...And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness
The stock of this young Icelandic composer has risen dramatically within a relatively short period of time, and although this is only the second album proper from Olafur Arnalds, there's been a healthy amount of anticipation building up to its release. And They Have Escaped The Weight Of Darkness takes its name from a line in Bela Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies, a film that Arnalds cites as a major inspiration all round for this album, and knowing that certainly invites you to draw parallels between the stately, elegant pacing and proportions of the respective works. Arnalds is able to draw a vast spectrum of colours from a relatively restricted palette, and previously the interplay between strings and piano gave him all manner of achingly lovely material, but for this latest project Arnalds has set aside the homespun electronic additional productions of his prior releases and looked to a bigger, more fully produced sound, assisted by fellow Icelandic maverick, Barði Johannsson (known for his work with pop/electronica outfit, Bang Gang). Tracks like 'Tunglið' and the massive sounding 'Gleypa Okkur' really benefit from the additional live instrumentation, with drums and noisier, rockier elements all helping to broaden Arnalds' repertoire beyond the neo-classical parameters we'd ordinarily associate with him, and resituate his work within a more contemporary and hard-wearing style. A confirmed career milestone for this ever-improving artist.