Icelandic musician Gabríel Ólafs is something of a prodigy. Having written his first ever piece of music at just 14 years old, the accomplished artist has hit a major stride in the last couple of years. Last year he released a stunning collection of instrumental pieces called Absent Minded, employing a rich combination of string sections, pianos and subtle washes of atmospheric electronics.
Now he's reimagining the album with a series of stripped-back piano pieces called Piano Works (due June 26), itself part of a series of deconstructed releases from One Little Indian Records. The first of these to be heard is "Birta", a slow-burning and delicate piece of musicianship that takes inspiration from the Icelandic holiday that celebrates the first day of sunlight. Listen closely and you can almost hear the first cracks of sunshine tentatively piercing the months of darkness.
Speaking with Complex via email, Ólaf told us, "Even though we recorded it during a very dark and stormy night in Reykjavík, Birta means 'shining light' in Icelandic. It's relevant now as it was recently our holiday of First Summer's Day, the day we finally get a little sunlight. It's also the name of my dog that spends a lot of time with me in my studio."