Ólafur Arnalds “For now I am winter”
(Mercury Classics, 2013)
It could have been a long and winding trip to transform from hardcore dummer in a neo-classical composer. But Ólafur Arnalds succeeded very quick in gaining a transglobal audience by touring ceaselessly with a string quartet and laptop assistance. Years ago I was impressed by youngster Óli who combined his poppy but classical themes with electronic bits and ambient bytes.
I have mixed feelings about his latest release “For now I am winter”. I didn’t find the emoticons button while listening carefully, too neat and clean, so it left me apathic. Fortunately he introduces Nico Muhly, who provided the orchestrations, and even a vocalist this time, Arnór Dan Arnarson of Agent Fresco fame.
The album works perfectly as background music (almost put you in a winter sleep), it has quite good cinematic properties, but I prefer my musical meal more spicy than icy. For his next mov(i)e I hope Ólafur will invite ‘enfant terrible’ Krummi Björgvinsson and Icelandic aussie Ben Frost to add some salt-n-pepa.
– Wim Van Hooste