Grandma Lo-Fi: The Basement Tapes Of Sigríður Níelsdóttir
7.28.14 by Mike Haley
I’m always skeptical of stories like this. Unearthed demos someone bought at a yard sale of nameless Russians who built synthesizers out of old space shuttle parts and shit like that. Stuff that reeks of too-good-to-be-true Febreze. The tale here is about an Icelandic woman named Sigríður Níelsdóttir who, at the ripe old age of 70, began making home-recordings straight to cassette tapes. After seven years she had compiled a John-Olson-like amount of material. Over 600 songs of fanciful, odd, and beautiful music. Apparently the story seems to be true and managed to sneak under my radar. There was even a 2011 documentary made about her called Amma Lo-Fi (Grandma Lo-Fi).
21 tracks from Sigríður’s immense catalog were selected for a cassette, out now on Hornbuckle Records. The music, recorded from 2001 – 2004, ranges from simple, off-beat Casio’d melodies, to an eccentric blend of whimsical vocals and flowing harmonies, to minimal folky tunes that will make you wish you didn’t put Grandmom in that home (yes, you are a horrible person). Staying extremely true to the album name, and her circumstances, everything is submerged in lo-finess. Airy recordings, odd stop-and-starts, cut in’s of vacuum cleaners and pets. It all comes together in a perfect way. This hour+ cassette will serve you well as an introduction to an Icelandic cult figure and her dazzling back story (though I may be last to the party). And I swear to Christ, if I am being catfished I will lose my shit all over this place.
“Grandma Lo-Fi: The Basement Tapes Of Sigríður Níelsdóttir” was made in an edition of 200 copies and available for $7.00 plus shipping from Hornbuckle’s site. Sample a snippet of all the tracks below.