Icelanders make up one of the most musical nations on earth with one of the highest rates of ensembles per capita in the world. How do the beautiful yet harsh Icelandic conditions affect their music-making? In Island Songs, the innovative and brilliant composer Ólafur Arnalds (BAFTA Award winner for Broadchurch) explores the vibrant artistic life of his fellow countrymen and women in a fascinating, real-time, audio portrait of his home country of Iceland.
Over the course of seven weeks in the summer of 2016, Arnalds traveled to seven very different locations in Iceland – one per week – to record a series of new compositions. In each location Arnalds collaborated with artists local to the town to create and perform a new song. Each artist has their own unique story to tell and individual way of contributing to the project. They come from various musical backgrounds in their hometowns, ranging from a vocalist from a world famous rock band to a church organist in a village of 100 inhabitants, making this a diverse project.
Arnalds has become celebrated for his spare and haunting musical style, which evocatively mixes elements of ambient, classical and electronic sounds. Island Songs has its roots in the enormous success of his two previous improvised projects, Found Songs (2009) and Living Room Music (2011). This LP release from Mercury Classics brings all the audio components of Island Songs (which was also filmed by director Baldvin Z for an accompanying movie) together in one compelling package.