Review Summary: Sadly for Ólafur’s luck, he did not managed to escape the weight of this darkness.
After the major success that was “Eulogy for Evolution“ the young composer Ólafur Arnalds started experimenting much more with electronic elements. Adding electronic touches to classical music is not a bad idea, however; the electronic characteristics must never overtake or lower the quality of its counterpart, that is the main problem that showcases Variations of Static; the best moments in wish Ólafur Arnalds seducing minimalism works so damn well are shadowed by uninspired sub-par pulses. Variations of Static is barely saved by the song “Haust” maybe because it works mostly under his standard formula, or it is just more tolerable & enjoyable in comparison with the rest. Nevermind, this doesn’t makes Variations of Static an enjoyable album either; the inclusion of annoying sound samples in both “Við vorum smá…” and “Himininn er að hrynja, en stjörnurnar fara þér vel” ultimately nail the coffin, closing the door between awkwardness and complete anointment, er’ would make Giant Squid’s “Eating Machine” proud . This EP is a failed attempt at blending electronics and classical music, not only it loses all the splendor captured on “Eulogy for Evolution”, letting it go, it is never revisited on his following releases.
Variations of Static also seems like a collection of bad Nils Frahm outakes, playing uninspired & boring pieces for the most part instead of a subtle, emotional and beautiful suite. With a very low number of notable moments, this record in a way or another could have been easily improved; sadly it is not. One thing is for sure though, Ólafur Arnalds explored something that not so many composers did at the time and I completely respect that; thanks to this failed attempt a spark of fire started growing, reaching its incredible completion on the masterpiece “...And They Have Escaped The Weight Of Darkness”. Sadly for Ólafur’s luck; he did not managed to escape the weight of this darkness.