Recap and Photo Gallery
Vok @ The KEXP Gathering Space
Words and Photos By Stephanie Oster
Iceland, as everyone knows by now, is awesome.
The country’s sparse landscape is unarguably atmospheric – the perfect backdrop to create dreamy, moody, unique music. When you listen to artists from Iceland, you hear the environment; you hear the place that defines these artists.
Seattle and Iceland have formed a bond. Maybe it is our love for quality outdoor life, good seafood, great music, and strong coffee…but the bond has been forged.
KEXP, which has established a bit of a “sister country” relationship with Iceland, hosted “Reykjavík Calling” on Oct. 13 at the station’s gathering space. On stage was Vok (meaning hole in the ice), an electronic dream pop band from Hafnarfjordur, a town famous for being home to a hidden elfish settlement (of course it is.)
Vok has all the elements I love in a great electronic pop band: dreamy celestial melodies with atmospheric vocals, moody synthesizers, catchy dance hooks, and echoed bass lines. They have a very commanding stage presence as well. Margaret Ran delivered emotional vocals while Andre Enoksson gave a captivating performance on synth and saxophone.
Musically, Vok is TIGHT. But there was something about the performance that transcended great musicianship. Something more lingering. Something that was buzzing from underneath all of the dreamy, flowy sounds. Something that really made the group’s performance stand out. It’s almost as if you can hear the reflections of their home country’s mysticism in their music.
Comparisons have been made to the Knife and the XX, but it is clear that Vok has their own unique sound. Maybe it is their ability to package deep thoughts into a dance track, maybe it is their ability to integrate mysticism into their electro-pop sound, or maybe it’s just because they are a great band. Regardless, in a world that is quickly becoming saturated with mediocre electronic music, Vok truly stands out.