Reykjavík Grapevine - 07.01.2006, Blaðsíða 4

Reykjavík Grapevine - 07.01.2006, Blaðsíða 4
LETTERS Complaints, criticism, suggestions, praise, money, anything at all: Contact or send your mail to: The Reykjavík Grapevine, Faxagata 2, Faxaskála við Faxaport, 101 Reykjavík. I read your magazine, and have  often commented on the high level  of journalism within its pages. I am  however, today, somewhat morti- fied by the rubbish you have allowed  thru the editorial filter, regarding,  specifically, the ‘album review’ of  Kira Kira’s ‘Skotta’.    In Grapevine, it is generally  obvious to me that the writers are-  A), Interested in what they are writ- ing about.  B), Researching their material. C) Combining their research with  well-formed opinions (that while not  always agreeable) deliver something  that is both informative, well-writ- ten, well edited, and personal. This is what makes Grapevine worth  reading.   Your review of the recent Sigur  Rós concert was obviously written  by someone who knows about their  music, who is a fan, or at the very  least has a rudimentary understand- ing of what they are about. If you  were to send a journalist who listens  to Lenny Kravitz and Norah Jones  along to review Sigur Rós and they  returned with something to the ef- fect of ‘...An unintelligible made up  language wailed over 70mins of slow  boring music that all sounded the  same and horrible’, there is no way  you would let that pass... because  simply, they would be conveying an  opinion, which while valid, has no  frame of reference and would serve  absolutely no purpose to a reader  base who generally-speaking would  not agree, not to mention it being  highly disrespectful to the artist.  So then, we come to the album  review section- Journalism, this is  not. It is blatantly clear from the  ANONYMOUS reviewers writing  (a point I will return to shortly) that  he or she has absolutely no under- standing of the material they are  dealing with and therefore no refer- ence points, or relevant and therefore  valid opinions to draw from when  approaching this work.   The review of Kira Kira’s ‘Skotta’  album should command the same  level of respect as say, Sigur Rós, but  it does not. There is no mention of  who she is, where this music is at- tempting artistically or perhaps some  contemporaries or previous releases  from which to draw comparison.  Furthermore, the writer obviously  has NO interest in, or understanding  of experimental or electronic music.  -Why are you running this review?   -What purpose are you serving in  running it?    You have not informed me of  anything and you most certainly have  not served the artist either... -So who, or what does this review  stand for?   It would take one phone-call, 2  minutes on Google, or even just a  short walk down to Smekkleysa to  pick up a press release, to find out  that the incredibly talented young  artist behind this release is Kristin  Björk, one of the founding members  of the Kitchen Motors Collective  (undisputedly one of the most im- portant driving forces in experimen- tal Icelandic music today), and one  of Iceland’s most interesting artists.  You might also discover from this  press release or phone call (Research-  anyone?) that this album is in part  drawn from a score Kira composed  for a contemporary dance piece...  which goes a long way to explain  both the ‘mercifully short length’, the  overall form and the ‘random bits of  noise’.   There is NO mention of ANY of  this in your review. WHY NOT? Furthermore, to add insult to  injury, the writer responsible for this  abominable piece of rubbish doesn’t  even have the decency (or guts?) to  sign off on the review... I suppose it  makes it easier to be lazy uneducated  and slanderous when you don’t have  to be responsible for it. So editors,  what are you going to do about it?  Ask yourselves would this review  make it into The Wire or Rolling  Stone...? NO.    As I see it, Grapevine currently  stands on a precipice, due largely to  your generally high standard of jour- nalism and investigative reporting  you have a real opportunity to take  stronghold in the Icelandic media  landscape and establish yourselves  as THE REAL newspaper, THE  REAL critical eye and ear, THE  REAL news source- that extends  far beyond the tables of Prikið and  Day-packs of German tourists. However, this review only serves to  put Grapevine right where this kind  of writing belongs-  ...Lining the cat-litter trays of 101. Ben Frost Dear Ben Frost, First, I’d like to apologize to you, Kristin, and Sindri Eldon: You are a reader offended, Kristin is likely an artist offended, and Sindri Eldon is the CD reviewer who has had a disservice done to him because his name didn’t get printed through a layout error. Our new design team is excellent, but due to my own errors, I gave them a few stories late, and there were a few errors. The Grapevine does NOT publish anonymous articles—all opinions are the reviewer’s own. As for whether Sindri Eldon is qualified to review Kira Kira—while I like your comment about sending a Lenny Kravitz fan to review Sigur Rós, this is not analogous to what happened on this particular occa- sion. Sindri Eldon has a great deal of knowledge about this particular style of music. He also knows who Kira Kira is. The reason his review did not grant the respect that you as a fan might have hoped for is that he did not find sufficient qualities in the music, for the reasons he presented. Great artists make bad art; our belief is that the art must be evaluated on its own. You refer to other magazines. Rolling Stone is a good magazine, but they have been irrelevant for the last thirty years. Mr. Wenner, the publisher, has a staff of old men, and people who want to be old men, and they like music by old men. The second best album of 2005, according to them, was the touchstone ground-breaker A Bigger Bang, by the Rolling Stones. Seriously. So to answer your question about what would run in Rolling Stone magazine—not one of our articles would be boring or irrelevant enough to run in Rolling Stone. (The Wire, however, is a strong music magazine. To test your theory on what they will print, we will send Sindri’s review along to them as soon as possible.) Ultimately, I sympathize with you, Mr. Frost. You care about music. We do too. Our reviewers are required to spend an extraordinary amount of time with each CD, and all reviews are discussed in the editorial office at length. Disagreements are welcome, and we’ll print any dissent. But here’s the real problem: I realize that when we cast our opinion, we have an undue impact inside Iceland. This is not our fault: the problem is that the other newspapers and media here are not credible because they are just slapping their buddies on the back… something you seem to be asking us to do for someone who has helped theGrapevine in the past, Kira Kira. WULFFMORGENTHALER see more at


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