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Ólafur Arnalds|re:member

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Ólafur Arnalds

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While the artificial intelligence tasked with composing music over these past few years have not produced anything particularly poignant, the Icelander Ólafur Arnalds has initiated a new relationship between man and machine with this album. Over the past two years he has worked on a software called Stratus, which allows two pianos to automatically play computer-generated music. But how does that work? Arnalds sits in his living room at the piano, equipped with the Moog Piano Bar, a device that transforms acoustic pianos into MIDI controllers. When he presses a note on his piano, the software generates a sequence on the other two pianos installed in the studio. "I’m basically playing the piano, but I’ve created a different instrument out of the piano", he explained in a video on his YouTube channel at the beginning of 2018. “And it often reacts in a very unexpected way. For example, when I play a C, the other pianos are going to play notes that I’m not necessarily expecting. So I’ll have a completely different reaction. Something like this really messes with the way you create stuff and affects the ideas that come out - you get ideas that you would never get otherwise.”


He deploys this revolutionary method throughout the record, mixing his pianos with ethereal string sections, live percussion and beats that are co-produced by Bngrboy (notably with the addictive opening track that is sure to be a future classic). Above all, nothing sounds forced, everything flowing with an Olympic-level lightness. By using machines to change how we view human creativity, Ólafur Arnalds’ avant-garde creation paves the way for a new musical direction. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz

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Ólafur Arnalds

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1
re:member
00:06:04

Jake Jackson, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Addi 800, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ólafur Arnalds, Composer, Producer, Engineer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Karl Pestka, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Magnus Trygvason Eliassen, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Viktor Orri Arnason, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Zino Mikorey, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Unnur Jonsdottir, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Björk Óskarsdóttir, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - London Recording Orchestra, Orchestra

℗ 2018 Ólafur Arnalds

2
unfold
00:03:58

Sohn, MainArtist - Addi 800, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ólafur Arnalds, Composer, Producer, Engineer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Karl Pestka, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Viktor Orri Arnason, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Zino Mikorey, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Unnur Jonsdottir, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Björk Óskarsdóttir, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Matthias B. Nardeau, Oboe, AssociatedPerformer - Peter Tompkins, Oboe, AssociatedPerformer - Grímur Helgason, Clarinet, AssociatedPerformer - Baldvin Ingvar Tryggvason, Clarinet, AssociatedPerformer - Thórsdóttir Bryndis, Bassoon, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2018 Ólafur Arnalds

3
saman
00:02:11

Ólafur Arnalds, Composer, Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Kjartan Holm, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Zino Mikorey, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2018 Ólafur Arnalds

4
brot
00:02:54

Jake Jackson, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Addi 800, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Ólafur Arnalds, Composer, Producer, Mixer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Zino Mikorey, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - London Recording Orchestra, Orchestra

℗ 2018 Ólafur Arnalds

5
inconsist
00:04:31

Jake Jackson, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Addi 800, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ólafur Arnalds, Composer, Producer, Engineer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Karl Pestka, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Magnus Trygvason Eliassen, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Viktor Orri Arnason, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Zino Mikorey, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Unnur Jonsdottir, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Björk Óskarsdóttir, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - London Recording Orchestra, Orchestra - Matthias B. Nardeau, Oboe, AssociatedPerformer - Peter Tompkins, French Horn, AssociatedPerformer - Grímur Helgason, Clarinet, AssociatedPerformer - Baldvin Ingvar Tryggvason, Clarinet, AssociatedPerformer - Thórsdóttir Bryndis, Bassoon, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2018 Ólafur Arnalds

6
they sink
00:02:35

Addi 800, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ólafur Arnalds, Composer, Producer, Engineer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Karl Pestka, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Viktor Orri Arnason, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Zino Mikorey, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Unnur Jonsdottir, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Sigrún Harðardóttir, Violin, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2018 Ólafur Arnalds

7
ypsilon
00:03:55

Jake Jackson, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Addi 800, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ólafur Arnalds, Composer, Producer, Engineer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Zino Mikorey, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - London Recording Orchestra, Orchestra - Bngrboy, Producer

