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coverpic flag Iceland - Full Moon 160 - 10/04/09

Ólafur Arnalds
Uppsala Konsert och Kongress 25.09.2009

Ólafur Arnalds makes music that combines the classical world's precision with the contemplative calm of folk and the adventurous spirit of jazz. With a dash of electonica thrown in for good measure. In person he's a young man from Iceland who's prone to chat amicably with the audience. "There's so many of you", he says and sounds genuinely surprised. The small hall is filled with both young and middle aged and older people. Later he notes of an instrument, "I don't know what it is, but it sounds like this". He plays the piano and a laptop and is accompanied by a string quartet. One of them is a celebrity, he says. "He played with Yohanna at the Eurovision. There were dolphins on a screen. It was awesome. Did you see it?" Duh, we're Swedish. It's mandatory viewing. If we don't watch the police will come and take us away. I'm kidding. Almost.

Arnalds melancholy instrumental songs are elegant and expansive. I'm reminded of calm nature and geysers. During a song dedicated to hope, electronically produced doves take to the sky. He plays an Icelandic lullaby as an encore and tells us to sleep rather than join the faux-October fest in the square outside. He'll catch some sleep before embarking on a plan bound for Hamburg and a gig. It was a tranquil, yet inspiring concert and it worked like a balm for wounds inflicted by living in these information saturated times.

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