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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 1 November 2007
I'll level with you straightaway. I couldn't give an unbiased Sigur Ros review if you pointed a crossbow straight at my temple and told me your trigger-finger was well itching. I love them. I love their music more than any other music I have ever heard in the four decades I've been around. I wouldn't care if every other band I loved vowed only from this point on to only record covers of Chas and Dave records. As long as I have Sigur Ros, I am happy.

So it's no surprise I give this five stars. If fact I would give it six, seven if I could. Hold on, no wait! I've given it FOUR! What am I doing?

Well, it's not often that Sigur Ros disappoint me. Not since, after wearing out "Agaetis Byrjun" and "()", I finally got my hands on "Von" - the first album, and played it, and discovered it to be by the world's only Curve tribute band (and a bad one at that). But the Hvarf half of Hvarf-Heim is not Sigur Ros anywhere approaching what they are capable of. It's merely a collection of b-sides (if they released singles, that is), the final track - Hafsol - having been released before. If Hvarf-Heim had just been Hvarf, then I would have felt cheated.

Now we come to Heim. Oh dear Lord. Having listened to these six songs I know that I cannot listen to them again, tonight. Sigur Ros's music has such a way of reaching deep into you, finding your heartstrings and plucking them without thought of mercy. But somehow these acoustic versions of old favourites sound so raw and honest that hearing them just leaves you breathless. Samskeyti, the first track, is also known as Untitled #3, and the version on "()" is sublime enough, but on Heim, without the effects and the loops and the little Jonsi bits alternating between your left and right speakers, it transcends the sublime and becomes something of pure loveliness. Just the notes, just the music. It's a stunning thing to hear. The rest of the tracks take the same stance, with Sigur Ros even performing a miraculous rescue of the mundane "Von" from that tepid first album. At the end of it your ears feel like they've been repeatedly slapped by a huge Icelandic haddock, or you're that boy at the end of the "Saeglopur" video, drowning in an aural sea of bliss.

Well, I'm glad that's off my chest. Six stars for Heim, but only two for Hvarf, making four. I'm off for a little lie down.
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on 5 November 2007
For the record I'm a huge Sigur Ros fan, I love all the albums (including Von) and I was very excited about the Hvarf portion of this double disk set.
However first I must mention the Heim side. Acoustic live takes of previous album tracks could have gone either way, thankfully they turned out great. Samskeyti one of my favourite ( ) tracks shines out for me and the other tracks show a different, slightly more vulnerable side to the originals.
Hvarf was what I was really interested in however and I must say I was really overwhelmed in parts. Salka starts of things very nicely with some really powerful passages before current single Hljomalind cuts through, its a great track full of sparkle. The next track I gaer is a completely different prospect altogether with sinister xylophones in the intro with a almost Muse feel before a wall of Glosoli style noise smashes the thing wide open. Its great stuff. Then the reworking of Von and Hoppipolla b-side Hafsol finish up proceedings nicely.
All in all its a 2 disk summary of everything that makes sigur ros an amazing one of a kind band...Now i just wish my copy of Heima would arrive!
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on 8 November 2007
Well there I was purchasing it on the day of its release, havent heard anything about it. I was expecting big things..but not in the way i was expecting. It more like a re-mix album...bring the old stuff to a different audience..its great...a bit dissapointed of not having lots of new material to get my teeth into but I am sure it will come at some point soon.

For all those who havent seen them playing live, the live tracks are a fantastic representation of what they do on stage..if they tour the UK soon..Ill be there and you should too..
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on 25 January 2008
I absolutely adore this band. There is something deeply moving about their music that sends shivers down your spine and makes your hairs stand on end.
This album, of course is no exception. Their formula of creating ambient, post-rock music, that is clearly inspired by their home country of Iceland, seems to me to be one that is incapable of ever dissapointing.
The first CD Hvarf, is an excellent collection of new songs. They are slightly rockier and edgier than alot of their previous material, but it is deep, interesting, and of course beautiful.
The second CD, Heim, is absolutely staggeringly brilliant, and if it was released on its own would be worthy of 6 stars, never mind 5. It contains acoustic versions of songs from their previous 4 albums. They have not chosen obvious songs, which I admire, and the one they have chosen I simply cannot fault. Perfect choices.
And they execute them to perfection. As a live band, they are something to behold and are clearly brilliant musicians, and they pull the songs off acoustically so so well.
If you have been a fan of anything Sigur Ros have done, this is an essential purchase, if for nothing else, just for the 2nd disc.
It only gets 4 stars not five because the new songs aren't quite up to the standard of the previous 3 albums, but never the less contains some fabulous moments.
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on 25 April 2008
This collection is worth getting, whether you're a die-hard Sigur Ros fan or a newbie, even if it's for just one track: Í Gær

Listen to it and prepare to get blown away....

