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...And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness (Bonus Edition)

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Album Review

They must be putting something in the water over there in Iceland that makes musicians work in unexpected ways. Their biggest pop and rock exports — Björk and Sigúr Ros, respectively — have borne very little relation to what the rest of the world thinks of as pop and rock, so why should their most promising young neo-classical composer be any different? At an age when most young men are still trying to decide between grad school and the night shift at Denny's, Olafur Arnalds has already made a name for himself as a musical maverick who skirts the edges of the classical, rock, electronic, and avant-garde worlds with enthusiastic ease, a Nico Muhly with a higher tolerance for cold weather, if you will. On his second full-length release, Arnalds moves further away from electronics to embrace a more acoustically oriented approach centered on piano and strings. Electronics do play a supporting role — they're simply used to enhance the atmosphere here and there, but in the main, Arnalds is creating 21st century chamber music here, as the piano makes simple, elegant statements whose harmonic possibilities are further fleshed out by the strings. And Arnalds may be a modernist in terms of pushing stylistic boundaries, but he still has some old-school, downright romantic notions about melodic movement — you won't find any polytonality or serial music among these tracks. Arnalds prefers instead to repurpose old-school harmonic conventions in a new context, offering the listener a readily accessible emotional connection but still breaking new ground. And on the few strategic spots in the album where Arnalds drops in drums and/or electric guitar and repetitive motifs, the effect is not dissimilar to the headier moments of the aforementioned Sigúr Ros, or perhaps early-‘70s Pink Floyd at their most ethereal, showing the rock crowd that they too have a point of entry into this music. ~ J. Allen, Rovi

Customer Reviews

A true gem

I've been following this kid's musical journey since 2007 and I must say that he keeps pulling my heart strings record by records.

His latest work is possibly the most energetic and uplifting I've ever heard him, and yet it has very calm and intimate moments.
It's a concept album I can listen to from start to finish without ever feeling the need of skipping tracks.

It keeps me going from the morning to the evening.

A true gem in my record collection!

Biography

Born: 03 November 1986 in Mosfellsbaer, Iceland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Ólafur Arnalds is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer who has released several albums and EPs of neo-classical post-rock on the London-based Erased Tapes label, in addition to scoring several films and television programs. He started out as a drummer for a series of metal bands in his native Iceland. His entry into the neo-classical field was somewhat accidental. After German band Heaven Shall Burn heard some solo demo material, they asked him to provide piano-and-string pieces for their...
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...And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness (Bonus Edition), Ólafur Arnalds
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