Saturday, October 1, 2022

RIP Prins Polo

So sad hearing about the news of Prins Polo's passing.

Back in the pre-satan days, we're talking maybe 2001-2005ish, I was fairly active on a few message boards and newsgroups online about Icelandic music - like a lot of people my age and with my music taste, when Sigur Rós blew up, they opened a lot of doors for other bands and artists from the country. Alongside the bigger stuff like múm, Björk, etc. there was a real burgeoning underground DIY scene too. I'd log on and find out about really weird punk stuff from the 80s, or some kid in his bedroom making pretty folk records, or a hip hop group from the countryside, and all sorts of mental stuff. It was great, although absolute hell trying to import some of these CDs, let alone vinyl or anything else. A lot of us had to either make do with what few mp3s record labels and shops would put online (12 Tónar and Bad Taste were amazing at that), or trade in *ahem* not so legal mp3s. In our defence, this was a looooong time before Bandcamp, Spotify, Youtube, Soundcloud, etc. but yes, not exactly proud of doing that... 

Anyway, Prins Polo was always part of that scene, along with stuff like Seabear, Kimono, Mugison, Siggi Ármann, 7oi, Gavin Portland, SkeSkátar, Skytturnar and loads, loads more. I have a Siggi Ármann CD somewhere still - he was a PE teacher that made the most melancholic downbeat acoustic folk you can imagine. Sigur Rós even took him on tour for a little bit I seem to remember. Anyway, Prins Polo had a band called Skakkamanage, who were really great - on one of my first pilgrimages to Iceland, the only musical thing I could afford was a 7" of Hold Your Heart, a scrappy little indie EP they put out on their own label. I somehow managed to hold onto it for all this time, as I'm known for losing things like that fairly easily.

Truth be told, I should've kept up with Prins' solo work, and Skakkamanage a bit more, but it was just so hard to get that music over here, and by the time I'd gotten a bit older, I guess I just moved away from a lot of that stuff. The newsgroups and forums I'd frequented all started shutting down, and the industry sort of moved on, and so did I, which is a real shame as some of this music is absolutely wonderful, and I fear a lot of it has just been lost or forgotten about. I'll do a mix or something soon with some of my favourites.

It's not as if I'd ever met him, or religiously followed his musical output, but his passing really hit home. It's a stark reminder to check in with older groups and artists that you haven't thought about in a while. It's a proper 'that was a real moment in time' , remembering those early days of the internet and unearthing all this music you'd never have a chance of hearing otherwise. 

So yes, check in with those old boys and girls and see how they're doing - none of this lasts forever.

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