AGENT FRESCO is an Icelandic band of startling originality known for volcanic performances of music spanning the jazz, pop, rock & hardcore genres. At the heart of their sound is a lyric intensity that flows through finely crafted lyrics, soaring rhapsodic melodies, sideways-pulling polyrhythms and spasmodic eruptions of aggressive guitar, supported on drums by a rhythmic ribcage varying in style from spiffy jazz to muscular rock.
This is emotion-soaked music projected with a stylistic confidence that earned this band the highest rating (KKKKK) from Kerrang! magazine. These four musicians are the real deal, impressive at any scale: electric or unplugged, on the stage or in the studio. And it is their studio work that is most in the news today.
In November 2010 Agent Fresco released their first full-length CD, an ambitious 17-track concept album entitled A Long Time Listening. Recognized as “an amazing album by the best rock band in the country today” (Morgunblaðið), it was immediately shortlisted for best album of the year by Icelandic music critics of both national newspapers, as well as for a Kraumur Award, and for the Nordic Music Prize, not to mention climbing to #1 on the charts of the gogoyoko music download site. And the respect of their fellow musicians is reflected in the number of front-ranking Icelandic performers who volunteered to sing back-up chorus on the title track of the album.
Plans are now underway for an upcoming tour of Europe to capitalize on the publicity the album has generated, and to strengthen the recognition they acquired from previous concert & festival appearances in England, France (ClassEu’Rock 08’), Netherlands (Eurosonic 10’) Denmark & Czechoslovakia.
Recognition was not slow in coming to this group of music students when they formed Agent Fresco back in 2008 to compete in the annual Musíktilraunir (Battle of the Bands) competition, which they swept convincingly, winning not only the grand prize, but also individual prizes for best guitarist, best drummer and best bassist. Since then they have received a Kraumur Award for their 2008 EP Lightbulb Universe, and were declared Best New Band (Bjartasta Von) at the Icelandic Music Awards in 2009.
The strength of their performances at the Iceland Airwaves music festival has brought them to the attention of international media such as KEXP radio (Seattle) and Kerrang! magazine (London), who have posted online interviews and performances of Agent Fresco on their websites. More impressive still, they have attracted the attention of filmmakers Bowen Staines and Gunnar B. Guðbjörnsson, who included considerable footage of the band in their Iceland Airwaves documentary Where´s the Snow?! which premiered at the Reykjavík International Film Festival in 2010. The band received additional international publicity as the focus of two episodes in Bowen Staines´ Don´t Panic TV web series.
Critical attention is still sharply focused on this band in 2011 with their nomination for a prestigious DV Culture Award and three nominations for the Icelandic Music Awards: Performer of the Year (Agent Fresco), Vocalist of the Year (Arnór Dan Arnarson) and Rock Album of the Year (A Long Time Listening).
But what the critics now proclaim audiences have known ever since they heard Eyes of a Cloud Catcher on the radio 3 years ago. Before it was even released, the band played this song at their first Iceland Airwaves in 2008, staring out in disbelief at a sea of swaying hands as the entire audience sang the chorus back to them, a cappella. That tribute of affection, now a ritual at every performance, caused a blogger at Airwaves 2010 to write:
"Seriously, this band is so impressive and the way the entire room sings along to their stunning Eyes Of A Cloud Catcher is a moment that'll live long in the memory of all here." (Kerrang blog, Airwaves 2010)
Agent Fresco are:
Arnór Dan Arnarson: vocals
Hrafnkell Örn Guðjónsson: drums / percussion
Vignir Rafn Hilmarsson: bass / upright bass
Þórarinn Guðnason: guitar / piano / programming
Official Website: www.agentfresco.is