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Celebrating Life

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Album Review

Like many Morr Music artists, Iceland's Borko straddles the line between homespun electronic pop and post-rock deftly, combining glitchy beats, winsome melodies, and quirkier flourishes like brass and xylophone into comfortable-sounding, but never boring, music. Celebrating Life recalls the work of Borko's fellow countrymen Múm, although his tenor vocals give his music a more grounded feel than Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir's fairy tale soprano had on albums like Yesterday Was Dramatic — Today Is OK. Borko's sound is also more wide-open and active than some of his other, more precious contemporaries, and his fondness for big rock drums and urgent guitars — especially on the album opener "Continental Love" — suggests a more whimsical Mogwai. Celebrating Life isn't without precedent, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. Borko has a real gift for emotive melodies, especially on "Spoonstabber," which sounds like a post-rock torch song, and an equal talent for engaging arrangements; Celebrating Life's centerpiece "Sushi Stakeout" builds from watery electronics to shoegazing guitars, takes a detour into intricate prog rock, then finishes as delicate folktronica. While most of the songs follow a similar formula of beginning with small electronic structures and growing into larger, rock-dominated sounds, Borko's playfulness goes a long way towards making the album unique: the saddest-sounding song is called "Ding Dong Kingdom" and borrows from the chorus from Lionel Richie's "Hello," but none of that lessens its yearning. Best of all is "Hondo & Borko," which closes the album with an utterly joyous mix of groovy basslines and gentle brass that starts off mellow, then tips with a rollercoaster rush into bittersweet but jubilant guitars and rollicking drums as Borko lists some of the things that make life great (including drinking, ice cream, and children). It's a sweet finish to an album six years in the making.

Customer Reviews

Fire Breath

Borko is the magician that can make a dove disappear. But when he makes it reappear, its become an elephant. His flow throughout the album shows his unique creativity with past,present,and future melodic masterpieces. Hes the end and beginning of old and new.

A soundtrack for dreaming;

Brilliant as background noise and rewarding, intriguing music to follow closely. Borko's gifts are an active, humorous intellect and a true ear for melody and arrangement. Thoughtful and smooth, this is pop music for people with brains.

Doo Doo Doo....DON'T!

"I'm the king you're looking for....ding dong" Some of the lyrics from "Dingdong Kingdom"...I was a dingdong for downloading it.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Borko is the melodic electronic project of Icelandic multi-instrumentalist Björn Kristiansson, who also composes music for film and theater and works as a music teacher in a Reykjavik school. Kristiansson's mix of acoustic and electronic textures -- which is reminiscent of his fellow countrymen Múm -- debuted in 2001 with the Trees & Limbo EP on the Resonant imprint. He spent...
Full Bio
Celebrating Life, Borko
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Customer Ratings