Ólafur Arnalds’ Piano Portrait Offers An Insight Into His Process

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Ólafur Arnalds has never wanted his work to become frozen, or settled in one place. A composer who is continually questing, the Icelandic artist is able to absorb new influences within his creative practise, allowing the framework to expand as a result.

His 2020 breakthrough album ‘some kind of peace’ remains a definitive statement in modern classical composition, melding together left-field electronics, deft arrangements, and some superb quests.

Continuing two Grammy-nominated tracks – ‘The Bottom Line’(feat. Bonobo)and ‘Loom’(feat. Josin) – the record broke new ground, and pushed his stature to fresh levels.

A new 10 track album finds a series of artists re-working material from the record, including the likes of Alfa Mist, Yiruma, Dustin O’Halloran, tstewart (Machinedrum) and more. There’s a thread running through the re-workings, too – each musician must use the piano.

Ólafur Arnalds sits at the helm, noting: “A song is never finished. A piece of music can take on any form, evolve and breathe with whomever is playing it. The heart of the song lives in the performer.”

Clash is able to share a new video, a Piano Portrait that finds Ólafur Arnalds exploring his favourite instrument. The clip offers insight into his processes, while also serving as a beautifully shot performance and conversation piece.

He explains…

Introducing my favourite piano, a little pianetta from Denmark, that I got shipped over with DHL (two of them on one pallet actually). I fell in love with this piano for its lovely and bold character. It’s not perfect by any chance but only has the nice, non-annoying, flaws.

Watch it now.

Go deep on the world of Ólafur Arnalds in this in-depth archive interview.

Dive into ‘some kind of peace – piano reworks’ below.

Photo Credit: Anna Maggy

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