Review of re:member album by Olafur Arnalds on Mercury KX

Review of re:member album by Olafur Arnalds on Mercury KX

This is Olafur’s fourth solo release and its a stunning album, it has a captivating and absorbing sound. It’s very atmospheric and one of those that the more you listen, the more you hear.

There are excellent arrangements from simple to more layered and complex that create beautiful songs that are engrossing and absorbing. It has superb use of dynamics – a contrast between melancholy and optimism; the building and release of tension – and often very subtle background sounds that add an excellent element. What’s really interesting is that the album was recorded using Stratus software, essentially this controls two self-playing algorithm controlled pianos linked to Olafur’s playing.

re:member
Piano lead to open, slowly emerging strings build its reflective qualities. Nice change of feel with a riff, background sound and percussion, drumming gives a more defined momentum and there’s a nice build of tension to a final release.

unfold
An urgency from the opening violins contrasts with a kind of splashy watery background and slow bass strings, there’s subtle movement and superb dynamics. Vocals add a great element.

saman
A piano solo piece, it has reflective qualities and a warm, aged sound like an old memory.

brot
Atmospheric opening from layered strings, it has a kind of pulsing feel that contrasts against the ambience.

inconsist
Another slow atmospheric opening, excellent dynamics. The percussive rhythm has a kind of dubstep feel, adding a brilliant contrast and giving momentum. I love the way the arrangement weaves around the rhythm to a final release.

they sink
Harp type of sound to open with great use of delay, bass strings compliment really well. A superbly atmospheric song.

ypsilon
Evolving atmospheric opening from pad type of sound, the piano adds a tension. Syncopated riff and subtle percussive sounds adds a great element. Nice change in feel to an edgy type of sound with a release to the ambience to end.

partial
String opening builds tension from subtle movement and layering, delayed saturated riff adds excellent tension accompanied by evolving strings to a final release.

momentary
Electric piano to open, a subtle background sound adds a kind of vinyl / analogue tape / saturation feel.

undir
Atmospheric strings to open, emerging percussive rhythm adds a great contrast. The arrangement is superb, a kind of delayed harp type of sound and strings and a background rain sound, a great flow to the song and excellent use of dynamics.

ekki hugsa
Uptempo piano to open, strings almost have a dual purpose adding a percussive, rhythmic effect. A great contrast between the uptempo and ambient parts, the song slowly builds tension to a release.

nyepi
A beautiful song based around piano with harp and strings, it’s a captivating sound.

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