Olafur Arnalds
For Now I Am Winter


4.0
excellent

Review

by Grayson Hale USER (36 Reviews)
February 27th, 2013 | 29 replies


Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "For Now I Am Winter" is a bold step forward for Ólafur, adding an impressive amount of variety into an otherwise well-established formula.

Over the course of the past 5 years, Ólafur Arnalds has established himself as one of the most promising musicians in the Icelandic music scene. His sorrowful neoclassical pieces evoked the stark minimalism of Sigur Rós, combined with the simple ambience explored by Brian Eno. Through these influences and others, Arnalds was able to create a simple, short-form take on modern classical music that had enough crossover appeal to be enjoyed by fans of post-rock, ambient, and even pop music genres.

For Now I Am Winter is Ólafur Arnald’s latest effort and major label debut. First track “Sudden Throw” gets things underway with a typical Ólafur sound, much like that heard on 2010’s successful ...And They Escaped the Weight of Darkness. However, this doesn’t last long before bouncy violins and a glitchy electronic beat join the fray in “Brim,” a song that sounds very different to anything else previously attempted by the Icelander. The song undergoes multiple mood and atmosphere changes, eventually settling down into the slow and mournful sound we’ve come to know and love from the man. But perhaps the most radical departure comes in the form of vocal embellishments from singer Arnór Dan in the title track. His tender voice is used sparingly, appearing in only four of the album’s twelve tracks, and it certainly isn’t the kind of jarring voice that detracts from the music. Nevertheless, it will certainly be one of the release’s biggest talking points and could be a potential turn-off for some fans.

Other highlights include “Reclaim,” which combines the newfound electronic influences with the addition of vocals, and the gorgeous post-rock inspired build-up in “Only the Winds.” The strongest vocal performance from Dan can be heard in what is perhaps the record’s most surprising song, “Old Skin.” His voice is stronger and more confident here, providing a much-needed lift from the more traditional-sounding mid-section of the album. Electronic instrumentation again comes to the fore and percussive beats provide the backbone for “This Place Was a Shelter,” before being rounded-off by the charming ambience of “Carry Me Anew.”

For Now I Am Winter is a bold step forward for Ólafur, adding an impressive amount of variety into an otherwise well-established formula. The only question will be whether he manages to take this exciting momentum on to much greater heights in future.



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user ratings (107)
Chart.
3.7
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other reviews of this album
Jacob Royal STAFF (3.5)
We too shall rest....


Comments:Add a Comment 
SAPoodle
February 26th 2013


550 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fixed. Thanks a lot man, very much appreciated.

mindleviticus
February 26th 2013


8535 Comments


you beat me to this

great review though

tragic.details
February 26th 2013


627 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, pos'd.

I concur with the Captain; this deserves a feature.

theshelfmaster
February 26th 2013


221 Comments


Shouldn't it be "join"? It's the violins and the beat joining the fray right?



TheNexus100
February 26th 2013


2696 Comments


does this have slow emotional piano melodies 5/5?

zxlkho
February 26th 2013


3482 Comments


This is an incredible album. I think it might be his best overall.

BigTuna
February 26th 2013


5168 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

so where was this released?



UnnamedOcean
February 26th 2013


3982 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Will get this as soon as I can. Excited.

TMobotron
February 26th 2013


7202 Comments


Yeah that actually should be "join".

SpritzSpritz
February 27th 2013


528 Comments


the vocal melody at the end of only the winds is the same as untitled 8 by sigur ros.

TMobotron
February 27th 2013


7202 Comments


It's definitely "join".

You can think of it by asking what join/joins the fray, and the answer is "bouncy violins and a glitchy electronic beat", which as a pronoun would be "they" not "it", which is plural, so the proper verb to apply is "join".

SAPoodle
February 27th 2013


550 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Changed back! Thanks so much guys

HeyListen
February 27th 2013


42 Comments


Nice review, can't wait to hear this

StrangerofSorts
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2013


2843 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oli's gone all Apparat on us. Definitely still elevator music.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2013


10497 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

This definitely has its great moments, but at the same time Arnalds definitely occasionally loses sight of his endgoal. The second half in particular has a few unremarkable tunes that bring the album down for me.

Digging: bansheebeat - Lumine

mindleviticus
February 27th 2013


8535 Comments


Olafur's last album was pretty, but monotonous. This sounds different though

GiaNXGX
February 27th 2013


4867 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

worst album title of 2013 but this guy used to be one of my favorite artists, I'll give it a listen later.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2013


16786 Comments


Don't think that this will top The Weight of Darkness but I'll still give it a shot.

GiaNXGX
February 27th 2013


4867 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Same, that album title is really black metal haha.

TrantaLocked
February 28th 2013


1640 Comments


It seems like "post-rock" is where it is at these days among the hipster community.



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