Release Date: Nov 6, 2007
Record label: XL
Sigur Rós's Hvarf-Heim double EP works as both a summary of the Icelandic band’s first decade of opaline etherea and a due farewell to it. Hvarf is apotheosis music, a collection of outtakes representing the quintessential Sigur Rós post-rock pushed as far into its wraithlike extremes as is possible without drowning it in formula; Heim is that sound’s shadow terminus, an introspective and funereal look into the band's back catalog before (I hope) moving forward into new spheres of musical innovation. The summation lies in Hvarf’s survey of Rós’s rarities.
The dictionary differentiates between pleasing – “to act to the pleasure or satisfaction of" – and obsequious – "attentive in an ingratiating or servile manner." Sigur Rós have exhibited a tendency to blur the line between the two, and with the double-EP, 72-minute Hvarf / Heim, they continue to balance between well-mannered and excessively groomed. For many listeners, this release will reveal many footfalls on the wrong side of that line. The first EP, Hvarf ("disappeared"), offers five tracks that were either unrecorded, unreleased, or have been entirely revisited.