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LETTERS

Eric Demby reports from Reykjavík

THE DAY I ARRIVED in Reykjavík the Kitchen Motors art and music collective hijacked the local Bónus supermarket’s sound system and replaced its consumer-friendly Muzak with an “audio environment” of sonic glitches, twitches, and textures. While the music was intended to snap shoppers out of their anesthetized state, most went about their business, perusing the bins of cheese bread and racks of smoked fish, seemingly unfazed. This oblivion proved either that consumerism trumps the conceptual or that Icelanders have grown accustomed to finding the avant-garde in the everyday.

The Kitchen Motors intervention, which wove together music, politics, and a sort of upscale street theater, was the most conceptual offering at last October’s fourth annual Iceland Airwaves music festival, a four-day showcase of local rock and electronic-music artists that attracts adventurous international music

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