Í Gær is also getting some airplay on TV as promo music on one of the terrestrial channels...
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VINE VOICEon 9 November 2007
So, Sigur Ros are never a band for doing things the conventional route. They could have returned oh so quickly with a new album, on the back of their songs being used from everything from the X Factor to Planet Earth. Instead they release a DVD and this, a two disc collection that feels like an affirmation of their unique and engaging musical vision.

Two discs that are different in tone - 'Heim' is compromised of B-Sides and other rarities. This is an interesting disc, but occasionally feels like a 'completists' selection. Individually the tracks are as mesmerising as ever, but there isn't really enough focus here for something on the scales of () (and possibly that wasn't the intention). If i was to pick out individual moments, I would say that 'Staralfur' is engaging as anything Sigur Ros have done and 'Von' typifies their approach to the swells and falls of achingly beautiful music.

'Hvarf' is an 'acoustic' disc (both cds are wonderfully sepearted by a fantastic double sleeve), that takes many of Sigur Ros' tracks and seeks to reinterpret them in a much rougher and organic sense. The results are occasionally mixed, but a comparison between 'Von' (also on Heim), exemplifies the subtle and delicate approach of this second disc. The stripped back nature suits songs from () ('Samskeyti' and 'Vaka') and sheds light on lesser known songs that were originally found on their debut album.

Its fair to conclude that Sigur Ros' 'EP' or 'transitional' CD between 'Takk' and whatever lies next, feels anything but samey. This is vital for Sigur Ros fans and still compelling to those that are unfamiliar with their work. As others have wrote - its hard to be objective about their work, because at its route is something compelling and vital. Certainly worth a listen.
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on 11 November 2007
If you don't like this music, if it doesn't touch your soul, then you are probably dead inside. Some of their greatest work packaged into this one little album. Short on numbers, but my goodness me the phrase 'all good things come in small packages' certainly takes on a whole new meaning here. Listen to this before you die.
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VINE VOICEon 15 November 2007
I didn't know quite what to expect from this double-album. One album of studio recordings of live favourites - 'Hvarf'. The other a live album - 'Heim'. Hhhhmmm.
I certainly didn't expect anything quite so stunning, beautiful and incendiary. 'Hvarf' is wonderful beyond words - this is what music can be at the utmost points of feeling and emotion. It touches deep in the heart, in the soul. Music where you feel transfixed and unsteady on your feet after hearing it - it will reduce you to tears such is its impact.
'Heim' is lovely too - with all kinds of instrumental variations on known themes.
But 'Hvarf?... the sun, stars, moon and beyond...
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on 10 November 2007
What can I say about Sigur Rós that has not been said already. This band and their music deserve your attention. I don't think the term 'brilliant' quite covers them. It's hard sometimes not to think while listening to tracks such as 'Von' or 'Samskeyti' to name but two, that maybe there are higher powers element of the divine inspiring them. This double album is certainly a tale of 2 halves...2 different sides to the same coin. Once again Sigur Rós and their wonderful backing band Amiina have the ability to musically take you inside yourself and tug on your heart strings. You will not regret buying this...or for that matter the fabulous DVD 'Heim' a true work of art.
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The common complaint which seems to be levelled at this album is that much of it is old material. This is correct, but this isn't your normal run-of-the-mill "best of" compilation. Instead, the album features a couple of new tracks, some old tracks played acoustically, and also some radically different versions of old tracks. The tracks from "Von" in particular are just superb here, its title track and "Hafsol" being two of the best cuts on the album, and even as a fan who owns all of their stuff I loved this album as though it was full of brand new material.
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