Icelandic Pianist-Composer Ólafur Arnalds Highlights the Importance of Rituals

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Ólafur Arnalds is an Icelandic composer and multi-instrumentalist whose work toes the line between classical music, electronic music and film scores, mostly with a delicate undercurrent of minimalism. For his latest introspective album, some kind of peace, which reflects on connections and rituals, he has incorporated piano, strings, and electronics, but also live and taped voices. There’s the recorded sound of a healing ritual of the upper Amazon, or piano captured via an Edison phonograph recording head so that he can make new cylinder recordings to get a nostalgic sound, or piano preparations that might make new sounds. (Ólafur is a collector of vintage music technologies.)

In the recent past, Arnalds has also played a Stratus piano, which is both an acoustic instrument and an algorithmic musical software that takes the piano sound and generates additional patterns and harmonies from it. For this Soundcheck Podcast, Ólafur joins us from home, in Iceland, solo on a pianette, or mini-piano, to play recent music. - Caryn Havlik

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