Born in 1986, Ólafur hails from the suburban Icelandic town of Mosfellsbær, just a few kilometres outside of Reykjavík. He has immersed himself completely in a world of delicate symphonic compositions generating near weightless orchestral pieces. Arnalds explores the crossover from classical to pop by mixing chamber strings and piano with discreet electronics which makes him a perfect fit for cinematic music label Erased Tapes. His motivations are clear: 'The classical scene is kind of closed to people who haven't been studying music all their lives. I would like to bring my classical influence to the people who don't usually listen to this kind of music…open people's minds.'
Through relentless touring and determination this young artist has steadily gained recognition worldwide since his 2007 debut 'Eulogy for Evolution'. His 2008 follow-up EP ‘Variations of Static’ earned Ólafur acclaim from both the contemporary and classical field – transcending a traditional divide. He has sold out some of the world’s most renowned music venues including Barbican Hall in London and has been awarded ‘Best Live Session of 2008’ by BBC Radio 1 presenter Gilles Peterson.
Over the past eighteen months Arnalds has advanced from a former support-act for Sigur Rós to an internationally respected artists in his own right. In April 2009 Arnalds created the 7 song series 'Found Songs' – recording a song a day for 7 days and instantly making each track available via Twitter and the official Erased Tapes website with over 300.000 people downloading for free.
December 2009 saw the release of Ólafur’s contemporary dance score 'Dyad 1909', commissioned by the award-winning choreographer Wayne McGregor. The dance piece, inspired by Shackleton’s South Pole premiered at the Sadler’s Wells theatre in October 2009 and became a much talked about 5-nights of live music, dance and visuals. BBC Four, the ITV1 South Bank Show and Arte TV Europe broadcasted 'Dyad 1909' on primetime television. In March 2010 he embarked on his first ever China Tour, which included sold-out shows in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing, and a live webcast watched by thousands of fans all round the world.
Ólafur Arnalds' second full-length album '...and they have escaped the weight of darkness', continues his mission to lure an indie-generation of pop and rock fans into an emotive world of beguiling electronic chamber music and delicate classical arrangements. The sense of an organic crossover recording is reinforced by the involvement of co-producer Barði Jóhannsson of eccentric pop/rock/electronica-formation Bang Gang. Those expecting a mere continuation of the minimal melancholia of his previous albums are in for a surprise, as the record may be the most uplifting and richly orchestrated work of his career.
'Precocious Nordic composer’s sumptuous second LP … Timeless and sublime' **** – UNCUT
'An artist of immense maturity' (9/10) – Drowned In Sound