NPR Second Stage Features New Song "George Harrison" This Week
The Magical Fourth LP, Mugiboogie, Is Out July 22nd On Ipecac Recordings
Rolling Stone (David Fricke) : "Icelandic singer-songwriter Mugison already has a reputation abroad for bleak magic, on record and in solo appearances with acoustic guitar and laptop. But in his headlining set at the Art Museum, he came out swinging like a country-blues Led Zeppelin, armed with a muscular backing band of electric bass, pedal steel guitar and cannon-fire drums." -
Pitchfork Media : “A bona-fide pop star in Iceland”
The Face (UK) : “Combining the most artistic electronics with the most intense production. Think Bjork, Beck, & Captain Beefheart and beyond...”
Paste Magazine : “Mugison handles falsetto delicately and precisely, and yet the moments where his crooning escalates to a scream don’t seem out of place.”
The Legend Of Mugison…
When Tom Waits astutely pointed out that “no dog ever pissed on a moving car” Mugison must have been nodding in bemused agreement.
Impulsively nomadic, creatively restless, Mugi is the kind of post-modern dude that flows with the flux - one of those ants-in-the-pants artists that naturally negates stagnation and actively seeks out new challenges.
His two key albums to date - 2003’s “Lonely Mountain” and 2005’s “Mugimama: Is This Monkey Music?” (released on Matthew Herbert’s Life? and Accidental & IPECAC labels, respectively) are significant snapshots of the Icelander’s maverick style. Delightfully shambolic, they both evince a passion for provocative sonic mischief as well as good old-fashioned songwriting.
Mugi’s endearing DIY ethic (he taught himself everything he knows) allows him to haphazardly hurl everything from glitchy electronica and avant-noise to Bonnie Prince Billy-esque ballads and soaring choruses into his sorcerer’s saucepan. Somehow it all fits together, for he is the Mugician.
In the three years since touring “Mugimama…” he settled in Sudavik, a miniscule fishing village in the remote Westfjords, raised a family, traded his laptop for a flesh-and-blood rock & roll band and set about reinventing himself and his sound. The result? One of the great rock & roll albums of the century.
“I listened to hundreds of CDs,” says the maestro. “I became aware that artists like John Lee Hooker, Hendrix, Screaming Jay, Bowie, Dylan, The Beatles, Aphex Twin, Björk, Sepultura, the Pixies and Tom Waits all had one thing in common: they were all expressing true feelings and there were no compromises.”
“Mugiboogie,” his third official solo release, was recorded in his home studio, which offers views out onto silent, ancient fjords. Mugi put everything he had into the project. He worked 16 hours a day, started drinking and smoking again, and didn’t just flirt with a nervous breakdown but got into bed with one and spent quite a bit of time fighting to get back out.
But the aim - to achieve something classic, something visceral and “beyond the norm” – was ultimately achieved. Click-tracks were foresworn to get that old school standards feel. Songs were played over and over again until they were perfected, exorcised of any superficiality.
“There was to be no time reference, no time frame,” says Mugi. “The lyrics had to be straight to the point and all the songs played with eyes closed and always in a state of emergency. I had to ensure that all pretentiousness was deleted from the songs. All nearly’s, all maybe´s. Every song had to sound like it was the last song I’d play if the world was going down.”
Brimming with emotion and freighted with recognizable musical references, “Mugibogie” is a mind-trip back to yesteryear when music was free from categorization, when gothic guitars towered and scintillated and when you could hear guts being spilled out all over the record.
From opener “Mugiboogie”, with its swirling Hammond, wailing guitar and loping drum rhythms to the foot-tapping blues of “The Pathetic Album” and the grindingly sensual “Jesus Is A Good Name To Moan,” plus a couple of seriously heartfelt ballads, Mugi has crafted a modern classic.
The record has already sold over 10,000 copies in Iceland alone. When it’s released internationally next month, you’ll feel the earth move too.