeland (with winning and humanising results), ‘Inni’ strips away everything save the raw performance of the four musicians themselves. Where ‘Heima’ was widescreen and open, ‘Inni’ is close and single focussed.
This is intentional. For a while ‘Heima’ was successful at “explaining” Sigur Rós, it was less so at communicating what it actually feels like to “watch’ Sigur Rós perform. That is the job of ‘Inni’. In order to accomplish this goal, Morisset has taken his time and employed a number of different analogue post-production techniques to create an emotional understanding of being inside the room and going ‘inside’ the music. (‘Inni’ literally means ‘inside’).
Unlike many concerts, watching Sigur Rós is seldom a communal experience; it is instead almost claustrophobically inward looking and intense. By almost entirely removing the crowd and any sense of place, Morisset brings you closer than ever to the players, using multiple camera angles to reveal in sometimes minute close up the concentration and effort involved in delivering such a powerful rock show.
Originally filmed on HD digital, ‘Inni’ was first transferred to 16mm film and then projected and re-filmed, again on 16mm, sometimes through glass and other objects to give a strong impressionistic look, a feat accomplished with the help of Godspeed You Black Emperor’s live visual collaborator Karl Lemieux. The film was then meticulously pieced together by ‘Heima’ editor Nick Fenton, who chose to break up the flow with unexplained archive footage, including interview and concert material from before the band’s exposure to the wider world at the tail end of the last century. It’s worth mentioning also that the film has only one song in common with ’Heima’ (the closing ‘Popplagid’) and that it draws for the most part on the darker end of the band’s material. The double live album by contrast, covers the entire Sigur Rós spectrum over its hour-and-three-quarters duration, played in the same order as on the night. Mixed by Sigur Rós house engineer Birgir Jón Birgisson, ‘Inni’ the album stands as the definitive Sigur Rós live recording to stand against the welter of bootlegs available across the web.
The performance captures the band playing as a stripped down four-piece for the first time since they were joined by string section Amiina at the start of the decade. This boiling down makes ‘Inni’ a forceful and primal proposition, much at odds with the popular misconception of the band as purveyors of emotional heft for film-makers and television programmers in need.
The album features 15 tracks, with songs taken from all five of their studio albums. There is also the bonus of an unreleased studio track in the form of ‘Luppalagid’, which is used both over the credits of the film and as the ultimate track on the album