By David Peter Simon | October 19th, 2011
Olafur Arnalds’ new series, Living Room Songs, is an accessible listen to classical that holds no pretence. Positively moving, the songs take ambient music to another scale. This is music that encourages deeper listening from its pure beauty. At the same time, it intellectually extends the idea of shared music by being released as a series of seven free streamed videos which document the live recording process (Olafur invited listeners to his apartment). It would be foolish to bypass this opportunity to hear art in the making, and I highly recommend clicking the link above to see for yourself.
Rendererd speechless, I guess I can’t say I’ve truly felt the words if I’ve ever written them before. These songs shatter Olafur’s previous releases (like Found Songs) and has raised the bar for aspiring cross-genre multi-instrumentalists. Delivered through the space of his living room (hence, the name), the songs clearly embody the idea of atmospheric — it’s hard not to be filled with envy as you see listeners sitting in on real-life magic.
Olafur Arnalds has been making music since 2007 and was surprisingly a drummer for hardcore/metal bands back in the day in Iceland. Today, he can be found making piano songs mixing strings with beats and loops to produce genres ranging from classical/ambient to experimental/electronica. Living Room Songs is luckily of his classical variety that includes piano solos and string/piano arrangements.
I was most impressed by the quiet power of Day 4: Tomorrow’s Song, where Olafur plays a soft solo piece, exquisitely paired with shallow focus and oblique camera angels. It’s hard to pick a favorite though, all the recordings were just out-of-this-world good.
Living Room Songs will be released from Erased Tapes and is avaliable now for pre-order with free postcard included. While it may sound like a cheesy promotion deal, it just goes to show Olafur is pulling out no stops with this release in terms of shareablity. All music can also be downloaded for free as mp3s in addition to the physical copies, with the hope that you share it with your friends on social networks.
Overall, while I’m impressed with this release, I couldn’t say I didn’t expect it. Olafur Arnalds, in my opinion, will only continue to make good music as his sound ages and his songs will continue to be something to look forward to for a long time coming. I suggest following his website so as to stay on top of his next release and you can listen to his previous work if not familiar with it via Myspace.