Really uncool thing to say in the world of experimental music – I love Olafur Arnalds. It’s true though. I do. He’s seen as a bit of a popstar when it comes to modern classical composition. This has a lot to do with the view that a lot of his work is obvious, accessible and pop. It’s not really a view I share if I am honest although I do understand where it comes from. However, if it is true then the only thing I can see him being guilty of is turning more and more people on to the modern classical movement, which is no bad thing.
My first experience of his work was ‘Eulogy for Evolution’ and this record is probably the one that made me stop wanting to be in the band I was in and spend more time writing piano compositions. It’s simplistic in its beauty and totally accessible. I do challenge anyone to listen to it and not be blown away by it. There’s Found Songs to and Living Room songs as well – both wonderful pieces of composition. However, my favourite record is, without doubt, ‘And they have escaped the weight of darkness’. Personal reasons may dictate this choice – kind of me and my wife’s record from the early days of us – but it really is a wonderful piece of music and still soaks me to the bone with joy when I hear it.
So, to be honest, I don’t care if it’s not cool to love Olafur Arnalds and I don’t care if his work is pop music, essentially. What I care about is the emotional response I have when I hear his work and on that front he really is something special.