Born in 1986, Ólafur Arnalds hails from the suburban town of Mosfellsbær, Iceland
, just a few kilometres outside of Reykjavík. He has immersed himself completely in a world of delicate symphonic compositions generating near weightless orchestral pieces. Arnalds explores the crossover from classical
by mixing chamber strings and piano with discreet electronics which makes him a perfect fit for cinematic pop label Erased Tapes
. His motivations are clear: “The classical scene is kind of closed to people who haven't been studying music all their lives. I would like to bring my classical influence to the people who don't usually listen to this kind of music…open people's minds.”
This young artist is steadily gaining recognition worldwide since his 2007 debut, Eulogy for Evolution
. The 2008 follow-up EP, Variations of Static
, earned Ólafur acclaim from both the contemporary and classical field – transcending a traditional divide by uniting their ideals. After filling London’s world-famous Barbican Hall, fellow Icelanders Sigur Rós
invited Ólafur to open their most recent European shows, playing to an audience of over 5,000 per night.
In April 2009, Iceland’s neo-classical export created the seven-song series Found Songs
– recording a song a day for seven days and instantly making each track available via Twitter
. With artwork contributions from fans via Flickr, this modern release awakens memories of a tradition that seemed lost in the digital age we live in.
With the next full-length release due this winter, Ólafur conceived Found Songs
as a way to collate several lost and found musical sketches and ideas in a "'very challenging, but fun" series. The experiment offers its listeners an intimate insight into Ólafur Arnalds’ creative world. Ólafur says, "The songs will be different from what's on my albums; they will be short, mostly just made up from piano. Something to keep me going."
So far more than 70.000 people downloaded the Found Songs
series via foundsongs.erasedtapes.com
. Each track inspired a wealth of artwork from his fans – submitted via Flickr. Hosting this project on their official website, Erased Tapes
Records watched the collaboration between Arnalds and his online audience flourish and found it fitting to combine the music and artwork into one complete work. A re-mastered physical and limited edition will now be released as a CD, 10” Vinyl and high-quality download.
Ólafur is currently in the studio with Bardi Johannsson
) who will be co-producing his upcoming album. Arnalds' growing reputation has also won him the attention of the internationally renowned British dance choreographer Wayne McGregor who has invited Ólafur to score his brand new work. Dyad 1909
will be premiered in London at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre this October. The show will go on a EU-wide tour with Arnalds included in an impressive creative line-up alongside acclaimed artists and filmmakers Jane and Louise Wilson.
'Iceland's best new export'
// ‘Youthful Icelander Arnalds sculpts classically toned indie epics'
– Time Out
'Enchanting Icelandic song-smith Ólafur Arnalds has been a favourite at DiS towers for a while but he's only gone and endeared himself to us even bloody more now!'
– Drowned In Sound
'Ólafur Arnalds is a brilliant everything. I love nothing more than seeing genuine, hardworking, creative people capture attention of audiences, creating instead of complaining and talking. The new music industry is in their hands. The Erased Tapes team is a similarly inspired bunch'
– Anthony Volodkin, The Hype Machine
'Indie symphonies of remarkable depth. Iceland's brightest young talent won't be out of the light for long. Achingly beautiful'
– Rock Sound
'Arnalds is sure to gain a well deserved place amongst the new generation of classical composers'
– The Milk Factory
'In any event his debut sounds full of the reverence and awe normally reserved for God, or at least George Best or Sir Vivian Richards at the absolute peak of their powers'
– Brainwashed (US)
'Arnalds possesses a deft ear for theme that many composers thrice his age lack’
– Exclaim (CA)
'A series of orchestral movements that pull the heartstrings like a marionette’
– The Silent Ballet (US)