Born 1986 in the suburban Icelandic town of Mosfellsbær, a few kilometers outside of Reykjavík, composer/performer Ólafur Arnalds has always enjoyed pushing boundaries with both his studio work and live-shows. Since the release of his debut album "Eulogy for Evolution" in 2007 he has built up a dedicated international following and is well established for his genre-crossing compositions blending classical, pop and ambient/electronica influences to a unique musical language.
Starting out as drummer for several hardcore/metal bands, Ólafur was asked to write instrumental intros and outros for the album "Antigone" of German metal band Heaven Shall Burn. This led to more work in the field of neo-classical strings and piano based music, and ultimately to the release of Eulogy for Evolution and the beginning of Ólafur's partnership with Berlin based label Erased Tapes. In 2008 he embarked on a tour with fellow Icelanders Sigur Rós.
In 2009 he started a week-long project of composing one track by day, making it immediately
available online to his fans. The collection was later officially released under the title Found
Songs. He repeated the same experiment in 2011 under the title Living Room Songs. Also
in 2009 the ballet Dyad 1909 premiered with a score composed by Ólafur. Choreographed
by Wayne McGregor and performed by Wayne McGregor Random Dance, the ballet was
inspired by Ernest Shackleton’s Nimrod Expedition to the South Pole in 1909. That year he also started Kiasmos, together with Janus Rasmussen. Kiasmos is a minimal techno based project. Their self titled debut album was released in 2014, preceded by the Thrown EP.
In April 2010 Ólafur released his second full-length album entitled …And They Have Escaped
The Weight Of Darkness, which was backed up with an extensive tour, including his first trip
His third album, and the first to be released under his new partnership with Universal Music's
Mercury Classics imprint, is titled For Now I Am Winter and planned for international release
in February 2013. Expanding on his previous work the new album features a full orchestra
and – for the first time – introduces vocals to his soundworld. Icelandic singer Arnór Dan is to
be heard on four tracks of the album.
More recently Ólafur has been venturing into the world of films, writing his first Hollywood
film score to Another Happy Day. He also had music in the hit film The Hunger Games
and has been featured several times on popular American television show So You
Think You Can Dance. For 2013 his scores include the music to the new ITV thriller
series Broadchurch, starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman, as well as to the film Gimme
Shelter, directed by Ron Krauss and starring Vanessa Hudgens and Brendan Fraser.
In 2014 Arnalds won the prestigious BAFTA Television Craft Award for his score to the BBC's hit detective series 'Broadchurch'.
(2) Ólafur Arnalds is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer who started as a drummer for a series of metal bands in his native Iceland. His entry into the neo-classical field was somewhat accidental. After German band Heaven Shall Burn heard some solo demo material, they asked him to provide piano-and-string pieces for their 2004 album Antigone. The Erased Tapes label heard the album, was impressed with Arnalds' contributions, and contacted him about recording a full album of material in that vein. The life-cycle concept album Eulogy for Evolution, released in 2007, was the result, with Arnalds – primarily on piano – supported by a string quartet. A trio of EPs followed in 2008 and 2009. In 2010, Arnalds provided the scores for the 13-minute short Blinky TM and the feature-length Órói (Jitters), and he also released …And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness, his second proper album. His score for Sam Levinson's Another Happy Day (2011) greatly increased his profile, as he continued to release works like Stare (2012) – a collaborative EP with Nils Frahm – and For Now I Am Winter (2013). Later that year, Arnaulds' scored the BBC television series Broadchurch, which produced its own soundtrack. A digital download of the composer's score for Ronald Krauss' film Gimme Shelter was released in February of 2014, followed by a physical release in April. ~ Andy Kellman, Rovi