Ólöf Arnalds is an Icelandic singer and multi-instrumentalist. She was classically educated on the violin and viola, and later taught herself to play guitar and charango. Her record label describes her music as “instantly captivating and possessed of a magical, otherworldly quality.”
Ólöf has just released a track ‘Treat Her Kindly’ – taken from her forthcoming album ‘Sudden Elevation’ ( to be released in the UK on 4th February on One Little Indian.) Produced by long-time collaborator, Skúli Sverrisson, ‘Sudden Elevation’ was largely recorded in a late autumn 2011 stint in a seaside cabin in Hvalfjörður (literally ‘Whale-fjord’) in the west of Iceland.
Perhaps because it is the first album that Ólöf has recorded from start to finish, with no protracted breaks, it possesses a stronger narrative thread than its predecessors. “I was always trying to see the record as a conceptual whole, keeping a certain order of songs in mind as we recorded,” explains Ólöf. “I drew different maps of how the record would sound and feel as one complete work, which was something I really felt like doing, given the first opportunity in my life to have a continuous recording process.”
We had an early listen, and here’s what we thought:
The song starts wistfully. A simply strummed acoustic guitar accompanies the faltering voice. A thin layer of extra sound is built up like a pillow made of silk cocoons, and on this cushion Ólöf gently perches her voice. It sits proud like a precious mascot.
Lyrically, it seems that the singer is looking into a mirror and seeking pardon from the reflected image. ‘Treat her kindly’ she implores the face that she sees.
-© Neil_Mach January 2013 –
Ólöf has started a Pledge campaign to help fund touring and other costs, with 15 % of all pledges being donated to Unifem. Click here to support her: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/suddenelevation