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Olafur Arnalds, & They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness
Erased Tapes Records, June 8, 2010

01/13/11
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



“Chamber pop” has been hijacked for use as a catch-all phrase for anything that’s classical-sounding, for example this stuff, which centers mainly on the depressing rainy day piano of this Icelandic 20something, who’s actually been able to attract a following big enough to command some performances (he’s at Suffolk University’s Modern Theatere in Boston on Jan. 24).  Decorum and Pitchfork dictate we appear appropriately “interested” in this hipster exercise, rote as it can be at times, in soundtracking; that’s what it is, really, not “chamber pop,” but enough semantics.  Wipe away the attempts at legitimizing these passages and movements as something Spin should really be covering and you have a moving set of neo-classical, headed up by “Pu Ert Solin,” which stretches its wandering four-note syncopation over its scale in fascinating fashion. Gloom and doom abounds, though not at all to the level of Rachmaninoff —for me it evoked visions of Scarlett Johansson or whatever gorgeous actress in a pea-coat, walking by snowbanks and weeping over a dead boyfriend, once in a while realizing that she’s still a babe, as the sun peeks through the dead, dead branches and audience member thoughts turn to popcorn.  B-  — Eric W. Saeger






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