Could there be a better subject for the inaugural edition of the quarterly publication Artist in Residence than Sigur Ros? The enigmatic Icelanders have sustained their aura of independence throughout their career, and "In a Frozen Sea: A Year With Sigur Ros" inserts a soft probe into the quartet's bubble, seemingly aiming to demystify but quickly falling under the spell of the mystery.
Too arty to be a conventional magazine, too slim to qualify as a book, the recently released project most resembles a concert program, with its images of the musicians, fans and landscapes displayed in rich black and white and muted color registers, on pages the size of old 12-inch vinyl albums.
The text sketches the band's path from introverted local artists to acclaimed (but still introverted) international cult heroes and follows them on a small tour to some remote corners of Iceland.
Santa Monica-based Artist in Residence has a regular edition for $20 and a deluxe version, packaged like an old album of LPs and including four of Sigur Ros' albums pressed on seven vinyl discs, for $150. It's available through the company's website, www.ainr.com, which also contains related material, including Sigur Ros videos and a "recording studio" where musicians can submit work to be judged by the band and record producers and engineers Alan Moulder and Flood.
-- Richard Cromelin