ÓLAFUR ARNALDS : Found Songs 10″ EP (ERASED TAPES)
With brilliant recent works from the likes of Danny Norbury, Peter Broderick, Nils Frahm and Richard Skelton’s Clouwbeck still ringing in our ears, along comes another achingly beautiful contribution to the modern classical canon. Olafur Arnalds has shown great promise in previous releases Eulogy For Evolution and Variations Of Static, and this latest outing continues to chart the young Icelandic composer’s ascendance. The circumstances behind Found Songs’ genesis are novel to say the least: Arnalds made and released one track per day, distributing the individual pieces via Twitter – he even got his fans to contribute artwork via Flickr. Despite the very modern origins of this album, Found Songs is built from predominantly very traditional components, fashioning music for piano, chamber strings and an array of electronic elements that have been toned down from previous releases. From the supremely elegant opening keyings of ‘Erla’s Waltz’, Arnalds makes a huge impact, building a sense of emotional gravitas as he reaches for a string section on ‘Raein’. The Icelander recently toured with compatriots Sigur Ros, and you can hear a creative kinship with that band’s grand, swooping gestures on the likes of ‘Lost Song’ and ‘Allt Varð Hljótt’. Excellent stuff this, and if Found Songs is any indicator you can reasonably expect great things from Arnalds’ forthcoming next album, due in the winter. Highly recommended.