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Classical - Released August 24, 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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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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Classical - Released March 16, 2015 | Mercury (Universal France)

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Film Soundtracks - Released April 1, 2017 | Mercury (Universal France)

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Classical - Released October 28, 2016 | Mercury (Universal France)

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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2015 | Mercury (Universal France)

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Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | Mercury (Universal France)

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Enigmatic Icelandic composer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Ólafur Arnalds' major-label debut, the Mercury-issued (and aptly titled) For Now I Am Winter, effortlessly incorporates elements of pop into the budding singer/songwriter's already evocative blend of wistful neo-classicism and icy electronica. Though his work has been seeping into the mainstream of late, with soundtrack contributions to films like Looper and The Hunger Games, Arnalds remains a shadowy figure, and For Now I Am Winter, despite its more commercial leanings, does little to dispel that notion. Helped along by the tasteful orchestrations of American composer Nico Muhly and the fluid and expressive voice of guest vocalist and fellow Icelander Arnor Dan, the lush and lonesome collection falls somewhere between the ambient, string-laden melancholy of Eluvium, the rural soul searching of Bon Iver, and the cosmic opulence of Sigur Rós. Arnalds has cited the changing of the seasons as a key theme here, and while standout tracks like the mesmerizing "Old Skin" and the propulsive and vibrant "Reclaim," both of which toe the line between the playful dynamics of Owen Pallett's Heartland and the elegiac grandeur of Jónsi's Go, definitely hint at the verdancies of spring and summer, this is most certainly a winter's tale, and one that pairs well with Arnalds' more minimalist tendencies. While the four tracks that Dan lends his formidable pipes to provide the most instantly engaging moments on the album, instrumental selections like the quietly lustrous "Only the Winds," the fractured and foreboding "This Place Was a Shelter," and the lovely, bare-bones "Words of Amber" are just as resonant when allowed time to percolate. ~ James Christopher Monger
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Classical - Released August 24, 2018 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Electro - Released June 24, 2016 | Late Night Tales

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Classical - Released March 16, 2015 | Mercury (Universal France)

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Film Soundtracks - Released January 5, 2015 | Mercury (Universal France)

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Classical - Released October 28, 2016 | Mercury (Universal France)

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Film Soundtracks - Released April 15, 2014 | Editions Milan Music

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 2, 2011 | Erased Tapes

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 25, 2017 | Erased Tapes

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Film Soundtracks - Released April 1, 2017 | Mercury (Universal France)

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 4, 2016 | Erased Tapes

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 24, 2016 | Late Night Tales

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 7, 2010 | Erased Tapes

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Classical - Released October 1, 2007 | Erased Tapes

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Electro - Released October 2, 2015 | Erased Tapes

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Olafur Arnalds in the magazine
  • Olafur Arnalds : futuristic music !
    Olafur Arnalds : futuristic music ! 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 relationsh...