Music review: Ólafur Arnalds plays Broadchurch

ABC, Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin

ABC, Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin

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HAVING scored two series of Broadchurch in the wispy Nordic noir style, Icelandic death metal drummer-turned-classical composer Ólafur Arnalds is clearly the current go-to guy for sad face film and TV themes.

Ólafur Arnalds plays Broadchurch

ABC, Glasgow

***

After half an hour of cyclical, limpid piano refrains, spectral, spindly strings, brass so understated it barely registered and the occasional intrusion of an electronic beat, he hardly needed to intimate that the next item on the bill, his film music for Another Happy Day, provided the soundtrack to “not such a happy day”.

Arnalds was utterly disarming, often more so than his bare background mood music which, when performed without any visuals, barring some tasteful backlighting and the occasional flash of fluorescent tube lighting, made for a meditative concert experience, eliciting pin-drop attention from the audience, but also willing vocal participation when asked to drone a note for him to record and loop.

Guest singer Arnór Dan emerged to vary the palette with some tremulous torch songs, including the end credits theme to the second series of Broadchurch – dispatched for once, Arnalds noted wryly, without an ITV announcer talking over it.

With a third series now commissioned, there is presumably more of that mournfulness in store, although a solo piano piece inspired by and dedicated to his grandmother, with sensitive strings and brass joining in from the wings, suggested that Arnalds has more to offer when writing from the heart rather than sticking to the script.

Seen on 25.02.15

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