A well-respected Techno producer since the late 90s, Arnvidur Snorrason, otherwise known as Exos has become something of a figurehead for the Icelandic electronic music scene over the past two decades. His musical creations have been picked up by such labels as Thule, Delsin and Nina Kraviz’s трип (Trip) to name a few and Snorrason has become a guiding light for many Icelandic rising talents, including Bjarki, Orang Volante and BenSol. Recently, Exos launched X/OZ; a label which pays homage to the unyielding roots of the Icelandic landscape.
With FRÓÐARI, the second instalment from X/OZ expected to be released later this month, we caught up with the man behind the label to hear about some of the tracks that have helped shape and inspire his own productions over the years.
1. Ongaku – Mihon 2 & Mihon 3
In 1992, after midnight on a Wednesday at radio X 977 in Reykjavik, a local ambient DJ, Himmi, played both these tracks. I had never heard a soundtrack like this. I took it with me as a memory and an inspiration in my musical knowledge. I then found a recording of this particular show on tape from a friend. The Mihon 2 is an ambient trip into a secret world, while Mihon 3 is a serious blend of acid, old-school trance and Techno. I have never been the same after hearing it, and it was the first track in this style I heard in my life.
2. MLO – Lagoon
A rare ambient album that has a very warm sound. When its cold outside this was the soundtrack that kept me warm. I bought two copies of this album, one for listening and one to keep. Some say 1994, when this album was released, is the golden age of the ambient sound. There was actually a lot of masterpieces released at this time. Selected Ambient works by Aphex Twin came out that year and Bill Laswell – Axiom Ambient – Lost In The Translation. Ambient music was a genre that was by many people taken very seriously and was respected much higher than dance music. When the years went by, this went visa versa.
3. Biogen – Hexagraphic Unicursity
In 1998 Biogen performed the most legendary live set that has ever been witnessed in the electronic scene in Reykjavik. I will never forget when Biogen performed at the local club Gaukuinn. He came 5 min before his show to set up everything. The crowd waited for a while he had very limited gears and just a few cables were connecting things on stage. The audience waited and no one made a sound. The full club completely exploded with excitement and noise when he played this track for the first time as a starting point of this set. This we talked about many times and it is still the best live set I have ever seen.
4. Nathan Fake – Outhouse (Fluffy mix)
I have been playing this masterpiece once in a while in my DJ sets, since 2004. Always an interesting pleasure hearing this mysterious track floating in the blend of other different soundscapes. Most people recognize this track but get so surprised when they hear it, especially in a club. Another Nathan Fake classic, “When the sky was pink” also has a similar version with no beats and can be mixed at peak hours when the moments get dramatic on the dancefloor. Both ‘Outhouse’ and ‘The Sky Was Pink’ are like anthems in the Icelandic dance music scene. Probably as it reminds people of the natural site of it. The Sky was pink version is actually called “Icelandic version. As Nathan named it after his tent.
5. Various – Batucada Por Favor
Probably the best record I have to be honest. Compilation of recordings mostly from Brazil but some tracks are from European artists tracking down the South America vibe. But the highlight on this album sampler is a 19 min drum solo driven by funky multicultural drums, played by Klaus Weiss. This Album has everything from Samba and Soul, to afrobeat and Fusion. Totally recommended for all drum and tribalism lovers.