Helgi Sæmundur, the man behind the moniker IamHelgi, is a bit of an enigma. As beat-maker extraordinaire and one half of the Icelandic hip hop group, Úlfur Úlfur, he’s been building his notoriety and repertoire among fans of the duo and now as a solo artist. I first encountered Helgi’s work on his 2015 Úlfur Úlfur album, Tvær Plánetur, which has been in my heavy rotation for years. I relished in the chance to see him live at Iceland Airwaves 2017. So much, in fact, that I saw him three times in a week. Admittedly, as I can’t begin to understand the language, I think I’ve always gravitated towards Úlfur Úlfur because of the beats.
Fans got a first taste at this new, more synthy endeavor of Helgi’s when he dropped the single “Yourself” back in December 2018. That is, if you weren’t lucky enough to catch his solo debut at Iceland Airwaves in November 2018. Helgi’s influences are present in his new work--it’s synth driven rock that calls to mind a Depeche Mode and sort of Twin Peaks mysteriousness. This could be because he’s recently scored the Scandi-Noir television series, Stella Blómkvist.
IamHelgi performed last month at one of my favorite Icelandic venues, Iðnó opening up for Warmland. He’s also been announced in the lineup for Iceland Airwaves 2019. It will be very exciting to see how his solo artistry expands this year, as he’s off to a terrific start.
His new single “Speeding” is out today and is sure to be on repeat in my household. You can stream it on Spotify.