During the series of free gigs around the country they created a concert film that doesn't quite follow the usual standards of the genre. They concentrated on the people, the places, and the amazing country around them, and the beautiful film Heima was born.
Throughout all of this is the music of Sigur Rós, and if you aren't exactly sure who they are, chances are that you've heard their music. Songs have been used in films such as Vanilla Sky and for the BBC's flagship wildlife series on television.
Usually their performances are on a large scale, and their sound is often accompanied by a strong visual experience that can often be overwhelming, so this concert marked something else that was rather special to fans and band alike. They performed on a much smaller and intimate scale, sometimes on their own and at one point they even performed acoustically.
The performances aren't just straight band performances in front of the camera, they are mixed with stunning cinematography showing off Icelandic landscapes, the audience and some aspects of Icelandic history and life.
These moments are beautifully edited together and compliment the music wonderfully. Music or not they are fantastically filmed and provide something that visually very strong for between the musical performances. Some of the scenery could have been shot for an Icelandic tourist video, they definitely make me want to visit the country.
The band perform a number of songs, not all are full length performances, and they perform in all manner of locations. From inside a large oil vat in a deserted fish factory, to a protest site at the foot of a large dam, all the way through to the performances in village halls and the final stadium performance in Reykjavik.
All the performances are strong, and the music haunting. Combined with the images you find an audio/visual treat that really does act as a great opening to the band's music, or if you are a fan already, something different and very personal from the band.
Iceland should be proud, not only of what the band has achieved, but also of how they portray this beautiful land.
The picture is superb and the colours are wonderful on the large screen LCD. You would almost think that some of the images of the countryside have been digitally manipulated because they look so rich and cinematic.
Some of the shots simply astound and really do fill you with the desire to visit the locations and see them first hand. It also holds well during the performances, coping well with the harsh stage lighting of the stage show and the intimacy and darkness of the performance in the oil vat.
The images never seem out of placed with their corresponding musical piece, and the filming and editing work have been finished to a high standard.
DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1, PCM Stereo
Often it seems as though the performance audio has been remixed and mastered for the performances as they sound so good, even when they are sitting out in the middle of an open valley playing acoustically. However the audio commentary tells you otherwise for some of those scenes, and it is surprising.
Although there's not a huge usage of the DD or DTS speakers in isolation, the overall effect of such haunting music combined with the superb visuals does give rise to a very sensory engaging film with some definite mood affecting moments.
The audio of the performances has been well produced, and with the sound surrounding you and filling the room, it really does build up a strong audio and visual experience.
Audio Commentary from the band's manager John Best. Full length performances of some of the songs from the film including some exclusive performances as well as the new track Heima, all with audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1
The audio commentary is quite light, with only the band's manager talking you might think there was little of interest, but actually he does have some interesting points to make about the music, the tour and the locations. One of the benefits of the audio commentary is taking you through the strong cinematography once again, and sometimes with a few additional insights.
On the second disc some there are a collection of performances gathered together and played out in their entirety from start to finish, including the short pre and post clips. These provide more for the fans of the music, as well as a little more of the imagery of the film. They are in exactly the same style as the performances on the main disc, just from start to finish without being cut down in any way.
So often I've seen concert footage that relies on one or the other, or relies on the video experience of the concert to come across on DVD the same way as it did at the event. This definitely combines unique audio and video experiences into a beautiful partnership.
I had never heard of the band beforehand, although on listening I recognised some of their music, and I have to say that I’m not a big fan afterwards. The music was enjoyable, but I won’t be rushing out to buy their albums, that’s just my personal taste. What is interesting from this though is that I loved the DVD experience.
The images combined with the music make for a wonderful look at an amazing country, with fantastic cinematography, editing and audio mixing, the overall experience is surprisingly strong and engaging.
For fans of Sigur Rós I would say that this is a must have, and for those who aren’t, it still provides a great experience for the eyes and ears.