Artist of the week: Ólafur Arnalds

Artist of the week on Musikki – Ólafur Arnalds

Ólafur Arnalds is an Icelandic multi-instrumentalist and producer who has become known for his unique take on strings and piano loops combined with beats, releasing a series of albums and EPs that range from ambient electronic and neo-classical music to pop. He was awarded in 2014 a BAFTA for best original music for the British television crime drama Broadchurch (ITV).

Though he began his career as a drummer for a series of hardcore and metal bands, Ólafur quickly evolved into a fascinating composer prone to innumerous collaborations (Nils Frahm, Alice Sara Ott, Heaven Shall Burn) that gave birth to some elusive editions such as an LP and and three EPs, between 2012 and 2015, for the an experimental techno project, entitled Kiasmos, with Janus Rasmussen from the Icelandic electro-pop band Bloodgroupe. Thankfully, Erased Tapes Records released in 2015 the double CD Collaborative Works, which is a paramount compilation and probably the best entry to his collaborative work to date. His solo releases comprises several digital releases, EPs and three albums that include the standout For Now I Am Winter (2013), the first to ever include vocals.

Island Songs is his most recent project and a direct sequel to Found Songs (2009) and Living Room Songs (2011), in which he also worked with similar 7-song live structure. This time, though, he travelled to different parts of Iceland during the Summer and recorded his live performances with local musicians from each location. The result is not only his most emotional and evocative music to date, but also one of the greatest collection of songs of the year. Give it a try, you should not regret it.

João Pedro da Costa

João Pedro da Costa is a web studies scholar and a music fan.