Something very special happened on Thursday night (17th May). Prior to their May 29 release, as a way to wet the world’s appetite for their sixth studio album, Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Ros hosted a rolling hourly event for fans across the globe to hear their new album. At indie record stores, on the band’s website and at dozens of participating radio stations, Sigur Ros fans were exposed to the beautiful sounds of Valtari, and encouraged to post to Twitter and Instagram about their listening experience.
Starting off in New Zealand, as they were the first to reach 7 pm, ‘Valtari hour’ (as it was dubbed) was a huge success. At a time where a bands precious music so often gets leaked online and downloaded illegally, Sigur Ros strived to reclaim the buzz for its release date, and create a real excitement around the album launch. In my opinion, it did just that.
In what seemed like a worldwide Mexican wave of airplay, Sigur Ros managed to capture the magic of new years eve, with thousands of fans across the world waiting for the clock to turn 7pm so they could hear the much anticipated play of their beautiful album tracks. Unaware of the excitement to come, I was listening to BBC Radio 1 as I usually do, and at exactly 7pm, Zane Lowe introduced Sigur Ros’ new sound to the UK. I was immediately transfixed on the beautiful sounds coming out of my car radio. And what was even more special, was knowing that I was participating in a worldwide event, just by listening. Hour by hour, each country across the globe got to collectively share in my experience as the Valtari love was passed on. What an ingenious 24 hour marketing campaign from their record company.
If you are lucky enough to be going to Bestival this September, then you will get to hear the band play their first UK show for over four years. But for those, like me, whom are not as fortunate, get ready to close your eyes and let those elegiac chords suspend your subconscious..