Olof Arnalds – Innudir Skinni

January 01, 1970



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opening moments of Innudir Skinni,
Icelandic singer Olof Arnalds’ second U.S. release of 2010, whisper like
distant echoes from a long-lost Europe: delicate, a cappella warblings in a
language known to few. But this nine-song set drifts toward the Anglophone
mainstream, with three tunes in English and several duets (including one with Iceland’s
top musical export).


of the album is similar to the Mum member’s Vid
Og Vid
, made in 2007 but not available Stateside till this year. While
plucking plangent motifs on guitar or the ukelele-like charango, Arnalds trills
folk-like melodies of commanding purity. Singing “Jonathan” in English,
Arnalds sounds as if she belongs on a collection of traditional Irish ballads.
But this isn’t some volcano-field recording. Reverb boosts the
“la-la-las” of “Svif Birki,” and other instruments and
voices sometimes gently intrude. Or not so gently-Bjork adds guttural
counterpoint to “Surrender,” rendering it the album’s most
experimental track while spotlighting the ethereality that characterizes the
entire project.


DOWNLOAD: “Jonathan,”
“Surrender” MARK JENKINS


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