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Arnalds Ninth best

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by Jason Lewis, UK Music Editor for outsideleft.com
originally published: December, 2018
subtly experimental and improvisational works

9. Re:member - Òlafur Arnalds

....after the violent assault on the senses that may have been caused as a result of listening to the Daughters album (our number 10 album of the year), it may be wise to find something subtle, intricate and easier on the ears to listen to.  If this is the case then it may be best to immerse yourself in our next album: 'Re:member' by Òlafur Arnalds.

'Re:member' arrives after a decade of work from the young Icelandic multi-instrumentalist and composer that has seen him embrace classical, ambient and techno music (as one half of Kiasmos).  Alongside his friend Nils Frahm he has created subtly experimental and improvisational works, he's also reinterpreted Chopin with Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott and composed soundtracks, including his BAFTA award winning music for 'Broadchurch'. Best of all though is his 'Island Songs' project where he travelled back to Iceland to work with native singers and musicians. It is a deeply moving homage to his homeland.

'Re-member' moves beyond the musical territory that he had previously visited. Keen to discover new ways of composing music, this album sees Arnalds dabble with  'Stratus technology' - where notes played on one piano generate different notes on the two other pianos. In doing so he creates something sensitive and personal as he responds to the technology. 

The album opens with the title track, there's  a delicate piano solo which soon merges into a subdued drone of strings reminiscent of A Winged Victory For The Sullen, it then bursts into an intoxicating melody as keyboards, strings and drums weave around one another. It perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the album. 

Arndalds collaboration with English singer and producer SOHN on the single 'Unfold' revolves around a gentle piano pattern before fading away under a bed of heavenly vocals. The quiet piano of 'Saman' is reminiscent of some of the tender works that he worked on with Nils Frahm. 

The closer 'Nyepi', was composed by Arnald on a trip to  Bali, where on New Year Day the locals turn off all electricity, don't work or drive and basically show respect for the planet.  It is a slow and meditative piece, a chance to stop and appreciate the beauty of what is around you. A perfect place to focus on what is genuinely important in the year ahead. It is a song to re:member.


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Jason Lewis
UK Music Editor

Jason Lewis is a Birmingham based music, movie and arts obsessive. Jason's encyclopedic knowledge of 80s/90s Arts films is a debt to his embedded status in the Triangle Arts Centre trenches back then.

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