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Living Room Songs EP

4.8 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Product details

  • Audio CD (5 Dec. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: EP
  • Label: Erased Tapes
  • ASIN: B0064IOZY4
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  DVD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,180 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

Product Description

Following in the spirit of Ólafur Arnalds critically acclaimed Found Songs (2009) where he wrote, recorded and released a free song every day for a week - now comes Living Room Songs. This time Ólafur takes the idea further and invites the audience into the comfort of his living room, where the songs were recorded live and the whole process filmed. The songs were instantly released in form of a free mp3 download and video stream- straight from Ólafur's Reykjavik apartment. In his own words: One night I was just playing my piano here in this apartment and I was writing a new song and I didn't have my phone on me which I usually use to record ideas. So I actually took out my MacBook and I didn't want to open like a proper recording program, so I just opened Photo Booth and recorded a video of myself playing the song so that I would remember the song. And I really liked the atmosphere of that video and that's when I thought I should do a series of songs in my living room... Ólafur Arnalds

BBC Review

In 2009, Icelandic multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Ólafur Arnalds released Found Songs, a collection formed by the writing and recording of one song per day for a week. The songs were released digitally, for free, ahead of compilation on the album proper. Two years’ later, Living Room Songs repeats this creative process: each of these seven pieces was available for free from his website, where videos of their recording can still be viewed. As the title conveys, these tracks were performed and recorded in the living room of his Reykjavik apartment.

As befits material captured in close quarters, the atmosphere of Living Room songs is suitably intimate and warmly affecting – strings slow-dance around the central piano motifs of Near Light, the sole offering here that adds glitches of electronica to proceedings; the elegiac Ágúst sighs its magnificence like the greatest closing credits arrangement to have never accompanied the post-climax comedown of a tear-spilling cinema hit. As the record progresses, the pieces become fuller. Lag fyrir Ömmu turns from a solo Arnalds affair – just him, hunched at the piano, lost in the moment – into something texturally triumphant as cellos and an armada of violins come into play. The video gently pans right from the pianist to reveal the presence of the assembled horde, as if it’s no big deal whatsoever to have half an orchestra over for tea and biscuits.

Those familiar with Arnalds’ previous work – his second LP proper of 2010, …and They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness, was a real calling card moment for the man, a collection which raised him to a position amongst today’s premier contemporary neo-classical composers/soundtrackers (see also: Max Richter, Yann Tiersen, Nils Frahm) – will come to Living Room Songs with an idea of what to expect. And it certainly meets every expectation, albeit without stretching far beyond anticipated designs. Given the speed of this set’s genesis, though, a relative lack of adventurousness compared to its maker’s grander statements can be overlooked in favour of its simple beauty. Even at his most reserved, Arnalds is an artist who can exert immense power with the lightest of touches.

--Mike Diver

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By The Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Jan. 2012
Format: Audio CD
Olafur Arnalds is an Icelandic composer/instrumentalist. His new album
'Living Room Songs' is an intimate affair befitting the context in which
he recorded these seven compositions. It is indeed a home made affair.
Mr Arnald's muse bears close kinship with that of Goldmund (aka Keith
Kennif), in particular his haunting 2008 album 'The Malady Of Elegance'.

Mr Arnald is clearly a gentle soul whose compositions, though beguilingly
simple, are full of restrained beauty and pathos. The piano sits at the
heart of the majority of the pieces in the set but his touching, almost
folksy, melodies are embroidered with warm string embellishments and the
addition, on one track, 'Near Light', of a subtle electronic rhythmic pattern.

Like the words of a carol from the season just passed "All Is Calm, All Is
Bright", this lovely music belongs to the long shadows of a summer evening
or a rolling snow-covered landscape at first light. Occasional incidental
sounds, like that of a creaking chair on 'Tomorrow's Song', are left in place,
which contributes an ineffable human presence to the piece's elusive magic.
Elsewhere, opening track 'Fyrsta' weaves a melancholic threnody from the
softly ambling piano osinato and luminous strings; the Janacek-like theme
of 'Agust' would not have sounded out of place had it been a part of his
delightful 1900-1912 thirteen-piece cycle for piano 'On An Overgrown Path'
and at just over two minutes long the final track 'This Place Is A Shelter'
generates a palpable sense of calm and tranquility. A tiny song for the moon.

A little serenity is good for the spirit. Mr Arnalds' heart is clearly in the right place.

Highly Recommended.
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Bought this on a whim as I was off on holidays and wanted something new for the plane. Appeared as a recommendation for some other purchases and wow. It's quite a short album but the tracks are all beautiful, simple compositions, with little more than a piano and some strings. There's some extra layers added in some tracks either with simple background noises or synths (as in the 2nd track). Reminiscent in style to some of Ludovico Einaudis work, I can't recommend this highly enough.
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Perfect music to gaze out of the window, stare into the clouds and just sort of cruise along. Some standouts to me are Fyrsta and Near light. Even the kids take a breather in the car when these come on.

Thin Cocteau Twins Victorialand without the singing or Diamond mine by King Creosote and Jon Hopkins or a similar vibe.

The vinyl 10" is a piece of art in its self. Lots of drawings, cards and pictures included. Very nice indeed.

I also have Found songs which is almost as good, but not quite there.
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A fantastic CD that was bought as a present for a family member who needed to chill a little! There is not one track on this album that disappoints, yes its only half hour but there is so much in it! It's like a fine whiskey thats been aged to perfection with so many mellow undertones and delicacate flavours who needs a pint of it when a dram will do!
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The music on this short CD will appeal to those who like Arvo Part's "Alina" or the Hilliard Ensemble. It's gentle, slow piano and strings music, undemanding and soothing. I bought it for my wife who loves this sort of music and it's getting played regularly. It's not for those, like me, who want to be challenged by music but of its kind it's excellent.
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I've been watching bits of footage of this guy for a while and thought I'd try an album. This was the right one to start with. Not much over 30 minutes, but stands up to leaving on repeat three or four times! Just gentle piano and strings parts with a few electronic fairy dust moments. Great if you want life to move a little slower.
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In my youth there were several albums that were notorious for being short even in the inherently short format of vinyl - Robert Palmer's "Sneakin Sally" and EC's "My Aim Is True" come to mind - and although I haven't timed this album I think it comes in (like those albums) at around 30 minutes of music. The reason for bringing this up is that these are seven perfectly executed pieces for piano and strings (with the occasional drum beat but no vocals) that last between 3 and 4 minutes each - no filler, no extended tracks, no alternative versions and no excuses for producing something this concise and relevant. It would have been very easy to make each track 5 minutes long and the album more normal in length but in my opinion this focus is to be applauded and the album benefits from it.
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By J. Burdge on 23 Mar. 2013
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There is nothing sophisticated about this recording perhaps that is why I like it.
Olafur's music is simple, haunting and beautiful.
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