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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 November 15, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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In 2018, Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds pushed the boundaries of musical creativity within the studio with his album re:member, created with a software called Stratus, which allows two pianos to automatically play music generated by a computer. A year later he presented the live version, which he performed on stages all around Europe, from London to Lisbon via Munich, Amsterdam and Berlin. Although he doesn’t replicate his composition method on stage, he throws himself into improvisation, offering alternative versions of six of the twelve tracks from the album including the sublime Saman, recorded in the German capital, or the eight minutes of Undir. “For this album, I wanted to document all the new and often surprising forms that the songs of re:member take when I play them on stage”, explains the Icelander. This is a welcome extended edition of one of the best electronic albums of the decade. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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Classical - Released March 16, 2015 | Mercury (Universal France)

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This week's entry in the very-much-like-nothing-you've-ever-heard-before sweepstakes comes from Icelandic electronic musician and composer Ólafur Arnalds and German-Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott, whose recording of Chopin waltzes inspired the project. What you get are recordings of Chopin piano compositions, plus original compositions by Arnalds based on motifs from Chopin. In one case, "Eyes Shut/Nocturne in C minor" (track six), the two are combined. Arnalds' pieces employ his own electronic keyboard textures, plus a live string quintet. On top of this, the pianos are vintage instruments hunted down in Reykjavik, and the ambience, if you will, was manipulated by recording in various venues and with various microphones there. And, on top of all this, Arnalds adds ambient soundscapes (noise, sounds of conversation, whispers, etc.) to the music. The ideas seem packed in a bit thick. The string quintet, for example, was a sound unused by Chopin, and it introduces an element that seems discordant with the source material. But there is a major X factor working in favor of this release: nobody has ever tried anything much like this, either with Chopin or with any other composer, and it just might be the beginning of something new and important. Check it out and decide for yourself! © James Manheim /TiVo
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Ambient - Released December 5, 2011 | Erased Tapes

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

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

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Ambient - Released March 4, 2016 | Erased Tapes

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Ambient - Released May 10, 2010 | Erased Tapes

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Ambient - Released October 29, 2007 | Erased Tapes

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Ambient - Released August 31, 2009 | Erased Tapes

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"[W]hat Iceland's foremost classically trained composer brings forth is an impressive amount of emotion in little time and space....It's striking, effective and successful." © TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 2015 | Mercury (Universal France)

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This 2015 release is the first full-length soundtrack album for the ITV series Broadchurch. Expanding on the 2013 EP of season one highlights, it includes selections from the first two seasons of Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds' (Gimme Shelter, The Hunger Games) salient, BAFTA Award-winning score for the popular U.K. murder mystery show. With the exception of "So Close" and "So Far," which feature Arnór Dan on vocals, instrumentation is limited to piano, electronics, and strings, the latter recorded in a Reykjavik church for a natural reverberation. The music is widely considered to be a vital component of the show's foreboding atmosphere. © Marcy Donelson /TiVo
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Ambient - Released October 2, 2015 | Erased Tapes

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

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Classical - Released December 13, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Electronic/Dance - Released June 24, 2016 | Late Night Tales

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Ambient - Released August 21, 2015 | Erased Tapes

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

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 /TiVo
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Classical - Released April 26, 2019 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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

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Film Soundtracks - Released February 27, 2012 | 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...