Tears in the Barbican… Ólafur Arnalds

Surprisingly not from me… I’m a big weeper. I cried so manically and frantically when Max in Hollyoaks died, my mum thought I ‘d been stabbed. These tears were actually falling down the cute face of Ólafur Arnalds at his extraordinary concert; he was completely overwhelmed by the sight of the packed Barbican. How refreshing is that? A star being so humble they shed tears on seeing the size of the crowd… quite unlike toddler Bieber who strolls on stage hours late.

I was first introduced to Ólafur Arnalds last year, at the Erased Tapes 5th Anniversary, which was phenomenal. I’ve never heard such a fusion of electronic, classical and pop sounds. The blending of these different genres hits you like a fruit smoothie at a festival; you feel nourished, and quite unlike the person you were before.

Addict that I am, I was back for more… Ólafur asked the audience to make a sound, which was disappointingly out of tune.  He then fiddles with it on his synthesiser – someone goes out with a musician – and creates something gob-smacking. There’s nothing cleverer than taking the audience on your ego trip with you; we want more than a postcard. Violins and Cellos march to the forefront, where they are struck on frantically to create an exciting electronic feel, and Ólafur singles out one piano key at a time, which has a penetrating minimalistic effect.

He introduced one song, his Icelandic accent in full swing, with the statement:  ‘I wrote this on a train in Russia. I was hung over and bored after a night on the vodka.’ The piece was mind blowing. I sit around watching Come Dine With Me when I’m hung over. If only I could compose a quick masterpiece mid-head-thump. In 2009 he composed and released a track daily. What the hell? Oh sure –  I just wash my face, brush my teeth, and wack out an insanely brilliant piece of music. Corr some people…

I was pretty shaken up on leaving the Barbican –  like a beauty witness after a court case. I kept hoping Ólafur would come to the rescue with a Kleenex, but no such luck.

Anyway, my musical descriptions are as lacking as low fat mayonnaise, so you probably still have no idea what his music sounds like… Well, check him out.