Review: Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter

Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter

RUST Magazine Rating: Essential



Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter is one of those very special albums that are destined for music history. It’s that good, that special, and the album is even being brought to the stage in NYC starting next month, making it the inspiration for the work of hundreds of people who believe in it, and thousands of people about to experience it firsthand.

The source for this creative masterwork is Icelandic composer Ívar Páll Jónsson who has been writing books, lyrics and music since the age of 15. He’s written thousands of songs in his career, most of which are unpublished. One morning in 2011, Ívar woke up with the idea for the project and started working on it, setting out to make the best album of songs he possibly could. He enlisted Stefán Örn Gunnlaugsson as producer and arranger, and executive producer Gunnlaugur Jónsson, who is also co-author of the story to help him. Over the next two years the project grew in scope and the artists travelled to New York and hired Bergur Þór Ingólfsson as a director, bringing with him the acclaimed creative team behind the Icelandic production of Mary Poppins, including choreographer Lee Proud and set designer Petr Hlousek.

The album itself takes you on an 18 song sonic journey through the heart and soul of Elbowville, where a story of love and revolution unfolds, as three brothers live in perfect harmony until their story turns to conflict, shaking Elbowville to its core. The music on the album was performed by The Revolutionary Cellular Orchestra, and features an array of guest vocalists, including Liam McCormick, Hjalti Þorkelsson, Sigríður Thorlacius, Valdimar Guðmundsso, Arnar Guðjónsson, Lára Rúnarsdóttir, Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson, Soffía Björg (Orfia) and Ásdís Rósa Þórðardóttir.

What makes this project so significant is that Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter is a true contemporary rock opera on the level to masterpieces like Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. The artists involved are stunningly talented and it seems like they were able to accomplish an extreme projection of themselves in the music, bringing out their very best. Moving across expansive and varied tempos and colors, what’s so fantastic about this album is that there is just so much there to hear. It’s so complex and vibrant, and just so good it is clearly destined to make a permanent statement in music history.

This is music that will unite people everywhere because of what the artists have collectively accomplished. Ívar Páll Jónsson has attracted some of the very best creative people in his home country as well as the United States purely by the virtue of the greatness of his music. It’s music that is so good, and so inspiring that people have come together to make it happen in ways both large and small. No detail is too small, and no load is too heavy for these artists who have their community pride and love embedded in this album.

The many, many people who have brought Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter to life are examples of the best, most dedicated, most talented, and most highly inspired and visionary artists of our modern world. We commend them and congratulate them on this special album. This is an amazing accomplishment and it’s some of the best music our world has ever heard. The inspiration behind the music is genius and the collected community effort to realize it will provide a testament to the best of our age for all time to come.

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  2 comments for “Review: Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter

  1. Lynne
    August 10, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    I’m not so sure I agree. I saw the show and think they have a lot of work to do. The song don’t have endings, the lyrics are hard to understand and it doesn’t actually feel like anyone is enjoying themselves. And I liked the music itself.
    But there is something interesting there. I just want sure about it. Much talent in the theater for sure but it wasn’t a cohesive piece to me. I don’t think I’m the only one as quite a few folks didn’t stay…

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