Ólafur Arnalds – Variations of Static
February 19, 2009, 2:44 pm
Filed under: Releases | Tags: ,


Sometimes I come across music that leaves me speechless and touches me in that secret place that most music fails to penetrate. I like to call it the emotional melodic membrane. When it does occur (and it is rare), it manages to enthuse a sense of awe and wonder for the world and a new passion in musical experiences. Well thanks to Ólafur Arnalds that experience was relit this morning whilst listening to his new release “Variations of Static”. Hard to sum this release up in words really, but for those who are fans of Digitonal and Bersarin Quartett check this guy out as I am sure you wont be disappointed….

‘Youthful Icelander Arnalds sculpts classically toned indie epics in a Sigur Rós stylee.’ – Time Out *Recommended

‘Arnalds has released two indie symphonies of remarkable depth. Iceland’s brightest young talent won’t be out of the light for long!’ – Rock Sound

‘There is, in Ólafur Arnalds’s work, a certain elegance and fluidity that is very much his own. The five compositions presented here are all versatile and hint at rich soundscapes without ever actually reaching them, leaving an element of want and expectation hanging over this work. This conscious restraint is very much the strength of Arnalds’s work and makes this release a beautiful companion to Eulogy For Evolution. One can only wish Arnalds’s talent gets the recognition it deserves sooner rather than later.’ (4.4/5)
– The Milk Factory

‘For once, instruments don’t need to evolve in order to make a difference, this being Olafur’s major accomplishment – the bare simplicity of music in its wholeness becomes unrelenting. The universe would most definitely crumble, should all musicians rely on transmitting sheer passion without a solid compositional ground. Impressively enough, Iceland’s boy wonder manages to steer clear of that and delivers an utterly complex piece. From its inception to the very last second, Variations of Static explores basic human perceptions, the changing qualities of the most common sounds, and raw sensations, musically recreating scraps of an imaginary impressionist painting. Under the siege of strings, the world slowly becomes a skinless place, like a wide steppe safely pinned to the big bones of separation.’ – The Silent Ballet

‘In addition to the strings and pianos that form the foundations of his sound, Arnalds isn’t afraid to embrace more contemporary instrumentation: a careful, sparing use of micro-beats further assists the young composer in the establishment of a distinct voice within the community of current neo-romantic composers, within which he should surely be regarded as a rising talent. Utterly lovely – highly recommended!’ Album Of The Week
– Boomkat Records (UK)

‘Svo fögur!’ (4.5/5) – Rjominn (IS)

‘His sweet-sour, melancholic music brings you to new heights and is way ahead of other albums in this genre!’ (8.6/10) – Monitor Magazine (IS)

(9/10) – Sound Mag (GER)

‘Variations of Static is in fact full of arctic hints, filtered through night compositions, focusing not only on minimal piano notes, but also string arrangements that give a placid contour to dreamy instrumental songs – wrapped around simple loops, tiny glitches, field recordings and distant voices.’ – Onda Rock (IT)


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