it’s taken more than two years for ólöf arnalds‘ debut album við og við to reach a wider audience beyond iceland, but like any good wine it’s matured wonderfully in the process. while her magical voice is reminiscent of folk seamstresses vashti bunyan and joanna newsome, what is most enchanting about her is how expressive she can be, something so much more evident to a non-icelandic listener like myself. “vittu af mér” exemplifies this perfectly, with her delicate delivery conveying the deepest and bleakest of emotions, ranging from pensive to mournful. however, in no way does she languish in self-pity: as the song progresses, she sounds stronger, braver and seems to have conquered her darkest demons in her quietly triumphant way. – dan.
við og við has recently been reissued on one little indian. look out also for ólöf’s second album, due early next year.