Brynjar – “17 EP” 10″ (2018)

Brynjar (aka Brynjar Leó Hreiðarsson) is an electronic musician from Iceland. He put out over a dozen tracks in 2017 and this year gave us the five-song 17 EP. As near as I can tell this is Brynjar’s first release that is available on a physical format, specifically a hyper-limited run of 10 individually numbered 10″ records. Fortunately one of these found its way across the Atlantic and into my hands, because Brynjar is doing some cool stuff.

The songs on 17 EP are primarily electronic. We open with “Drive”, a bit of light post-punk gloom accentuated by hand-clap-like percussion contributing to a dichotomy that is dark and poppy at the same time. “Drunur” uses basic synth notes to create a sonic progression before giving way to a similar series of notes that sound like they’re probably coming from a banjo, which is definitely something unusual in an electronic piece. That brings us to “Vú Va”, which is not part of the physical copy but is included with the digital version and brings similar synth progressions to those heard on “Drunur”, layering them over the top of different beats to create an entirely different vibe. “Tuttogfimm” combines a spacey, Vangelis-like undercurrent offset by chirping birds to create another environment of conflicting, yet somehow not dissonant, sounds. The eight-minute “Fjórir” in many ways feels like the culmination 17 EP, combining sounds from previous songs (like the birds and banjo) and adding in a what feel like backwards-masked synths. The album closes out with “Jaypopp”, a funky little jam that gets its rhythm from some smooth soul bass – I wish this one was longer than the 1:25 run time.

17 EP is a damn good album, one with enough character to break free of the seemingly endless ocean of electronica and plant its own flag. You can give it a listen HERE if you’re up for something a bit different.