Gabríel Ólafs joins us for the fifth installment of Ambient Meditations, our ongoing series of ambient mixes designed for introspection, quiet walks, winding down, or meditation. Volume 5 features an incredible blend of solo piano works, cinematic moments, and even a choir. If you need to get over a creative roadblock or feel a little deeper, this one is perfect.
Following the release of last year's mesmerising 'Absent Minded', Gabríel Ólafs returns with his stripped back yet beautifully intricate 'Piano Works', a collection of reimagined arrangements released as part of an ambitious deconstructive series by One Little Indian Records.
Ambient Meditations Vol. 5 - Tracklist
1. Jóhann Jóhannsson - Mandy Love Theme
2. Gabríel Ólafs - Lóa (variation)
3. Bing & Ruth - As Much As Possible
4. The Hamrahlid Choir - Heyr, himnasmiður
5. Nils Frahm - Re
6. Aphex Twin - #3
7. Jon Hopkins - Abandon Window
8. Tim Hecker - Radiance
9. Max Richter - Path 5 (delta)
10. Masayoshi Fujita - It's Magical
11. amiina - Leather and Lace
12. Gabríel Ólafs - Filma
13. Niklas Paschburg - Duvet
14. Ryuichi Sakamoto - Energy Flow
More about Ólafs:
The Icelandic pianist wrote his debut 'Absent Minded' at just 14 years old and piqued interest for his deft appreciation for ambience and space, creativity and a musical story-telling ability far beyond his years. Masterful compositions ebb and flow seamlessly and depict epics from pure imagination, as Ólafs small town isolation means he draws his inspiration from the smallest things; a poster of a French cyclist, his mother gardening or the harbour down the road.
It's because his music is so thematically expansive but also personal that it lends itself so gracefully to solo piano. Not only that but Gabríel had backing provided by the mother of all orchestras; "During recording there was a storm. A red weather warning meaning that you shouldn't drive or walk outside. While I'm playing the old upright you can sometimes hear the howling wind blowing through the window next to it. Even though it didn't turn out perfect, I thought there was a magic to the performance recordings we made that night and I embraced the imperfections."
Not only composing, arranging and performing everything by himself, Gabríel worked closely with engineer Bergur Thorisson to help produce and mix the album. He also recorded the ambient version of 'Lóa' himself with the sounds from the piano using e-bows, delays and reverse processing.
Alongside re-recordings of previous work the album also contains new material. Ólafs crafted an intro with which to set the scene as well as two tracks, 'Birta' meaning "bright light" in Icelandic (and also the name of his lifelong pet dog) and 'Flatey' which is a picturesque island off the coast of Iceland, but also the name of the pizza restaurant across from the studio where they would eat during the recording process.
With more reworked music in the pipeline for 2020, Gabríel Ólafs fierce creative determination and endless vision continues to shine through without a hint of obstruction. After all he's not only used to solitude but thrives in it.