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A departure from 'the norm', but dissapointing in my eyes
on 4 March 2013
I am a long time fan of the music of Arnalds. He is a genre crossing artist whose work contains compositions of great beauty and interest.
This new album, for the first time in Arnald's work, contains vocals. For me, they do nothing to enhance the music he composes, indeed they serve to do the opposite. The vocals seem slightly monotonous and expressionless compared to his previous, non vocal, work. Listening to previous albums by the same composer, I find myself humming along to strings or to a cello/violin line carrying a beautiful or intoxicatingly repetitive tune. This is desperately missing from 'For now I am Winter'. I find myself listening harder and harder to the music but not getting out of it what I did from 'and they have excaped the weight of darkness, or 'living room songs'. For the first time ever I have wondered whether I should skip a track because it simply is not providing me with what I thought it would. The beauty and evocotive music of earlier albums has gone. There is not a track on this album I could identify as touching/connecting with me in a way that I could other albums and tracks (e.g. Ljosio, Lag fyrir Ommu, Bu ert Solin)
This is not to say the album is not listenable to fans of Olafur Arnalds. It contains all the hallmarks of his work, just without the stand out emotive pieces. The vocal tracks remind me of those you can find on the albums of Craig Armstrong with Richter-esque (Max Richter) interludes in Arnald's unique style.
In summary, the album is still clearly contains all the hallmarks of Olafur Arnald's music compostion but, for me, is missing the emotional connection and heartbreaking beauty of other albums. It won't be joining his other work in my most played albums list.