Iceland native Olafur Arnalds has been enchanting audiences worldwide (including us
) with his cinematic, orchestral sounds that blend symphonic classical and dark trip-hop for a truly unique ambiance. The multi-instrumentalist and composer recently released his fourth studio album, For Now I Am Winter
, and we were honored to have him perform at our Launch Pad show at South by Southwest in Austin.
It's hard not to be lulled into a waking dreamland as you listen to Olafur's piano interweave with his string arrangements and haunting beats, and seeing him live makes it all the more intense. An Olafur concert is something of a religious experience: the audience stands still, straight, and silent - even Olafur himself seems rather startled by applause - the music washes a floating sense of calm over the room, and twenty minutes can feel like five. "Only The Winds," one of the singles off of the new record, has a slow build reminiscent of Sigur Ros' ( )
, and gives you a sense of how evocative electronic rhythms can be. Challenge your genre assumptions and enter Olafur's twilit world with our exclusive concert video.
Born 1986 in the suburban Icelandic town of Mosfellsbr, a few kilometers outside of Reykjavk, composer/performer lafur Arnalds has always enjoyed pushing boundaries with both his studio work and live-shows. Since the release of his debut album Eulogy for Evolution in 2007 he has built up a dedicated international following and is well established for his genre-crossing compositions blending classical, pop and ambient/electronica influences to a unique musical language.
Starting out as drummer for several hardcore/metal bands, lafur was asked to write instrumental intros and outros for the album Antigone of German metal band Heaven Shall Burn. This led to more work in the field of neo-classical strings and piano based music, and ultimately to the release of Eulogy for Evolution and the beginning of lafurs partnership with Berlin based label Erased Tapes. In 2008 he embarked on a tour with fellow Icelanders Sigur Rs.
In 2009 he started a week-long project of composing one track by day, making it immediately available online to his fans. The collection was later officially released under the title Found Songs. He repeated the same experiment in 2011 under the title Living Room Songs. Also in 2009 the ballet Dyad 1909 premiered with a score composed by lafur. Choreographed by Wayne McGregor and performed by Wayne McGregor Random Dance, the ballet was inspired by Ernest Shackletons Nimrod Expedition to the South Pole in 1909.
In April 2010 lafur released his second full-length album entitled And They Have Escaped The Weight Of Darkness, which was backed up with an extensive tour, including his first trip to China.
His third album, and the first to be released under his new partnership with Universal Musics Mercury Classics imprint, is titled For Now I Am Winter and planned for international release in February 2013. Expanding on his previous work the new album features a full orchestra and for the first time introduces vocals to his soundworld. Icelandic singer Arnr Dan is to be heard on four tracks of the album.
More recently lafur has been venturing into the world of films, writing his first Hollywood film score to Another Happy Day. He also had music in the hit film The Hunger Games and has been featured several times on popular American television show So You Think You Can Dance. For 2013 his scores include the music to the new ITV thriller series Broadchurch, starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman, as well as to the film Gimme Shelter, directed by Ron Krauss and starring Vanessa Hudgens and Brendan Fraser.