Ólafur Arnalds has already became a synonym for lush, melancholy minimalist approach towards modern classical composition during those four years he’s been around. Don’t expect any Arvo Pärt’s experimentalism, Gyorgy Ligeti’s magnificence or Daníel Bjarnason’s maximalist view of a classical music. Arnalds mediates the world of “simple” acoustic music played on classical instruments but composed for broad audience spanning from indie-rockers to techno-lovers. Backing himself with useful electronics and appealing drums just evolves his philosophy of interconnecting these two worlds through sincere simplicity.
His soundtrack to independent film of debuting Sam Levinson, Another Happy Day, first screened at Sundance Film Festival, is another piece to Arnalds’ neo-classical jigsaw. Emotive strings, blue piano, melodramatic mini-climaxes are woven into every minute of this chamber drama. Almost precisely one year after Arnalds put the central motive of Lynn’s Theme online comes another piece. Poland is even more austere, almost shallow. As if that short piano theme you hear in the beginning was looped for entire three minutes and half. But in the entirety of Another Happy Day soundtrack (released on Erased Tapes on February 27th) Poland fulfills the role of “silence before a storm.” It’s silent, but uneasy; it’s almost void, but much more is still to come – and it’s worth to wait for it. Poland, alone, would be quite a grey experience of abstract sadness, but in the context of the album, Arnalds puts a sense into it.