BAFTA-winning Icelandic composer, musician and producer Ólafur Arnalds’ new studio album re:memberis out worldwide via Mercury KX on August 24. He is premiering the album’s new single and video “unfold” with DIY featuring the British singer, songwriter and producer SOHN. Watch HERE.
In anticipation of the forthcoming record, Arnalds is currently embarking on a worldwide 40-city tour which began at his sold out show at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The U.S. leg kicks off on June 21 in San Francisco with a sold-out show at Regency Ballroom.
The highly anticipated LP features the groundbreaking new software Stratus, which transforms the piano into an almost entirely new instrument. The Stratus Pianos are two self-playing, semi-generative player pianos which are triggered by a central piano played by Arnalds; these new instruments and custom built software are the centerpiece of re:member. Created over a two year period by composer and audio developer Halldór Eldjárn, the algorithms generated by Stratus were used to create the LP artwork. Arnalds describes the player pianos in a two-part video; watch part 1 and part 2.
NPR Music’s All Songs Considered premiered the album’s title track, describing how Stratus “takes his performance on one piano and, in real-time, creates a performance on two other pianos, which he then reacts to. It leads him down musical paths he likely would never have explored.” Listen HERE.
On the LP, Arnalds uses these methods to reinvigorate the compositional process. He explains, “This is my breaking-out-of-a-shell album. It’s me taking the raw influences that I have from all these different musical genres and not filtering them. It explores the creative process and how one can manipulate that to get out of the circle of expectations and habit.”
The new music on re:member uses not only Stratus pianos but also includes a string quartet, synthesizers, electronics, live drums and a string orchestra recorded at London’s Air Studios. With his friend Halldór Eldjárn, Arnalds set about developing the Stratus system: software that sends instructions to two pianos “and the two become one and play together.” Arnalds sets the values that the software feeds to the pianos – the rhythm, the tempo – and those are triggered by chords or notes he plays. What happened when Arnalds started making music using Stratus was a little unexpected and quickly becoming the focal point of his new compositions.
Ólafur Arnalds , re:member Track Listing
2. unfold (ft. SOHN)
6. they sink
11. ekki hugsa
ÓLAFUR ARNALDS NORTH AMERICAN DATES LIVE
June 21—San Francisco, CA— Regency Ballroom*
June 22 — Los Angeles, CA —The Cathedral Sanctuary*
June 23—Chicago, IL —Thalia Hall*
June 24— Toronto, ON —Luminato Festival*
June 28—Quebec City, QC —Palias Montcalm
June 29—Montreal, QC—Jazz Festival*
June 30—New York, NY—Le Poisson Rouge*
July 1—Brooklyn, NY— Murmrr Theater
* SOLD OUT