Icelandic duo Hugar make a lush, enveloping, ambient sound that combines elements of pop, post-classical, and electronica; their free eponymous debut album garnered an impressive 30 million streams, leading to a deal with Sony.
Natives of the tiny coastal township of Seltjarnarnes, in the Capital Region surrounding Reykjavik, longtime friends and multi-instrumentalists Bergur Þórisson and Pétur Jónsson had already built up an impressive resumé as sidemen for popular Icelandic acts such as Sigur Rós, Ólafur Arnalds, and Jóhann Jóhannsson when they began writing their own music together in 2013, using studio downtime to record their own demos. Inspired by the above artists, they forged a lush, achingly beautiful, bittersweet sound combining elements of pop/rock, folk, jazz, classical, and ambient electronica, that swelled from sparse piano to warm, enveloping pieces for a chamber ensemble which featured Arnalds on drums. The following year they self-released the results for free as their eponymous debut album; championed by web media, it quickly built up a following, going on to amass over 30 million streams and attracting intense interest from the majors. Eventually Hugar signed to Sony Masterworks in late 2018 in a multi-album worldwide deal. Following their signing, they released a steady stream of double-A-side singles, culminating in the release of their second album, Varða, in August 2019. Like a better-produced, even more fully realized version of their debut, it continued and expanded on the themes found there. ~ John D. Buchanan, Rovi