Three years is a long time to release a live DVD.
But when you happen to be Sigur Rós, you can make whatever kind of choices you like. This includes deciding that you’re going to transform your standard gig recording into a decidedly low-fi arthouse film.
Inni is currently been shown over the world at dozens of cinemas, and tonight’s screening at the Curzon Mayfair, London, marks the exact three year anniversary of the second night at the Alexandra Palace – the venue where the Icelandic post-rock band played to seven thousand fans.
Differing from its filmic predecessor Heima, a glorious docu-gig feature, the structure of Inni is fractured – mixing up the order of the setlist, alongside old footage of interviews with the band, assures that the film is entirely engrossing and ultimately more memorable than other, more conventional gig captures. The performances are framed in exquisitely rendered monochrome, bringing the sheer artistry of what Sigur Rós are doing to life – though bereft of colour, it’s all the more vivid.
But that’s where Innii‘s wrong footing lies. The close-ups in multifarious cuts can feel suffocating – at many points, the action feels like it’s happening somewhere off-shot. The gratuitous helping of graininess renders the film too obscure to be able to make out what’s actually going on for a lot of the time – as an attendee of this concert in 2008, the absolute highlight of the show was the curtain of fake rain that enveloped the stage during ‘Sæglópur’. Here, the wondrous effect is almost non-existent.
Despite the ying-yang of visuals, the sound is – not surprisngly – unbelievably spot-on. The mix that frontman Jón ‘Jónsi’ Birgisson took on himself is perfect on every level; his infamous guitar-cum-cello technique creates some excitingly loud, cathartic noises during many epics the band has written, most notably on ‘Untitled 6 (E-bow)’ and ”Svefn-g-englar’. Kudos, also, to the projectionist at the Curzon – the levels are fantastic.
Towards its end is where Inni assimilates a guise other than ‘gig DVD’ – it’s where it actually turns into a formidable piece of art. Footage from an old, tiny club performance of ‘Untitled 8 (‘Popplagið)’ merges, through a beautiful series of edits, into the fully fledged monster it is at the Ally Pally roughly a decade on. Credits roll after, and the preceedings feel a smidge short – but what an ending.
Inni brings together everything you love about the special band that is Sigur Rós, and presents it all in a cinematically complimentary way. There’s the sound, the scope, the utter passion – but you can see it on a screen instead of hearing it through your speakers. If SR can make this kind of changeover with such ease, including Heima before it, then the next celluloid outing should be anticipated as much as their eagerly awaited sixth LP. Only, don’t take too long next time, chaps.