inni: a double live album and film
"shot in black-and-white and running a haunting, emotion-drenched 75 minutes, [inni is] as pure an experience of the cinema as i've had." justin chang, variety
'inni' is either the first-ever sigur rós live album, or second live film (and follow up to 2007's acclaimed iceland tour film heima). in fact, it is both: a 75-minute film and 105-minute double live album of the band captured in full flow at the close of their last tour in november 2008, here housed within one single fat package.
filmed at alexandra palace over two nights by director vincent morisset (arcade fire's 'miroir noir'), the movie 'inni' could best be described as the anti-'heima'. whereas that film took a band about whom the world knew little, and placed them in the cultural, social and geographical context of their homeland, (with winning and humanising results); the new film strips away everything save the raw performance of the four musicians themselves. where 'heima' was widescreen and open, 'inni' is close and single focussed.
this is intentional. for while 'heima' was successful at "explaining" sigur rós, it was less so at conveying what it feels like to actually watch sigur rós play. that is the job of 'inni'. in order to accomplish this goal, morisset has taken his time and employed a number of different analogue post-production techniques to create an emotional understanding of being in the room with the band and going 'inside' the music. ("inni" literally means "inside").
unlike many concerts, watching sigur rós is seldom a communal experience; it is instead intensely personal. by almost entirely removing awareness of the crowd and any sense of place, morisset brings you closer than ever to the players, using multiple camera angles to reveal in sometimes minute close up the concentration and effort involved in delivering such a powerful rock show.
originally filmed on hd digital, 'inni' was first transferred to 16mm film and then projected and re-filmed once, sometimes through glass and other objects to give a strong impressionistic look, a feat accomplished with the help of godspeed you! black emperor visual collaborator karl lemieux. the film was then meticulously pieced together by 'heima' editor nick fenton, who chose to break up the flow with unexplained archive footage, including interview and concert material from before the band's exposure to the wider world at the tail end of the last century.
it's worth mentioning also that the film has only one song in common with 'heima' (the closing 'popplagið') and that it draws for the most part on the darker end of the band's material. the double live album by contrast, covers the entire sigur rós spectrum over its hour-and-three-quarters, the songs played in the same order as on the night. mixed by sigur rós house engineer birgir jon birgisson, 'inni', the live album, stands as the definitive sigur rós live recording.
the performance captures the band playing as a stripped down four-piece for the first time since they were joined by string section amiina at the start of the decade. this fundamental 'boiling down' makes 'inni' a more forceful and primal proposition, much at odds with the popular misconception of the band as purveyors of instant emotional heft for film-makers in need.
the album features 15 tracks, with songs taken from all five sigur rós studio albums. there is also the bonus of an unreleased studio track in the form of 'lúppulagið', which is used both over the credits of the film and as the final non-live track on the album. the dvd/blu-ray, meanwhile, also includes four extra songs from the night.