Ólöf Arnalds returns with a brand new album, ‘Palme’ - her fourth – released via One Little Indian on 29th September. It is preceded by a single, ‘Patience’ on 22nd September.
1.Turtledove/ 2.Defining Gender/ 3.Hypnose/ 4.Palme/ 5. Patience/ 6.Half Steady/ 7.Han Grete/ 8.Soft Living
She recently announced UK tour dates for late September & early October:
28-Sep Brighton Komedia Studio Bar TICKET LINK
29-Sep London Oslo TICKET LINK
01-Oct Bristol The Louisiana TICKET LINK
02-Oct Manchester Cornerhouse TICKET LINK
03-Oct Liverpool Leaf TICKET LINK
04-Oct York Fibbers TICKET LINK
05-Oct Glasgow Mono TICKET LINK
‘Palme’ represents Ólöf´s most collaborative effort to date, and also perhaps her most profoundly sensual & affecting. Musically, it offers up an astonishing wellspring of fresh ideas and playful experimentation that move the sound on from the acoustic approach that predominantly defined her first three records, ‘Við og Við’ (2007), ‘Innundir Skinni’ (2009) and ‘Sudden Elevation’ (2013).
On ‘Palme’ Ólöf is sensitively backed by trusted friends and collaborators; Gunnar Örn Tynes (founder of electro-folk collective, múm) and once more by long-term musical foil, Skúli Sverrisson (who has also worked with such luminaries as Laurie Anderson, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Blonde Redhead).
Lead single ‘Patience’, written by Skúli (who also shares writing credits for ‘Palme’ and ‘Soft Living’) boasts an almost Polynesian vocal sway while ‘Defining Gender’s gentle bossa nova and swelling strings conspire to make it so tender it threatens to burst at any moment. Elsewhere subtle electronics guide ‘Hypnose’s gentle propulsion and ‘Half Steady’s strange, robotic cacophony. Some songs, such as ‘Turtledove’, are brand new, while others are old friends - ‘Half Steady’ was written by Ólöf while still in her teens.
Gunnar Örn Tynes significant presence on the record is felt through its programmed electronics and the digital manipulation of some of the instrumental parts - new elements that pushed Ólöf out of her comfort zone; for the first time she was writing, performing and recording simultaneously, musical ideas intuitively pieced together or picked apart as they went along. “Skúli, Gunni and I all contributed from our different experience, aesthetic and skills in a very open, straight forward dialogue” says Ólöf. “What worked best musically always ended up in the songs, the darlings were killed with no regrets!”
In many cases the shape of the songs - even chord structures and melodies - were transformed entirely during the six months of the record’s gestation. “It took a lot of trust to let my collaborators so far into my musical expression and at times I found it a bit frightening”, acknowledges Ólöf. “But now when I listen to the record, I feel that the music is no less on my terms than in my previous work. It feels more like out of nowhere, the record I´ve always dreamed of making has become a reality.”
The constant here, of course, is Ólöf’s effortlessly distinctive vocal. A voice “that can silence a room, such is its sweetness” once opined a bowled over Time Out NY, and here on ‘Palme’ it has never proven so poignant nor powerfully intoxicating.