Catchy melodies and euphoric compositions constitute Stafrænn Hákon´s sixth album, Sanitas. The songs are yet intense and powerful and an adventurous continuation of Stafrænn Hákon´s last release, Gummi that Gaz – eta described as a wild ride the band again took the listener on. Stafrænn Hákon has through the last years been described as a mix of post-rock, lo-fi, ambient guitar & electronica which still holds true to some extent though he with each album takes a giant leap and keeps growing as a musician. On Sanitas, Stafrænn Hákon travels to the other side of the sound spectrum, gradually moving further from electronica, subtle compositions and soothing melodies towards more straight forward, rock orientated compositions which the artist himself often describes as Power-Ambient, currently only audible to left handed polar bears. On Sanitas, Stafrænn Hákon continues his explorative journey, this time by taking another daring but natural step towards more pop oriented and singalong melodies, something that a few years ago sounded unlikely for the ambient post-rock/electronica band.
Stafrænn Hákon continues sliding a comic or surreal twist to the songtitles as in previous records, challenging the epic and dreamy connotations his music has always been ascribed with. Humour in combination with sincerity has long been some of Stafrænn Hákon´s driving forces, a twisted combination that reflects a personal nuance for those curious to dig deeper into the mindworld of the man behind the band.
The songs on Sanitas build on certain elements from Stafrænn Hákon´s last album, Gummi, songs like “Second to none” with heavy guitars, layers of instruments and vocals that this time are further explored, thickened and hardened. Stafrænn also takes a step into a more darker place where elements of doom metal can be heard on the track “Val Kilmer” who was a huge inspiration for the recording sessions of Sanitas. The last album, Gummi, was described by Angry Ape as “a grandiose statement from an immensely talented musician. Rich in instrumentation and choc full of gorgeous, chiming melodies”, and “stuff so wonderfully blissed out, I’m not sure how it could be improved upon. This stuff is way beyond quality”, by Black and White magazine”. On Sanitas, the compositions move from subtle background music towards more aggressive and up front music with popular references and a faster tempo. The melodramatic atmosphere has stepped aside for upbeat songs with sloppy guitar solos and a sharp focus on the songs´ structures, again inviting the listener on a new and most rewarding journey.
The Icelandic born Ólafur Josephsson has been recording music since 1999 and is the mind behind Stafrænn Hákon. Since his first release that created a hype around it´s lo-fi DIY production in 2001, Olafur has travelled from Iceland to Scotland, to Denmark with his mobile home studio and is to take another journey in the following months, resettling in Iceland where …
Samuel White and Olafur Josephsson continue their close collaboration – a childhood friendship, that developed into a creative partnership keeps growing and developing. Samuel composed 4 tracks on this record that are in line with his former compositions, but this time more upbeat. As the producer of Sanitas, Daniel Lovegrove has undeniably become a vital part of Stafrænn Hakon, with his intense drumming and extensive arrangements, including vocals on 2 tracks as well as playing bass. On Sanitas we see fantastic contributions from Lárus Sigurðsson (a member of the side-project Calder) with his rich acoustic instrumentations, as well as vocals from Minco Eggersman and Magnús Freyr Gíslason. Stafrænn Hákon has collaborated with a broad range of artists and musicians and was aired at the late John Peel´s radio sessions amongst others. He has released material on The U.S based indie label Secret Eye, Resonant Records, Awkward Silence, Chat Blanc, Japanese Nature Bliss, and now for the first time on Darla Records (U.S & EU) and Happy Prince (ASIA).