Ólafur Arnalds, '...And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness' (Erased Tapes)

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...And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness
Critical Mass
Label: Erased Tapes

by Christopher R. Weingarten

This 23-year-old composer paints a unique fog of fragile melancholy using the tiniest of brushes -- weightless drones, pianos pressed with a feathery touch, bows barely scraping strings, and electronic bliplets that sound like submarines cooing in the murky distance. His second full-length has an impossibly gentle feel that makes fellow Icelandic drift merchants like Sigur Rós and Jóhann Jóhannsson sound downright leaden. Arnalds' game is more ambience than transcendence -- so the four very brief detours into Explosions in the Sky–style post-rock seem all the more cinematic.

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