Nordic Music Central Viking Hero

MSEA (Iceland) – Many years west of her (single/track from forthcoming album)

She’s Canadian and merely domiciled in Iceland so she shouldn’t really be here but she has saving graces as you will discover.

I have no idea what MSEA stands for. Mr Facebook graciously informs us that she is Maria-Carmela, leading a project that “experiments with elements of the natural and digital world.” Well there are plenty of natural elements to work with in Iceland, as I’m sure she’s discovered already.

What I am equally sure of is that she isn’t a venture capital company specialising in shipping and capital markets, the Micro and Small Enterprises Authority or the Minnesota School Employees Association but then in Iceland little is what it appears to be.

Other tit-bits include (quote):

Electronic and Orchestral/Reykjavik and Toronto/Dark and Light/Beautiful and Grotesque/Collaborative and Isolated.

Those last three paired attributes are very much Iceland; I’m beginning to sense she’s a native already.

That’s saving grace #1. #2 is that ‘Many years west of her’ is so damned Icelandic, too. I found a comment online that described her music as “nightmare pop, ethereal and moody with hints of Julee Cruise and a more demented Anohni.”

Well perhaps so but I prefer to see this song at least as a product of her circumstances, living in a place that is so remarkably unpredictable because the progress of the song is just that, with its wild synthesiser rides, sombre strings, chaotic then military percussion,  mid-song refreshment break and berserk outro. (Berserk is an Icelandic word, don’t you know).

Think of the contrasts in the place. Ice and fire; huge black volcanic beaches with not a sun lounger in sight; bleak, desolate hills populated by thousands of sheep; massive waterfalls and gentle salmon fishing; geysers and geezers; a stark white Lutheran church literally in the middle of nowhere; utter solitude and manic nightlife; coming out of unique and awe-inspiring scenery into the capital through Iceland’s equivalent of Slough Trading Estate.

She simply hits the nail on the head. It’s as if she went swimming in the wrong part of the Blue Lagoon and caught Iceland-19.

I’ll tell you this. Even if Ms Guðmundsdóttir decided to call it a day tomorrow, along with Sigur Rós and of Monsters and Men, Icelandic music would be in safe hands while the likes of Inki, JFDR and MSEA are around.

‘Many years west of her’ is out now. The album ‘Our daily apocalypse walk’ follows on 15th September.

Find her on:



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