Artist: Ólafur Arnalds
Album: Island songs
Date of publication: 12th August 2016
Record Label: Mercury classics
Website: www. islandsongs.is
Text: Anezka Prosecka
Being home and not knowing about all this beauty, which is waiting around the world, sneaking around our homes or even not recognised in our homes. That is the way describe the feeling from the project ‘’Island songs’’, possibly. A multi-instrumentalist took 7 weeks, 7 different places of Iceland, the country of his origin, 7 documentations of inspiration and compiled them into an etheric album. He finished his journey with recording his last song on 31st July 2016.
Of course, this „smell of home“ is modified with the typical northern nostalgia and melancholy imprinted into the background of the whole project, which goes along with photography and videos on its own website.
Ólafur Arnalds managed to capture the atmosphere of an old family house, big classicist auditorium, modern glass hall, harbour covered by fishing solitude, modern church in a stoned valley, old church on the lonely beach and two lighthouses.
In the album it seems that these archetypal places sound like they await their turn to play their tones. Matching with various instruments, not tiringly repeated, this short album flows in time and ends at the moment when a listener begins to seriously consider visiting Iceland.
Apart from expected electronical parts and leading piano, one can enjoy violins and different brass instruments, especially clarinets and organ. Moreover, Ólafur collaborated with Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir (a vocalist of Of Monsters and Men), Atli Örvarsson (famous conductor) Einar Georg Einarsson (the poet or the South Iceland Chamber Choir) during this journey and in particular songs.
The general feeling after listening the album does not leave me the choice but to give it rating of 6/6. That includes the scale of the project, the time of finishing it and its quality. More than that, if one compares his previous works to this album, once can notice that Ólafur Arnalds is still able to show his originality.