Ólafur Arnalds’ New Album Captures his Awakening to a Completely New Life
'some kind of peace' LP lands on November 6.
Some kind of peace was born out of the mantra we can’t control anything that happens to us. All we can do is control how we react to what life gives us. The label describes it as a “personal journey told through Arnalds’ introspective music, against the backdrop of a chaotic world.” It features a slew of collaborators, including Bonobo, who have been key to Arnalds’ life during its making. Josin, a German singer-songwriter, also features.
Arnalds wrote the album at his studio at the harbour in downtown Reykjavik, Iceland, which had just been completed before lockdown began. It’s the same studio where he’s written all his music, and he won’t write a song anywhere else. “I can see the mountains through my window,” he says. “I really believe in how the nature of a space enhances creativity and I hold it quite sacred.”
While Arnalds’ previous album, 2018’s re:member, was a technological triumph featuring his patented, self-playing Stratus Pianos, some kind of peace reveals Arnalds’ human side. When writing, he reflected on the music that most inspires him and found that one of the key characteristics is vulnerability. This prompted him to write about his experiences of the past year and the new life changes and perspectives they brought. By the time the pandemic struck, he had already written half the album, and the rest flowed freely.
“This album is almost an awakening for me to a completely new life that I don’t think I would have been ready for otherwise,” Arnalds says. “I’m in a very happy relationship now that I don’t think I would be if I hadn’t had the shock to my system, because I just wouldn’t have been open to it. So this album is very much about love, and not being afraid of it.”
In support of the album, Arnalds has shared “We Contain Multitudes,” a wrought piano composition. He wrote the song at a friend’s cabin in a jungle, late at night, on a tiny electric keyboard.
“At the time I had spent so much time away from what I had considered home, almost setting up a separate life on the other side of the planet,” Arnalds says. “My mind was going through a process of learning to live in two vastly different cultures, of recognising that within one body there are multitudes of different and often contradictory facets of personality.”
The song is a reminder that “our minds are not constants,” he says, and “the self is ever evolving.” Its video, directed by Blair Alexander, is calming and simplistic, showing Arnalds giving a performance of the track at home.
Ahead of today’s announcement, Arnalds teased “We Contain Multitudes” by presenting his fans with the track’s sheet music, giving them license to freely interpret and record their own cover of the new single, posting it to social media using the hashtag #wecontainpianos, all before hearing his own recording.
01. Loom (feat. Bonobo)
02. Woven Song
04. Still / Sound
05. Back To The Sky (feat. JFDR)
07. New Grass
08. The Bottom Line (feat. Josin)
09. We Contain Multitudes