The city government was well represented in the clubs, in a most peculiar way. Last year, in the wake of the country’s economic debacle, Reykjavik’s citizens decided things couldn’t get much worse, so they might as well get funny. Jon Gnarr, a comedian and original running buddy of the country’s post-punk stars, the Sugarcubes, ran for mayor on a platform that promised, among other things, a “drug-free Parliament by 2020” – and got the job. He named Einar Örn Benediktsson, Björk’s haranguing-vocal counterpart in the Sugarcubes, to a position on the city’s executive council, in charge of arts and culture. Einar returned from a state visit to the Frankfurt Book Fair in time for a closing-night Airwaves set with his long-running electro-hip hop project Ghostdigital. The group, which included loops-and-processing DJ Curver, raised a punishing ecstasy: scouring whoops and rib-rattling bass groans with Einar barking at the audience in assaultive haiku-like bursts.
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