Following two critically acclaimed albums, Iceland’s Ólöf Arnalds releases her new album, Sudden Elevation, today via One Little Indian Records. Comprised of twelve self-penned tracks sung in English, the album finds Ólöf inhabiting a drier, more stripped-back sound than in previous releases, accompanied by acoustic guitar, charango, and subtle but luminous coloring from koto harp, keyboards and electric guitar, all played by Ólöf herself. Sudden Elevation is now available via iTunes and other digital retailers.
To celebrate the release, Ólöf has shared album track “Return Again,” a melancholic tune featuring the singer’s striking and highly poignant vocals floating above beautifully-arranged instrumentation that sets a tone of longing.
Produced by Skúli Sverrisson, Sudden Elevation was largely recorded in a two-week, partially snowed-in autumn 2011 stint in a seaside cabin in Hvalfjörður (literally ‘Whale-fjord’) in the west of Iceland. The album was then overdubbed and mixed both at Ólöf’s house in Reykjavík and at Sigur Rós’s Sundlaugin (Swimming Pool) studio at Álafoss. The record contains cameos from Ólöf’s two sisters: Klara Arnalds duets sunnily on “Bright and Still” and “Numbers and Names,” while Dagný Arnalds essays the devastating piano part in “Return Again.” Producer Skúli Sverrisson plays bass and electric guitar (including a high-pitched octave 12-string Shorty instrument) on several tracks, while Magnús Trygvason Eliassen adds gossamer drum parts to “German Fields” and “A Little Grim.”
Ólöf has performed alongside artists such as Dirty Projectors, Blonde Redhead, John Vanderslice and Björk (sometime collaborator), who once described Ólöf’s uniquely compelling vocal sound as “somewhere between a child and an old woman.” Stay tuned for more on Ólöf, and be sure to grab a copy of Sudden Elevation.