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For Now I Am Winter

4.8 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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For Now I Am Winter
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Audio CD, April 2, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

The major label debut of Icelandic composer Olafur Arnaldss features 12 original breathtaking surreal tracks.

On this album, composer Nico Muhly provided orchestral arrangements, and for the first time Arnalds introduces vocals to his soundworld. Icelandic singer Arnor Dan can be heard on four tracks.

Fresh off lauded performances at Iceland Airwaves, including an intimate KEXP live broadcast performance, Arnalds continues to steadily build a reputation as one of the worlds most bright and able young composers. On his past outings and last studio album ...And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness, the basis was almost always piano and strings with electronic embellishments. Now the dynamic has shifted, with Arnalds thinking in terms decidedly more poppy than before. I think its by far the best thing Ive done. Im really happy that I made this decision to try something different.

The concept of evolution and seasonal change is one which has been ever-present in his music. Here it continues both musically and conceptually - a personal evolution as a composer and, for the first time, as a songwriter.

Purveying a neo-classical style with an array of influences which range from electronica to minimalism, Arnalds is an artist who draws from a variety of sources whilst maintaining his own unique sound. Since the release of his 2007 debut, Eulogy for Evolution, the26-year-old, has put his name to a variety of projects. Since 2009 he has scored films and TV shows including Another Happy Day, ITVs upcoming drama Broadchurch and the Vanessa Hudgens-starring feature film Gimme Shelter, as well as having tracks featured on the soundtracks to Hollywood hits The Hunger Games and Looper. Hes also released two EPs each composed in a week; Found Songs in 2009 and Living Room Songs in 2011.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Sudden Throw
  2. Brim
  3. For Now I Am Winter
  4. A Stutter
  5. Words of Amber
  6. Reclaim
  7. Hands, be Still
  8. Only The Winds
  9. Old Skin
  10. We (Too) Shall Rest
  11. This Place Was A Shelter
  12. Carry Me Anew


Product Details

  • Performer: Arnor Dan, Nico Muhly
  • Conductor: n/a
  • Composer: Olafur Arnalds
  • Audio CD (April 2, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Mercury Classics
  • ASIN: B00B5DWI2O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,986 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Ólafur Arnalds Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: MP3 Music
For those who have been following the recordings and performances of Icelandic composer and artist Ólafur Arnalds ths new recording will bring some surprises. Though only 26 years old Ólafur Arnalds is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer who started as a drummer for a series of metal bands in his native Iceland. His entry into the neo-classical field was somewhat accidental. Now in this new set of works he is joined by the talents of classically oriented composer Nico Muhly and vocalist Arnór Dan Arnarson and the result is an orchestration of Arnalds `music that is mind expanding and very atmospheric and moody.

Critic Matt Cibula has phrased it best and it is only fitting to quote him here: `First, become afflicted. Unclench your well-lined fists, open the door in the brick wall that surrounds your heart. Let the sadness of modern life wash over you like a waterfall, like a cold shower, like a breakup, a breakdown, a breakthrough. It takes a lot of control to keep it together in these times, and a lot of self-discipline to keep that control together. Just let it go; not all the way, because that way madness lies; just for a few minutes. Secondly, put on your best walking boots and go outside. The air is still a little chilly up here, especially in the mornings, although it's probably better wherever you are, but it's full of spring, of renewal, even hope: Easter, Passover, Spring Break, Opening Day. Let the sun hit you in the eyes so you have to squint; let the soft rain moisten your hair; see the rabbits and the sanitation workers do their early-morning jobs. Shops are opening, school buses are warming up, but the machine is not fully operational yet. Thirdly, allow yourself to truly feel this record.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
THE AMAZON TRACK-LISTING IS INCORRECT (but it works in our favor).
The cd contains 14 tracks, not 12. The 13 and 14 tracks are remixes of For Now I Am Winter by Nilsfrahm and Kiasomos. This is part of the US only release.

Olafur is an amazing artist. For me, this is his best overall album yet. Sometimes on previous CDs the violin in the background could get irritating on the ears after a while; it came off as rough and over-powering. 'For Now I Am Winter' sounds smoother. His sound has developed and this album represents a bigger departure from his old music. I could see long time fans adoring this while attracting new fans. I would highly recommend this album to other people.
The vocals were an excellent new addition to the songs. In most music today, the vocals are the main focus of the song with a heavy bass backing it up. That is not the case here; the vocals are another instrument. The songs seem to be more complex than his previous music. It's really subtle and how different sounds flow in to each other is amazingly done. The whole album is a work of art. The songs flow smoothly from one track to the next. There is no long annoying gap in between tracks, which really works for this album. It is the perfect CD to play without constantly skipping or repeating song to set a certain tone. I could easily sit and listen to this album in one sitting, or I could use it as background music while studying. It is a very versatile album. 'For Now I Am Winter' has a long musical shelf-life. It won't be easily dated or restricted to a certain group of listeners. I can see people buying this album 20 years from now.

The only con for this album is the packaging.
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This was my first experience with Arnalds' music, but it will not be my last. The sound is mesmerizing, with haunting vocals that rise up our of the instrumental music. Sometimes I play the CD and give it my full attention, which is rewarding, and at other times I play it as atmospheric background while reading something serious. While I bought the CD in the midst of a very dark and cold winter, it still sounds good in the spring.
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Make no mistake, this is a wonderfully composed album. I do love it.
HOWEVER, my gripe is with the sampling of the tracks. I prefer instrumental music, sans lyrics. Listening to the sample tracks available before I purchased, I THOUGHT that was what I was buying. In fact, quite a few tracks have lyrics which I could have done without.
This is a personal preference, so you may have no problem with this.
The Lyrics are not bad, I just wish the sample tracks actually represented what you are buying.
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After being introduced to Arnor Dan's voice through the Zankyou no Terror OST by Yoko Kanno, I just had to buy more of his work because it just wasn't enough. This album is a collaborative piece by Olafur Arnalds and Arnor Dan and it sounds so gorgeous.

Personally, I've always wanted to explore more Icelandic music because I've been a longtime fan of Bjork since I was young.

This album does not disappoint and I love listening to it on sunny fall days when I'm driving. It makes the world seem quiet and peaceful. ^^
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Format: Audio CD
If you ever want an album to transport you to another state of mind, For Now I Am Winter can definitely work. Ólafur Arnalds music is mostly fixated on tonality - beautiful sounds that meld and mold and create an utterly entrancing soundscape. But don't be fooled by the general downbeat quality of most of the songs - this album works on so many levels and is ultimately extraordinarily rewarding.

With a slower, almost melancholy opening in "Sudden Throw", I found myself in the more upbeat but still distinctly minor key of "Brim", a song that meshes classical-sounding strings and piano with an electronic beat and distinctly not-classical rhythm. This essentially defines the album - a wonderful combination of very warm, familiar sounds layered on top of newer styles that offer structure, rhythm and an ethereal quality, often utilizing electronic techniques. But at its core, this could easily be viewed as a modern classical composition.

Curiously, it's the middle of the album that shines the brightest. Unlike many albums which pack their openings with the singles and more upbeat songs, For Now I Am Winter feels like it has a bigger story it's telling, and part of that story involves an absolutely riveting middle act. After the very quiet, almost calming "Words of Amber", "Reclaim" strikes wonderfully - a memorable, almost-catchy song full of sound and life. From there, "Hands Be Still" serves as a transition piece into the very atmospheric, soundtrack-like "Only the Winds" (it should be noted that Arnalds soundtrack to the TV series Broadchurch is also extremely successful), which itself leads into the showstopping, absolutely addictive and beautiful "Old Skin".
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