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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


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.