Ólöf Arnalds Day
Today is the "official" U.S. release day (or at least Amazon's release date) of the Ólöf Arnalds Album Við og Við. I first became aware of Ólöf as a solo artist at the Iceland Airwaves in 2006. I literally walked in off the street knowing nothing at all about her and was, along with about twenty other people, stunned by that glorious voice, wonderful songs, and excellent playing. This is quiet and personal music. When I saw her she had just finished recording and her show was basically this album. This CD was a hit in Iceland, and has done very well in Europe. It has appeared on many "top 100" CD lists, both in 2007 and 2008, even in several countries where it hadn't even been released. Of course, with downloads nowadays the actual disc becomes more of an artifact, but this is a real old-style album, with a proper flow from start to finish. All of the songs are sung in Icelandic, which may put some people off- only for the first listen or two- then the music begins to work its spell.
I purchased my copy in Iceland where it included a very nice booklet (it was in Icelandic, of course) in a slip-case. The U.S. version may not have it, not that it matters much. There are numerous links on the internet to her performing in concert, this disc and the Pascal Pinon EP have supplied most of my music needs since my return from Iceland.