William Munoz

(Missoula Current) The first time in my life I felt awe was when I was 9 years old and our family was traveling through the Mission Valley and I saw the mountains that, from that moment, moved me so much that I 'knew' at that time I would come to live there.

Nature can and does create a sense of awe that most everyone senses. Since that long ago time I have, over the years, listened to music to get down the whiteline fever of travel. However, that sense of awe so deeply felt at seeing the Missions Mountains for the first time was only recently felt again.

In 2012 I was introduced by a dancer at the University of Montana Dance Department to the Icelandic band Sigur Rós. She was choreographing movement to one of the songs from the album Valtari. I don't know which, but I soon listened to the entire album and felt the beauty that is awe.

This band introduced me to the idea that Claude Debussy (as well as Miles Davis) expressed that “Music is the space between the notes.” Valtari from this album sends chills through my psyche. The official video for this song is a masterpiece of dance.

(WIlliam Munoz/Missoula Current)
(WIlliam Munoz/Missoula Current)

This past June, Sigur Rós released their 8th album, Atta, (number 8 in Icelandic) their latest after a 10-year hiatus. They set out on tour with the 44-piece Worldless Music Orchestra. One of the stops was the Paramount Theater in Seattle.

Live music has a spiritual energy that is missing to some extent on studio recordings. Don't get me wrong, I am completely grateful for the recordings, it's just the energy that 3,000 people bring with the shared experience that makes live music so special. Knowing a song and then having the band and the orchestra play it creates a sonic experience that no recording can.

Sigur Rós is Jón Þór "Jónsi" Birgisson, bassist Georg Hólm and keyboardist Kjartan Sveinsson. Jonsi's vocals are mesmerizing. The lyrics are vocalizations that Jónsi' sings in lieu of Icelandic or English. Not knowing what he might be singing adds to the mystery of their music. It also allows the listener to shut down the intellect and get deep into the space between the notes.

Sigur Rós takes the audience on a journey that for me creates a profound sense of awe.