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Olafur Arnalds: Bio

Born in 1986, Ólafur Arnalds hails from the suburban Icelandic town of Mosfellsbær, 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 to pop by mixing chamber strings and piano with discreet electronics which makes him a perfect fit for cinematic music 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.'

Through relentless touring and determination this young artist has steadily gained recognition worldwide since his 2007 debut 'Eulogy for Evolution'. His 2008 follow-up EP ‘Variations of Static' earned Ólafur acclaim from both the contemporary and classical field – transcending a traditional divide. He has sold out some of the world's most renowned music venues including Barbican Hall in London and has been awarded‘Best Live Session of 2008' by BBC Radio 1 presenter Gilles Peterson.

Over the past eighteen months Arnalds has advanced from a former support-act for Sigur Rós to an internationally respected artists in his own right. In April 2009 Arnalds created the 7 song series 'Found Songs' – recording a song a day for 7 days and instantly making each track available via Twitter and the official Erased Tapes website with over 300.000 people downloading for free.

December 2009 saw the release of Ólafur's contemporary dance score 'Dyad 1909', commissioned by the award-winning choreographerWayne McGregor. The dance piece, inspired by Shackleton's South Pole premiered at the Sadler's Wells theatre in October 2009 and became a much talked about 5-nights of live music, dance and visuals. BBC Four, the ITV1 South Bank Show and Arte TV Europe broadcasted 'Dyad 1909' on primetime television.

Ólafur Arnalds' second full-length album '...and they have escaped the weight of darkness', continues his mission to lure an indie-generation of pop and rock fans into an emotive world of beguiling electronic chamber music and delicate classical arrangements. The sense of an organic crossover recording is reinforced by the involvement of co-producer Barði Jóhannsson of eccentric pop/rock/electronica-formationBang Gang. Those expecting a mere continuation of the minimal melancholia of his previous albums are in for a surprise, as the record may be the most uplifting and richly orchestrated work of his career.
 

'Precocious Nordic composer's sumptuous second LP … Timeless and sublime' «««« – UNCUT

‘An artist of immense maturity' (9/10) – Drowned In Sound

'Hotwired to the soul. ...will reduce you to wordless tears' – The Quietus

‘This set's effortless poise elevates him to the genre's upper echelons' – BBC Music

‘Meticulous… uplifting and richly orchestrated… peopled with languorous ladies climbing through ice filled caverns' – Clash

'Arnalds' boldest and most ambitious take… the robust yet ethereal, mid-tempo tearjerker …And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness is a success for the composer' (7.0) – Pitchfork

‘Tenderly rendered puffs of ambient distress' «««« – Spin

‘Keep an eye on Arnalds. He will only increase in importance' (86%) – Filter

‘This 23-year-old Icelandic composer casts a haunting spell… This is beautifully crafted neo-classial music, with an emphasis on mood as much as melody' – Music & Musicians

‘In the growing canon of "home classical" works, Arnalds has added another benchmark' – Exclaim!

‘Olafur Arnalds has already made a name for himself as a musical maverick who skirts the edges of the classical, rock, electronic, and avant-garde worlds with enthusiastic ease, a Nico Muhly with a higher tolerance for cold weather, if you will… breaking new ground… showing the rock crowd that they too have a point of entry into this music' (7/10) – All Music Guide

In March 2010 he embarked on his first ever China Tour, which included sold-out shows in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing, and a live webcast watched by thousands of fans all round the world. On July 1st 2010 Ólafur Arnalds will be performing the world premiere of his new album with brand new arrangements for a full-blown symphony orchestra at Manchester's Bridgewater Hall. André de Ridder, who previously worked withNico Muhly and Damon Albarn, will be conducting the RNCM Symphony Orchestra. Ólafur will continue touring the rest of the world throughout the year to promote the new album release.

The new album '...and they have escaped the weight of darkness' has been released worldwide on May 8, 2010 via Erased Tapes Records.

Best Live Session of 2008 – BBC Radio 1 Gilles Peterson show

'The sound of cracking ice and freezing winds in Olafur Arnalds's evocative and lyrical score' «««« – Times

'The work is a fascinating collaboration' (4/5) – Guardian

'Mature, modern explorations of life and its unexpected joys, rendering Arnalds increasingly visible' Best of What's Next – Paste Magazine

1 Loom  
2 Woven Song  
3 Spiral  
4 Still / Sound  
5 Back To The Sky  
6 Zero  
7 New Grass  
8 The Bottom Line  
9 We Contain Multitudes  
10 Undone  
behind the scenes film
Woven Song
We Contain Multitudes (from home)
Performance (Live on KEXP) Seattle

'some kind of peace' is the stunning new album from the ground-breaking composer and producer Ólafur Arnalds, available now on Mercury KX. The record features a brand new track 'The Bottom Line' ft. Josin, alongside a beautiful video featuring the work of Japanese flower artist Azuma Makoto out today, and 'Loom', Arnalds' collaboration with Bonobo. Also out now is 'finding some kind of peace', a very special behind the scenes film about the new album.

Ólafur has been confirmed as the closing act for Iceland Airwaves' virtual festival, ‘Live from Reykjavík', on November 13th, where he will perform mostly new material played live for the very first time. Ólafur's music will also play a major role in the forthcoming Netflix documentary on Shawn Mendes, 'In Wonder', which is set to be released on November 23rd. Ólafur has also recently surpassed a staggering 1 billion streams, an incredible milestone for the Icelandic multi-instrumentalist.