Concerts are meant to be experiences. And as a writer tasked with covering these experiences, it helps if there exists a previous connection with the artist delivering that experience. My recent outing to see Riceboy Sleeps, a musical project of Sigur Rós’ Jonsi Birgisson and Alex Somers, had none of that. In fact, even now as I reflect on what I saw at Lincoln Theater, I still really have no idea what to think. I guess the best way to describe Riceboy Sleeps is the penultimate version of the type of music you’d listen to if you’re a devout follower of study music playlists on Spotify. It’s not so much music in the traditional sense as it is an audio trance meant to transport you into a meditative trance usually reserved for moments outside of a music venue.
And while my ignorance of the ambient project created by Birgisson and Somers is self-evident, the performance of whatever I was witnessing was truly awe-inspiring. Much of that can be attributed to the mastery of the forty-piece orchestra/choir Wordless Music Orchestra. For anyone who has witnessed the whimsical interplay of an orchestra in-sync to the point of being one cohesive body, the experience is unlike anything any other form of music can provide. In a world where any sound, any note, any instrument can be reproduced 99.9% accurately through digital means, the .01% difference found in a live orchestra is hard to describe, let alone digest at the moment. Riceboy Sleeps’ ultimate success in the manner in which the moving parts of the Wordless Music Orchestra are corralled into melodies, structures and textures with unspeakable ambiance.
You don’t have to know who or what Riceboy Sleeps are to enjoy their music, and that’s the highest compliment any project can garner.