A neatly balanced set from the Icelandic composer...
'Late Night Tales: Ólafur Arnalds'

One of the great delights of the ‘Late Night Tales’ concept is the complete freedom awarded to its compilers. Having viewed it initially as a glorified mixtape, Icelandic modern classical luminary Ólafur Arnalds found himself agonising over the details for months. The result justifies the time, pulling in several exclusive pieces of his own, both solo and as half of Kiasmos, alongside truly beautiful tracks by Julianna Barwick and Hjaltalín.

The gradual transition through the nocturnal landscape is arguably one of the finest in this series, Arnalds treating the tracks as instruments in need of delicate arrangement. A demure cover of ‘Say My Name’ in cahoots with Arnór Dan, one of Arnalds’ countrymen from the band Agent Fresco, is a risky but remarkably successful move, recast in hushed, aching tones. The whole set is neatly balanced and a joyous listen.

8/10

Words: Gareth James

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