Ólafur Arnalds creates some lovely, if unmoving, tunes on Found Songs


It makes sense that Ólafur Arnalds‘ newest, Found Songs, doesn’t pack quite the same punch as Eulogy for Evolution does. In April, Arnalds composed and recorded a song daily for seven days, releasing each one to the web immediately. As a result, we have ourselves some Ólafur lite — while this isn’t the worst thing in the world, it’s too bad the ideas present were never expanded upon.

For the most part, each song works with an extremely simple piano line for a bit until some strings come in to take the melody. The simplistic approach largely works — take the album’s closer, “Ljósið,” for instance. The beautiful piano/violin interplay gives off one of those Sigur Rós-esque childlike moods, without Sigur Rós’ noted loudness.

It’s upsetting, though, that Arnalds rarely moves anywhere past this formula. With a lesser composer, it wouldn’t be the biggest deal, but with Arnalds — who I know isn’t averse to drama in his music — there needs to be something more. “Erla’s Waltz” is a pretty piano composition, sure, and the minimalistic processed drumbeat on “Lost Song” is welcome, but it’s not enough to turn these slivers of ideas into full-fledged, emotionally affecting songs.

So Found Songs, then, is a collection of tracks stuck in one moment in time, refusing to break their bonds. The incredible music Arnalds is capable of is in there somewhere, but he probably just didn’t have the time to go and search for it.

On a more psychedelic note, I’ve attached the video for “Ljósið.” Zone out to it, bro.

Ólafur Arnalds – “Lost Song” [MP3]

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