November 13, 2020


Some Kind of Peace In A Chaotic Word: Ólafur Arnalds On His Most Intimate Album Yet (Jess Distill,  November 13, 2020, Reykjavik Grapevine)

Born from a desire to take himself back to his roots, 'Some Kind Of Peace' strips everything away from the lavish compositions and cinematic sounds that have become synonymous with Ólafur's name, to reveal something a little more raw and vulnerable.

"It's not that my music isn't always personal," he admits. "It's just that I tend to create these big ideas or concepts to put in front of me, and it's easy to hide behind them. I like to swing right in the other direction sometimes. I wanted to go back to before this was my job, before there was any pressure, and remember why I was making music."

Working mostly with friends who had been with him during that time, the relationship between Ólafur and his collaborators was as intimate as the music they created. "We had the opportunity to take a lot of time and really have a dialogue about what the music was about and what feelings we were trying to evoke. We would play it a few times and then listen back to it and ask 'How do we feel right now when we hear this?'" Ólafur says. "We went into that aspect of it in a lot of detail, just listening and talking. Because it was so personal to me, I put even more effort into the tiniest details of performance."

With every listen of 'Some Kind of Peace' something new becomes apparent: a string part you didn't notice before, or a sound effect barely audible in the background, more a feeling than a sound. As though Ólafur is revealing himself little bit by little bit, the listener learns something new every time they play the album. Soundbites from his life, voice clips from the recording process, or samples taken of people and music that inspire him litter the album.

"How do you place a voice in voiceless music? How do you tell a story in instrumental music?" he asks. "I just have to add storytelling elements to it. It can be voices or the way something sounds. That's how I add my own voice, so to speak, without actually singing, and tell my personal story through the album."

Posted by at November 13, 2020 12:00 AM