Purrkur Pillnikk – “Googooplex”

I’ve written about Purrkur Pillnikk before, specifically the 1981 Ehgjl En LP. Basically they were an early 1980s Icelandic punk band, members of which later spun off into other groups such as KUKL, The Sugarcubes, and Ghostigital.

Their sound was sort of punk/new wave transitional with odd musical structures, and it’s easy to see the roots of KUKL and The Sugarcubes here even though those bands benefitted significantly from Björk’s vocals. Purrkur Pillnikk consistently used a lot of echo in their vocals, and I think to some extent their music, that in many ways gives their sound a sort of “distant” feel, almost like it’s coming from someplace in the room other than your stereo speakers. It’s music that’s hard to get a grasp of, slipping through your fingers and ears, lacking recognizable structures and patterns. This makes it seem disjointed and almost forces you to pay attention to it, because you couldn’t possibly just ignore it in the background, even with the volume low.

Googooplex itself as a physical album is also odd, a double 12″ with 13 songs, which threw me off the first time I tried to play it since I assumed the speed was 33 1/3 (and I was wrong, with music that sounded like the record was melting in slow motion… you should give it a try) instead of the correct 45 rpm. I found my copy on eBay for a pretty reasonable price, around $25 or so. In general Googooplex seems a bit less expensive than Ehgjl En and the overall sound quality is really good, aided no doubt by the wider grooves on the 45 rpm 12″ format. Ehgjl En has the added advantage of being available on CD, though I doubt you’d ever find a copy. You’d be better served buying what is more or less the band’s entire output via iTunes for $19.99, an album called I Augum Uti, which we also have and I can safely recommend. It’s a great way to get exposure to the early Icelandic punk/new wave scene, as well as the music that later developed into The Sugarcubes.

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