Olafur Arnalds

...And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness

BY Eric HillPublished Jun 7, 2010

The first full-length after three EPs that nicely bridged the gap between this and Arnalds' inaugural release in 2007, ...And They Have Escaped confirms the young Iceland native's immaculate touch. Taking inspiration from a filmic description of a solar eclipse, Arnalds' post-classical compositions concentrate on positive thematic elements to describe a journey towards lightness. The clarity of recording (with co-production by Barði Jóhannsson) captures both the piano pedals' soft concussion and the momentary deliberation in violinist Margret Soffia Einarsdottir's quiet attack, imparting both humanism and vulnerability to the pieces. The silences that open between the slowing intervals of resolution leave space for us to enter and participate in the journey. It is Arnalds' willingness to delay rhapsody that makes his work truly remarkable. The payoff for patience comes in moments like the drums on "Gleypa okkur," which lift us up without having to resort to tympanic overkill. In the growing canon of "home classical" works, Arnalds has added another benchmark.
(Erased Tapes)

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