Thursday, April 3, 2008

Ólafur Arnalds - Eulogy For Evolution (Erased Tapes Records)

Majestic, graceful, gorgeous and sublime are only the first few words that come to mind when I listen to Ólafur Arnalds’ debut on Erased Tapes Records titled Eulogy For Evolution. Iceland scores once again, with another composer feeling right at home with many instruments - piano, organ, and a melodica. Bring in the strings - cello, viola and violins - and you’ve got an acoustic ensemble for the melancholic sound easily compared among countryman Jóhann Jóhannsson and, of course, Max Richter. Just when you’ve slotted the chamber sound among the modern classical genre, Arnalds throws in some drums and all of a sudden you’re listening to progressive post-rock. The last pieces on the album are exceptionally emotional, starting off with a solo violin performance and building into a progression full of surprises - so I won’t ruin it here. I especially like how the piano recording is separated in the stereo field: the sound of key action preemptively heard in right channel, followed by the hammer striking the string in center, and the soft dull stomp of a pedal somewhere in the left. I rate the album with AAA - Astonishing Acoustic Aural experience. No wonder it showed up at the top of many Best of 2007 lists. Did you happen to miss it? Rapidly elevating to the highest ranks among the contemporary composers, twenty-year-old Ólafur Arnalds is definitely the name to watch in the upcoming years. A must in any collector’s library. | |

No comments: