Born in a tiny Icelandic town in 1986, Arnalds spent his youth playing in local hardcore bands. His career accelerated in 2004, when he was invited to write instrumental intros and outros for the anti-racist metal outfit Heaven Shall Burn. After a record label heard the pieces and asked him to compose more, he arrived with 2007’s Eulogy for Evolution, which was greeted by the press as the welcome arrival of an innovative new voice. Further albums and EPs followed, culminating in For Now I Am Winter (2013), which adds vocals to his signature style. He has scored a ballet and dabbled in experimental techno, while contributing music to numerous film and television soundtracks. Few musicians have been able to straddle the works of neoclassical, electronic and popular music with such deft élan.
By bringing his background in rock music to bear on the world of classical, Arnalds has created a unique sound. He favours the intimacy of chamber music over large-scale composition, and often works with keyboard, strings and electronics alone. Wistfulness looms large in his work. It often sounds as if recorded in a snow-swept cabin. Sombre violin peals unfurl over elegant piano chords, with ambient production creating space in the background. On his most recent works, electronics burst into action, cutting and skewing the instruments to create something redolent of Owen Pallett, or even Arthur Russell.
|What||Ólafur Arnalds, Barbican|
|Where||Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Barbican (underground)|
On 22 Feb 15, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
|Website||Click here to book via the Barbican’s website|