Olafur Arnalds

Watch: Ólafur Arnalds “saman” Video

Jul 09, 2018

Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds released the third single "saman" from his forthcoming album re:member, due on August 24th on Mercury KX. The video simply shows Ólafur playing the straightforwardly emotive piece, but he has incorporated innovative software on the new album. The press release explains:

The highly anticipated LP features Arnalds working with the groundbreaking new software Stratus, which transforms the piano into an almost entirely new instrument. The Stratus Pianos are two self-playing, semi-generative player pianos which are triggered by a central piano played by Arnalds; these new instruments and custom built software are the centerpiece of re:member. Created over a two-year period by composer and audio developer Halldór Eldjárn, the algorithms generated by Stratus were used to create the LP artwork. Arnalds describes the player pianos in a two-part video.

On the LP, Arnalds uses these methods to reinvigorate the compositional process. He explains, “This is my breaking-out-of-a-shell album. It’s me taking the raw influences that I have from all these different musical genres and not filtering them. It explores the creative process and how one can manipulate that to get out of the circle of expectations and habit.”

The new music on re:member uses not only Stratus pianos but also includes a string quartet,  synthesizers, electronics, live drums and a string orchestra recorded at London’s Air Studios. With his friend Halldór Eldjárn, Arnalds set about developing the Stratus system: software that sends instructions to two pianos “and the two become one and play together.” Arnalds sets the values that the software feeds to the pianos – the rhythm, the tempo – and those are triggered by chords or notes he plays. What happened when Arnalds started making music using Stratus was a little unexpected and quickly became the focal point of his new compositions.


Nov 14
Lincoln Theatre
Washington DC
Nov 15
Union Theatre
Philadelphia, PA
Nov 17
Town Hall
New York, NY
Nov 18
Berklee Performance Center
Boston, MA
Jan 26
Moore Theater
Seattle, WA
Jan 28
Commodore Ballroom
Vancouver, BC
Jan 29
Revolution Hall
Portland, OR
Jan 31
Warfield Theatre
San Francisco, CA
Feb 1
Orpheum Theatre
Los Angeles, CA
Feb 2
Observatory North Park
San Diego, CA
Feb 4
Boulder Theater
Boulder, CO
Feb 7
Thalia Hall
Chicago, IL
Feb 8
Roy Thomson Hall
Toronto, ON