Brunaliðið – “Útkall” (1979)

OK. First things first. Take a few moments to fully absorb this album cover. It’s OK, I’ll wait.

I found this copy of the 1979 Icelandic soft-jazz disco-pop album Útkall on eBay the other day, and while I knew in all likelihood I would find it super dated, I figured what the hell, because it was cheap and miraculously still sealed. Unfortunately the shrink had shrunk over the years, warping the cover pretty badly. As for the vinyl itself, it has one noticeable warp on the outer edge right where it would have been in contact with the spine – the spine that had been bent 90 degrees over time. But I more or less expected that, and it still played fine.

I’d love to crack wise about this record, but I try not to do that here. After all, it’s easy to listen to this for the first time 37 years after it was made and talk crap, but the fact of the matter is this sounds an awful lot like the stuff that was playing on the AM dial in my parents’ cars when I was a kid. Light funk, not quite dancey enough to qualify as disco, almost like post-disco-white-urban-folk-pop or something (<- I just made up a genre; remember kids, you read it here first, so please give me proper credit!).

That’s all fine and good. But let’s get down to the real nitty gritty here, shall we? I’m not a conspiracy theorist (except when I am), but I think our tall friend with the sunglasses somehow ended up in a basement somewhere in RVK 101 nine years later torturing some dude with a samurai sword and some other nonsense. Don’t believe me? Well feast your eyes on the below (Exhibit A).

Coincidence? I don’t believe in ’em. Still not convinced? But wait, there’s more.

This doesn’t prove anything, of course, but dudes in dark clothes and sunglasses have long been spotted at the scene of many a crime, including some musical ones like Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music. Personally I think this guy looks a heck of a lot like American skyjacker D.B. Cooper (Exhibit B below – the FBI drawing of Cooper), who completely disappeared with $200,000 in cash in 1971 after parachuting out of the back of a commercial airline, which is a pretty ballsy thing to do in any decade.

Sure, you’re thinking, how did DB Cooper get to Iceland and get involved in a pop band, right? Don’t forget that Iceland made it to the American consciousness in a big way in 1972, only one year after Cooper’s famous heist, when Bobby Fischer traveled there to play in the world chess championship. Still not convinced? Well, who’s that guy in the background watching Fischer’s arrival in Reykjavik? (Exhibit C)

I can’t prove any of this, of course. Which makes it a perfect conspiracy theory. Not sure where the mystery man is today… I’ll have to keep looking for him in the backgrounds of photos. He’s probably tending bar in Akureyri or something. If you see him, though, be careful….

 

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