ÓLAFUR ARNALDS: Dyad 1909 (Erased Tapes)


Posted on Jan 8th 2010 12:57 am

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Ólafur Arnalds: Dyad 1909

Dyad 1909
Erased Tapes 2009
07 Tracks. 24mins33secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP Amazon US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

Only a few months after Erased Tapes released Peter Broderick’s score for Adrienne Hart’s contemporary dance production Falling From Trees, it is the turn of Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds to present the work British choreographer Wayne McGregor commissioned for his piece Dyad 1909, which his company, Random Dance, premiered at Sadler’s Wells in London last October as part of In The Spirit Of Diaghilev, a series of performances dedicated to the creator of the famous Ballets Russes, which were set up a hundred years ago. McGergor’s Dyad 1909 is inspired by the great technological development between two expeditions to reach the South Pole, one, in 1909, on foot, and another, twenty years later, the year the Ballets Russes were dissolved, by plane.

Following Arnalds’ Found Songs, for which he composed and recorded one track a day for a whole week and made them available to download on the web via Twitter, Dyad 1909 features five entirely new pieces and two new versions of compositions previously heard on Variations Of Static (Lokaðu Augunum and Við Vorum Smá…). Arnalds is once again in charge of piano and electronics, and is accompanied by a string quartet. Spacious, melancholic and infinitely delicate, the music reflects Arnalds usual realm, but, even more so that was the case on Variations Of Static, the compositions are marbled with fragments of electronic textures. Electronic voices can be heard on Lokaðu Augunum and Við Vorum Smá…, while Brotsjór and Til Enda are ridden with heavy electronic discharges reminiscent of Mark Bell’s treatment on Björk’s Jóga. The contrast between the heavy electronic textures and the lighter organic essence of the string and piano works is, perhaps, an illustration of the resolutely modern approach adopted by Diaghilev in his day.

Arnalds retires to the more subtle and purely acoustic side of his work on 3326, a particularly inspiring moment led first by a solitary violin as it draws the most exquisite motifs, then later as two violins and the viola enter into a wonderful evocative and rich conversation, progressively circling around each other and gaining momentum. The opening and closing pieces are, in comparison, particularly atmospheric. A persistent cold wind blows over Frá Upphafi and …Og Lengra, and ice can occasionally be heard cracking under pressure. While the former is devoid of music, piano and strings create for a moment a warm blanket against the chilling gusts of the latter, drawing this short collection to a close.

Like with Peter Broderick’s Music For Falling From Trees, Dyad 1909 perhaps lacks the visual dimension it is meant to be associated with, yet, as a recorded piece, it works admirably, defined by its own universe, where modern technology and tradition are joined into an extremely coherent work.


Ólafur Arnalds (MySpace) | Erased Tapes | Random Dance
Amazon UK: CD | LP Amazon US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

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One Response to “ÓLAFUR ARNALDS: Dyad 1909 (Erased Tapes)”

  1. […] the audience tends to reject it (Grazian, 2010, p.99). [1] Twitter. [2] Erased Tapes Website. [3] (January, 8th, 2010). Ólafur Arnalds: Dyad 1909 (Erased Tapes). The milk factory [4] Hall, Josh, (March, 5th, 2012). Introducing Kiasmos. The line best fit [5] Flickr. [6] […]