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Arnalds' 'art rock' defies description

Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 1:30 p.m.
 

‘For Now I Am Winter'

Ólafur Arnalds (Mercury Classics)

★★½

Art rock never dies. Anyone who says different should check out this latest release from the Icelandic multi-instrumentalist Ólafur Arnalds. If we lived in an era when we still filed music categorically, I'd have this album over in the far right side of the collection next to all the German, English and French cats who had unpronounceable names and were basically unconstrained by the time, content and sound conventions of pop, rock and soul. I called this art rock, but there really is no genre description that fits this. This guy does a lot of soundtrack work and on this album features the avant-garde composer Nico Muhly. Fellow countryman Arnór Dan lends vocals on some tracks, making this Arnalds' first non-instrumental CD. If you've got a little time to curl up in front of the speakers and just listen, it's not too bad.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or at eslagle@tribweb.com.

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