Sigríður Níelsdóttir – Grandma Lo-Fi
Outsider music isn’t always a dark or unsettling affair bandied by the likes of Jandek behind a long-instituted veil of creepy intrigue and mystery. As curious legends of self-produced music like Daniel Johnston and Wesley Willis have shown, outsider music can be full of glee and pure excitement too. And although Johnston and Willis were diagnosed with schizophrenia and both artists used music as an outlet of sorts, the charm and joy felt from their songs is undeniable and often brilliant. The latest “outsider” of note comes with Sigríður Níelsdóttir, an Icelandic octogenerian who began writing, producing, and recording her own songs “direct to tape on a double-deck cassette recorder using a small, plastic microphone she bought at a local grocery store” at the age of 70. Profiled in a 2012 documentary and realized in this recent C-60 of 21 tracks on Hornbuckle records, Níelsdóttir’s music is a fascinating escape to haphazardly triumphant and lo-fi epiphanies hosted in some 59 albums and 687 songs. Casio-presets, ephemeral background noise, and wistful melodies delivered with quiet but unwavering confidence all lead to a surprisingly touching and dynamic range of songs and styles. Pick up a copy of Grandma Lo-Fi from Hornbuckle’s site.