Icelandic multi-instrumentalist and composer Ólafur Arnalds has today released new single ‘Woven Song’ – taken from his upcoming album ‘some kind of peace’, which will be released on November 6th via Mercury KX. Watch the video here. The record was introduced recently by first single ‘Back To The Sky’ (ft. JFDR) alongside the beautiful follow-up ‘We Contain Multitudes’, with collaborations from the likes of Bonobo and Josin also confirmed to feature.
“Woven Song is a defining moment of ‘some kind of peace,’” Ólafur says. “A metaphor for being embraced by something larger than yourself while exploring new territories, the feeling of being held while you open your heart. Using an acrylic pouring process called ‘viscous fingering’ to obtain fractal shapes, Thomas Vanz has created a beautiful visual representation of the lifeline that anchors you to the world during a challenging experience.”
‘Woven Song’ is a unique track in Ólafur’s already varied catalogue of music. A gorgeous, lilting track, made of fluttering piano, the notes light and quick under a sample of shamanic singing of an icaro, an Amazonian healing song that is traditionally woven into fabric for notation. As the song progresses melancholic strings filter in and out, the track becomes eerily serene.
As ‘Woven Song’ makes clear, Ólafur Arnalds is one of the most influential musicians of modern times: a multi-faceted talent, who has paved the way across the electronic and classical worlds. His latest album, ‘some kind of peace’, nonetheless has the feel of a brand new chapter for Ólafur. Within, you’ll find a self-confessed perfectionist grappling with the messier realities of everyday life: the possibilities of love, of settling down, and how to navigate all of that during a global pandemic (the album was half-written prior to lockdown, and completed at Arnalds’ harbour studio in downtown Reykjavik). What’s emerged on ‘some kind of peace’ is a record about letting your guard down, and ultimately what it means to be alive.
More than anything he’s ever made, ‘some kind of peace’ is the story of Ólafur Arnalds’ life – and there is quite the life-story to tell. Arnalds started out writing compositions for a German metal band, before supporting Sigur Rós and forging an oeuvre full of innovations. Having collaborated extensively with German pianist/composer Nils Frahm, Ólafur’s last album – ‘re:member’ – proved a technological triumph (it featured his ground-breaking, self-playing and semi-generative Stratus Pianos). A 140+ date world tour followed, which saw Arnalds sell-out venues ranging from the Royal Albert Hall and his own suitably genre-bending music festival OPIA at Southbank Centre. Few contemporary acts, after all, would be as at home covering Iggy Pop’s show on 6Music as they are composing dance scores for Wayne MacGregor at Sadler’s Wells, winning an BAFTA for his work on ‘Broadchurch’, or landing an Emmy nomination earlier this year for his title theme to ‘Defending Jacob’.
Released this November, ‘some kind of peace’ is a journey of Ólafur Arnalds’ personal and creative growth, set against the backdrop of a chaotic world. Within, you’ll hear hints of those private experiences – sometimes even samples of the significant events themselves – woven into an album that is remarkable in its openness, and its beauty. “It’s so personal that I’m still trying to find the words to talk about it,” Arnalds says today. “I felt it was important that the album would tell my story in a very honest way.” Throughout Ólafur urges you to embrace all that life throws at you, and above all to react, and contemplate, to find your kind of peace. His stunning new album would definitely be the place to start.
‘some kind of peace’ tracklisting:
1 Loom feat. Bonobo
2 Woven Song
4 Still / Sound
5 Back To The Sky feat. JFDR
7 New Grass
8 The Bottom Line feat. Josin
9 We Contain Multitudes