IF YOU like your music to come with an architecture of gorgeously constructed post-classicism, an experimental and conceptual edge, yet still have enough presence in the world of contemporary pop that you can at least make the shapes of humming along to it, then Ólafur Arnalds is absolutely your man.
The Icelandic composer, who found his musical feet in writing for a metal band before gaining a support slot Sigur Rós and whose last album, re:member, featured self-playing pianos, has emerged into 2020 with the stark Scandi-noir beauty of “Back To The Sky”.
In the video, our unnamed, evidently myopic protagonist crawls, edges, feels his way along a rough inlet-side berm. Slow trip-hop break with a modern techy edge keeps the deepwater currents of melody shifting, all graced with a breathy and seductive vocal. It’s a tune for blissful trysts and shifting landscapes.
The vocal performance comes courtesy a collaboration with fellow Icelander JFDR, who said: “When Ólafur sent over the demo, I could instantly hear and feel the melody.
“I was back in Reykjavík for a little while this winter and somehow ended up living on my own: the sky was dark and all-encompassing, I was quite lonely, and staring into the sky was like I could speak to someone through the cosmos.”
You can hear her bring her gentle wonder at the infinite to Ólafur’s soundscapery.
Fall into the video below; keep up with Ólafur at his website.