Icelandic composer, musician and producer Ólafur Arnalds will release his new album re:member on August 24th via Mercury kx. This week he released the album’s latest single and video “unfold” featuring SOHN. Ahead of the album’s release, Arnalds is currently embarking on a worldwide 40-city tour which began at his sold out show at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The U.S. leg kicks off on June 21 in San Francisco with a sold-out show in San Francisco.
The full-length features the groundbreaking new software Stratus, which transforms the piano into an almost entirely new instrument. The Stratus Pianos are two self-playing, semi-generative player pianos which are triggered by a central piano played by Arnalds; these new instruments and custom built software are the centerpiece of re:member. Created over a two year period by composer and audio developer Halldór Eldjárn, the algorithms generated by Stratus were used to create the LP artwork. Arnalds describes the player pianos in a two-part video; watch part 1 and part 2.
On the LP, Ólafur Arnalds uses these methods to reinvigorate the compositional process. He explains, “This is my breaking-out-of-a-shell album. It’s me taking the raw influences that I have from all these different musical genres and not filtering them. It explores the creative process and how one can manipulate that to get out of the circle of expectations and habit.”
The new music on re:member uses not only Stratus pianos but also includes a string quartet, synthesizers, electronics, live drums and a string orchestra recorded at London’s Air Studios. With his friend Halldór Eldjárn, Arnalds set about developing the Stratus system: software that sends instructions to two pianos “and the two become one and play together.” Arnalds sets the values that the software feeds to the pianos – the rhythm, the tempo – and those are triggered by chords or notes he plays. What happened when Arnalds started making music using Stratus was a little unexpected and quickly becoming the focal point of his new compositions.
In the 15 years since he started writing music in his native Iceland, composing what he described as imaginary films saying “I was scoring the pictures in my head,” Arnalds has become internationally celebrated for his blend of ambient, classical, electronic, pop and rock music. 2016’s Island Songs and the improvised LPs Found Songs (2009) and Living Room Music (2011) all involved the daily release of new music over a seven-day period. Previous works include 2008’s Variations in Static and his debut 2007’s Eugology of Revolution. Arnalds has received critical acclaim for his extensive soundtrack work, including composing the score for ITV’s “Broadchurch” for which he won a 2014 BAFTA for “Best Original Music.”
2. unfold (ft. SOHN)
6. they sink
11. ekki hugsa
NORTH AMERICAN DATEs
June 21—San Francisco, CA— Regency Ballroom*
June 22 — Los Angeles, CA —The Cathedral Sanctuary*
June 23—Chicago, IL —Thalia Hall*
June 24— Toronto, ON —Luminato Festival*
June 28—Quebec City, QC —Palias Montcalm
June 29—Montreal, QC—Jazz Festival*
June 30—New York, NY—Le Poisson Rouge*
July 1—Brooklyn, NY— Murmrr Theater