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Magnified Love

One of Icelands most engaging musical exports lands in St. Petersburg as part of a Russian tour.

Published: March 13, 2013 (Issue # 1750)



  • GusGus is a band which reinvents itself as artistic demands dictate.
    Photo: KOMPAKT / SPT

GusGus, an internationally recognized top-selling act noted for its passionate, high-energy shows, and one of Icelands best-known bands, launches its six-date Russian tour this week.

Formed in 1995 in Reykjavik, Iceland, the electronic soul band, which balances its concerns between commercial pop and underground dance music, reemerged in 2011 with its seventh full-length studio album, Arabian Horse, which has been described by their current German label, Kompakt, as Icelandic Hi-Tech Soul.

The St. Petersburg Times spoke to GusGus singer Daniel Agust Haraldsson via Skype in advance of Sundays concert.

Q: This interview has been postponed two hours because of the blizzard there. What happened?

A: Oh, it just came all of a sudden. Yesterday was fine and there was no sign of this crazy snowfall coming down. So much snow, everybody getting stuck in traffic... I was fine in my car, my small Nissan Micra, but then I got stuck in a pile of snow just after having taken my kid to school.

Q: On Wednesday, youre starting a six-date tour in Russia. I guess you havent done that before, have you?

A: Its the first time we are doing a comprehensive tour like this, a big tour. We played St. Petersburg and Moscow quite a few times with great success. Now it was time to step up and do a bigger tour around your huge country. Well go to Krasnodar, Nizhny Novgorod, Chelyabinsk and Krasnoyarsk, I see here on our website. Some of these cities, with millions of people living in them, I hadnt heard of before. So I am going to do some reading over the weekend before taking on the journey.

Q: What material are you going to perform in Russia?

A: Well, mainly well be performing songs from Arabian Horse, our last album, which weve done before in Moscow and St. Petersburg. But were going to do a few new ones as well, so you have some special treats. Were going to give you some sample of whats coming up on the next album.

Were planning to release an EP, a short album, in a couple of months, two or three months, and yeah, were finishing, like, a three- or four-track album for release in May, probably.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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