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The screams all sound the same : the music of Of Monsters and Men and the Icelandic imaginary as geographical discourse

TWEED, Fiona and WATSON, A (2018) The screams all sound the same : the music of Of Monsters and Men and the Icelandic imaginary as geographical discourse. Area, 51 (1). pp. 126-133. ISSN 1475-4762

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Abstract or description

Over the last two decades, a substantial body of geographical research has emerged examining the mutually generative relations between music, space, place, landscape, identity and locality. This work has revealed the complex ways in which specific geographical identities and imaginaries can be reinforced and created through differences in sound, through lyrics, and through the acts and meanings of making music. Yet, these identities and imaginaries can also perform important economic functions, representing geographical discourses that musicians can employ to develop distinctiveness to make themselves marketable, particularly in the context of a heavily-saturated contemporary global music market. In this paper, we examine this with specific relation to the Icelandic band, Of Monsters and Men. We provide an account of how references to landscape and folklore in the band’s music, lyrics and imagery represent not only expressions of intimate connections with local landscape, cultural identity and lived experience, but also embody awareness of a pre-existing Icelandic imaginary. The use of folk music instruments, cultural references and motifs, we argue, acts to legitimise the band’s use of this imaginary. Further, we highlight explicit attempts to brand Icelandic music under a single ‘label’ as representative of the way in which this Icelandic imaginary comes to represent a powerful, if potentially homogenising, geographical discourse to mark out Icelandic music in a crowded global music market.

Item Type: Article
Faculty: School of Creative Arts and Engineering > Humanities and Performing Arts
Depositing User: Sarah BEIGHTON
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2018 12:20
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 13:50
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