Iceland: 1984. 13 photocopied sheets with handwritten drawings and writing and one silver gelatin black and white photograph print, all housed in annotated hand-cut construction paper folder. Folder measures 8 1/2 x 12 in. Most sheets measure 8 1/4 x 11 3/4 in, except small folded handbill “Kukl Island” 4 1/4 x 6 in, and photo 7 x 9 1/2 in. Very good condition, some wear to folder commensurate with age, tear to upper crease, cut-out in center paper edges folded, contents clean. Also included alongside the folder are three silver gelatin prints of the band published as separate press materials, captioned on versos, near fine. Item #5337
The extremely scarce handmade press kit for KUKL, one of Björk’s first bands and an essential node in the development of European post-punk – with original holograph illustrations and text by the band, alongside three silver gelatin original photographs of the band.
KUKL formed in 1983 when Ásmundur Jónsson of Gramm Records sought to create an Icelandic underground supergroup to perform on a radio show. Members included Björk, Birgir Mogensen, Einar Arnaldur Melax, Guðlaugur Kristinn Óttarsson [God Krist], Sigtryggur Baldursson, and Einar Örn Benediktsson, all of whom had enjoyed success in various punk bands in Iceland during the early 1980’s. After writing and rehearsing for a few weeks, the anarcho-post-punk group performed on the Áfangar radio session and decided to make the band permanent.
Their first live show was in 1983, opening for Crass in Reykjavik. This connection led KUKL to play shows with Crass and other British groups such as Psychic TV over the next few years. KUKL, meaning witchcraft or sorcery in Icelandic, had post-punk and goth sensibilities but tended towards the undefinable with avant-garde, free jazz, and noise influences. It is here that Bjork developed her trademark emotive vocal style. The band broke up in 1986, and most of the members went on to form the Sugarcubes the same year.
KUKL released their first album “The Eye” on Crass Records in 1984, produced by Penny Rimbaud. This press kit and the majority of the materials contained within are in promotion of that album and related appearances in September 1984. The press folder includes a band manifesto in English, live photograph, photocopied photographs of the band, five sheets photocopied press clippings and mentions from music magazines, and four sheets of press releases and announcements in Icelandic. Much of the materials include original hand-written labels and drawings by the band in marker, and the photograph is annotated on the verso in pencil. Also included are three silver gelatin black-and-white photographs of the band, from the same period.
A unique artifact from an under-examined early portion of Björk’s career, and an important moment in the European post-punk trajectory. Item level inventory and additional images available upon request.