It’s been hard for us to forget the beautiful and intimate session we had with Ólafur Arnalds during our Iceland Airwaves broadcast last year at KEX Hostel. This year, when we saw that the young Icelandic composer and songwriter would be performing at SXSW, we wanted to get him live on air again, not to recreate that moment but to share him with a totally new audience. True, Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop has a similar comfy vibe (that’s why we like going back there each year), but the bright midday in Austin illuminated the fact that Ólafur Arnalds’ music wasn’t all chilly Nordic atmospherics. His songs are full of warm tones and sweeping dynamics that might as well drift among dust motes in sunlight as snowflakes in winter.
Joined by Viktor Orri Arnason on violin and Paul Grennan on cello on stage during our SXSW broadcast, Ólafur Arnalds performed this swooning set, as timeless and placeless as it is beautiful, and now you can relive it anywhere, in any climate, at any time of the year: