Gifted Icelandic film composer Atli Örvarsson (Defending Jacob, The Edge of Seventeen, and many more) is readying his first solo album, You Are Here, for a much-anticipated July 3 release. In the meantime, I’m proud to premiere the video for third single “Breathing,” a moving and melancholic number that nevertheless exhales a refreshing sense of hope. “Breathing” releases officially tomorrow, June 26.
Filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic, director Blair Alexander‘s video showcases spacial distances with the musicians performing in a completely empty concert hall. That vacant air reveals a haunting quality to performance spaces at which an audience is not allowed.
You Are Here is Örvarsson’s solo debut album. After a 15-year period working and living in LA, Örvarsson returned with his family to his native Iceland. He took up residence in his northern hometown of Akureyri. From his studio window, Örvarsson saw the natural drama unfold along Iceland’s longest fjord, Eyjafjörður. It was there where he drew inspiration for music that contemplates place, time, and relationships through full-bodied strings and pressed keys.
You Are Here releases Friday, July 3, via INNI. Pre-order the album now.
About You Are Here
Returning home to Iceland brought Örvarsson a strong urge to create You Are Here. The initial track, “Flying,” arrived with urgency, when friend and fellow composer Jóhann Jóhannsson passed away in 2018. It was February, and snow buntings flitted past Örvarsson’s studio window as he composed his work. Partnering measured piano with a bittersweet swell of strings, “Flying” is an uplifting tribute to Jóhannsson’s memory.
“Flying” propelled the subsequent assembly of tracks on You Are Here. Spacious and air-light, “Húm pt. 1” warms up the listener through tonal ascent for the album’s uplift. “Húm pt. 2” expands on its melodic counterpart with rhythmic anticipation, string plucks, and zither picks. With “Dropar,” rain thrummed against the window as Örvarsson began this track, resulting in a bevy of prepared piano texture and breathy cello.
You Are Here features a divine partnership between Örvarsson and Sinfonia Nord. Gyða Valtýsdóttir gifted “Dropar” while Viktor Orri Árnason played violin on “Solid Ground.”
Here is the tracklist:
1. Húm pt. I (feat. Sinfonia Nord)
2. Húm pt. 2 (feat. Sinfonia Nord)
3. Dropar (feat. Gyða Valtýsdóttir)
8. Solid Ground (feat. Viktor Orri Árnason)
The pre-order for You Are Here is live.
‘Breathing’ Video Credits
Violins: Gréta Salóme, Guðbjartur Hákonarson.
Viola: Þórunn Marinósdóttir
Cello: Sigurður Bjarki Gunnarsson
Contrabass: Þórir Jóhannsson
Directed by Blair Alexander
Sound: Francesco Fabris
Produced by: Colm O’Herlihy
Lighting and tech: Árni F. Sigurðsson