Magazine article Gramophone

Muhly on Board for Icelander Arnalds's Fourth Album

Magazine article Gramophone

Muhly on Board for Icelander Arnalds's Fourth Album

Article excerpt

Arnalds

Sudden Throw. Brim. For Now I Am Winter. A Stutter. Words of Amber. Reclaim. Hands Be Still. Only the Winds. Old Skin. We (Too) Shall Rest. This Place Was a Shelter. Carry Me Anew Olafur Arnalds insts and guests

Mercury (F) 481 0150 (48' * DDD)

Also available on * 481 0178

Sometimes are cording will come along which possesses such vitality and strength of purpose that it forces one to look at contemporary music from altogether new perspectives. Olafur Arnalds's 'For Now I Am Winter' is such a recording.

Arnalds's fourth solo album is striking, unique and original. Yet in certain respects nothing 'new is really presented here. The Icelandic composer and former rock metal drummer's eclectic mix of ambient, electronica and post-minimalism, coupled with searing string lines and techno-inspired loops and beats, sounds familiar. Yet Arnalds manages--quite effortlessly at times--to synthesise such disparate elements into an album that functions effectively on a number of different levels. The real achievement of 'For Now I Am Winter lies in the strength of its musical ideas, which are powerful enough to support the album s complex polystylistic structure. This is an album that sounds 'composed in the classical sense, despite its shiny pop veneer. The opening two tracks, 'Sudden Throw and 'Brim', illustrate the point: Arnalds's thematic invention and temporal shaping provide continuity and coherence, despite the sudden shifts in mood and emphasis.

The real ace in Arnald's hand is the haunting voice of Arnor Dan, however, as heard most effectively and memorably on the single 'Old Skin' and the title-track. …

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