Country : Iceland Label : Mercury KX Genres and styles : Electronic / Neoclassical Year : 2020

Some Kind of Peace

· by Alain Brunet

So why is Ólafur Arnalds such a huge success? Why does this Icelandic drummer and guitarist, a convert to neo-chamber music, fill large halls and touch hundreds of thousands of music lovers around the world? It’s already been laid out, having worked very well for him since at least 2007. Just in case, here’s the recipe again: delicate melodies, economy of harmonic modulations, very simple structures for strings stroked or plucked by high-end, classically trained musicians, finely chiselled electronic ornaments, a few guests in this case – the singers Jófríður Ákadóttir and Josin, the DJ and composer Bonobo. No matter how hard one looks, this new album doesn’t reveal much about Arnalds’ art. These chamber works are losing their substance over the course of the 14 recordings (albums and EPs) under his signature, the freshness and emotional charge of his proposals gradually giving way to impressions of bathos and boredom. As time goes by, Arnalds is still surfing on the same equations, and may eventually run out of waves. If this once-inspired composer does not make the necessary effort to flesh out his orchestral discourse and get out of his comfort zone, he’s doomed to repeat himself.

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