Ólafur Arnalds, "Tunglið" [Icelandic Music]

Sorry for yesterday’s minor hiccup re: Icelandic Week. TMI: On Saturday, a car of deaf kids ran a red light and slammed into me. (Yes, I know this sounds like the set-up to a joke.) I had my two kids with me, so it was exceptionally scary, but we’re all fine. As a result though, I’ve spent the past two days dealing with the insurance company, arranging to get a rental car, figuring out how to renew my recently expired license in order to get a rental car, etc. etc. Anyway, all back to normal(ish) today, so prepare to be flooded with all things Icelandic.

First up is today’s morning song—“Tunglið” by Ólafur Arnalds from his recent album . . . And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness. This album is filled with peaceful, emotive pieces that are perfect for easing into your day (or recovering from the spook of a car accident?).

Here’s a bit of the Pitchfork (“World’s Most Obnoxious Music Website”(tm))1 review of this album:

Ólafur Arnalds is a young Icelandic musician whose work defines “architectural,” as bulky strings are built around skeletal frameworks of piano, sometimes with sparse electronic loops for detail. He has a strong ear for proportion and balance, as if a single misplaced sound could trigger a collapse. At worst, his music can feel conservative and utilitarian, or overly cautious. There’s a thin line between having an indelible personal stamp and charting by numbers. But at best, Arnalds’ lucid forms and themes produce an agreeable opulence.

Not surprisingly, Ólafur Arnalds played with Sigur Rós . . . He’s also all of 25 years old. I suspect he’ll be putting out pretty albums for quite some time to come.

1 As someone who reads “p4k” nearly every day, it’s maybe a bit hypocritical to say something like this. But whatever. Aside from the occasional perceptive review (usually written by Douglas Wolk), most of these pieces are reflections on a sort of “approved Pitchfork lifestyle.” It’s not about the music, it’s about the determined coolness of being associated with that music. Some musical styles are “hip,” others are backwards looking, anything more experimental than Animal Collective are dismissed as niche.

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