℗ 2018 Ólafur Arnalds

8
partial
00:03:16

Jake Jackson, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ólafur Arnalds, Composer, Producer, Synthesizer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Zino Mikorey, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - London Recording Orchestra, Orchestra

℗ 2018 Ólafur Arnalds

9
momentary
00:02:05

Ólafur Arnalds, Composer, Producer, Engineer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Kjartan Holm, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Zino Mikorey, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2018 Ólafur Arnalds

10
undir
00:06:30

Jake Jackson, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Addi 800, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ólafur Arnalds, Composer, Producer, Engineer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Karl Pestka, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Magnus Trygvason Eliassen, Drums, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Viktor Orri Arnason, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Zino Mikorey, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Unnur Jonsdottir, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Sigrún Harðardóttir, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - London Recording Orchestra, Orchestra

℗ 2018 Ólafur Arnalds

11
ekki hugsa
00:04:41

Addi 800, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ólafur Arnalds, Composer, Producer, Engineer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Karl Pestka, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Viktor Orri Arnason, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Zino Mikorey, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Unnur Jonsdottir, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Sigrún Harðardóttir, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Björk Óskarsdóttir, Violin, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2018 Ólafur Arnalds

12
nyepi
00:04:14

Addi 800, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ólafur Arnalds, Composer, Producer, Engineer, Piano, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Viktor Orri Arnason, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Zino Mikorey, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Björk Óskarsdóttir, Violin, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2018 Ólafur Arnalds

Album Description

While the artificial intelligence tasked with composing music over these past few years have not produced anything particularly poignant, the Icelander Ólafur Arnalds has initiated a new relationship between man and machine with this album. Over the past two years he has worked on a software called Stratus, which allows two pianos to automatically play computer-generated music. But how does that work? Arnalds sits in his living room at the piano, equipped with the Moog Piano Bar, a device that transforms acoustic pianos into MIDI controllers. When he presses a note on his piano, the software generates a sequence on the other two pianos installed in the studio. "I’m basically playing the piano, but I’ve created a different instrument out of the piano", he explained in a video on his YouTube channel at the beginning of 2018. “And it often reacts in a very unexpected way. For example, when I play a C, the other pianos are going to play notes that I’m not necessarily expecting. So I’ll have a completely different reaction. Something like this really messes with the way you create stuff and affects the ideas that come out - you get ideas that you would never get otherwise.”


He deploys this revolutionary method throughout the record, mixing his pianos with ethereal string sections, live percussion and beats that are co-produced by Bngrboy (notably with the addictive opening track that is sure to be a future classic). Above all, nothing sounds forced, everything flowing with an Olympic-level lightness. By using machines to change how we view human creativity, Ólafur Arnalds’ avant-garde creation paves the way for a new musical direction. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz

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Neoclassicism: The New World Between Classical Music and Electro

Ólafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm, Max Richter, Poppy Ackroyd, Peter Broderick, Joana Gama... In recent years, these popular names have all been grouped under the vast and imprecise label "neoclassical". In truth, this "scene" looks more like a motley crew of curious artists who mix classical instruments with electronic production. Drawing influence from American minimalism, these musicians tantalise the senses and expand horizons on both sides of the musical spectrum.

Scriabin's Flamboyant Raptures

Somewhat overshadowed today by his compatriots Rimsky-Korsakov, Stravinsky and Rachmaninov, Alexander Scriabin is nonetheless a key figure in Russian music. At the beginning of the 20th century, the composer and virtuoso pianist broke away from the Romantic legacy to offer a unique and innovative musical language which no one would follow. His work, deeply influenced by mystical philosophy and synaesthesia, would undergo a dazzling evolution in barely two decades, interrupted by his premature death at the age of 43.

Erased Tapes, a Not-so-classic Label

Since its birth in 2007, Erased Tapes has made a name for itself as one of the most innovative labels of the last 15 years and enjoyed great commercial success. Although some fail to see past its neoclassical shopfront (Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds), the London-based label explores the outer limits of ambient, electronica and experimental with a catalogue that's smoothly curated by the German Robert Raths. Qobuz takes a closer look.

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