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Baker's Dozen

Found Songs: Ólafur Arnalds' Favourite Albums
Wyndham Wallace , March 11th, 2013 12:56

The Icelandic neo-classical composer and producer takes a break from producing his cinematic soundscapes to pick out his 13 favourite records, ahead of his set at the Barbican tonight

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Max Richter - Waltz With Bashir OST

We’ve never actually met, but we’re often compared. I’m flattered, but I also get a little bit annoyed in the long term by all the comparisons. You strive to do something original and always get compared to something else. But it’s better than getting compared to Björk or Sigur Ros, which is so far from accurate, but seems to be what most people jump directly to ‘cos I’m Icelandic. Max is probably the person who’s doing the most similar stuff to what I am, although it does have a very significant difference. All the others on Erased Tapes, we all have our own corners that we’re in, and I think me and Max, we’re a little bit in the same corner. This soundtrack is just a wonderful job, and it’s such a perfect choice for this list because it also includes songs from his records – some of the best songs from his records – mixed with new stuff that he wrote for the film, which is some of his best stuff as well. He uses very distinct harmony in his compositions, which is very hard to put into words. All of his stuff has that in common, that type of harmony that he uses, and I just really love it. And it’s also something that I’ve been trying to do, so perhaps that’s why people compare us. Of course, that film was also very powerful, and the score was just perfect with the film. It’s just great. And it’s something that I go to for inspiration. I listen to the soundtrack if I feel unmusical. He’s very underground, isn’t he? He’s never gone very far above the surface, until now: he just did this Vivaldi Recomposed record which has done really well. He recomposed The Four Seasons by Vivaldi. It’s a Deutsche Grammophon project, the same label as I’m with at Universal. They commissioned him to do this.

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Mar 11, 2013 1:18pm

Love this feature. This might not be the place for it but I would really love to see an Autechre’s Baker’s Dozen. We’ll see!

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The Whip Hand
Mar 11, 2013 4:25pm

I made it to Justin Beiber and almost clicked away... Then I got to the vile Death Cab (apologies to Viv Stanshall RIP), commented, and fled in fucking horror. Worst Baker's Dozen ever this side of Butch Vig.

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Mar 11, 2013 10:50pm

In reply to The Whip Hand:

You stopped at Death Cab? What if his remaining choices were the greatest albums ever made (per your opinion)?

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Mar 11, 2013 10:55pm

My question is, what does neo-classical mean? I'm sure, Mr. Wallace, that you did not create this term - seems an odd genre, if we can even call it that.

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John Doran
Mar 12, 2013 12:01am

In reply to Apop:

Shame you didn't bother Googling the term Neoclassical music before posting your comment really.

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Mar 12, 2013 3:14am

In reply to John Doran:

John, I know 'neoclassical' very-- if not extremely-- well. Some of it is great; lots isn't; lukewarm Satie via Part that usually doesn't even know Mompou. I don't "buy" the "pop moment" b.s. for a minute (re: Bieber) and have always found eveyrthing about Death Cab loathsome... In a world of infinite choices, that's enough for me dismiss Olafur outright...

Though I'd love it if you could nail down Bill Wells for one of these, or either of the Stars of the Lid dudes. Brian McBride of SOTL is co-leader of the new album by the extremely Dennis Wilson-damaged Los Angeles band Bell Gardens... I think ya'll would likely enjoy it (it certainly has more to offer on all levels than the new MbB social contract album).


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Mar 12, 2013 3:57am

A boring selection by a bland musician. Olafur's music is perhaps best defined as 'pop' classical, in the same bracket as things like Il Divo and Andrea Bocelli.

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Mar 12, 2013 4:54pm

In reply to John Doran:

I did research it, my man, indeed i did.

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Mar 12, 2013 8:33pm

In reply to Enkeling:

You really can't have seen this feature much if you think Autechre might not be suitable for it!!!

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Mar 13, 2013 3:36am

So cool he has Mew on there the best album of 2011. Saved the list

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Mar 13, 2013 11:26pm

I enjoyed the fact that this list stumbled in and out of "bad taste". Some interesting choices.
It's more annoying when someone presents a list that looks like "Rolling Stone's 13 Greatest Records Ever Made" and consists entirely of stuff you sold back to the shop when you were 17.

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Mar 14, 2013 3:36am

can this douche be more dull? i'm running out of albums?!

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