There is an emerging generation of artists who are positing the first new movement in classical music since 1970s minimalism: Ambient Chamber Music. It mixes classical orchestrations with electronic sounds, but couches them all in gorgeous, often heart-rending melodies and an atmosphere that envelopes you, unlike a lot of neo-classical music. Artists like Ludovico Einaudi, Hilmar Orn Hilmarrson and Max Richter are at the leading edge, but there’s a growing younger generation that includes Dustin O’Halloran, Johnann Johannsson, Kevin Keller and leading the pack, Ólafur Arnalds. His latest album, For Now I Am Winter was the Echoes CD of the Month in April. During an Echoes living room concert we sat down to talk about his winter soundscapes. You can hear that interview in the Echoes Podcast.
Ólafur on Alicia Keys piano: It’s a really, it’s so polished.
Arnór Dan Arnarson on his heavy metal reputation: It sounds so aahhhh!
Ólafur on Arnarson’s lyrics: When we were doing demos and just writing the vocal melodies in my studio, we didn’t have any lyrics yet, so Arnor would just sing jibberish, just go [jibbering] and then we got so addicted to those vowels because we had listened to it so many times, that when he started writing the lyrics he consciously tried to find words that rhymed with the vowels that we had previously used because they just felt so natural to the music.
Ólafur on silence: I think silence is just as much music as not.
Here’s a dreamy video of my favorite song from the album, “Only the Winds.”
~John Diliberto (((echoes)))
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