Icelandic pianist Gabriel Ólafs shares stunning new single ‘Staircase Sonata’

August 4, 2019
Gabríel Örn Ólafsson

Icelandic pianist

Gabriel Ólafs

shares beautiful new piano piece ‘Staircase Sonata’

Debut album Absent Minded
Out 30th August on One Little Indian Records

Gabriel Ólafs possesses an exceptional talent for telling a stirring symphonic story through instrumental music. At just 19, the composer and pianist wowed viewers and a live audience on Icelandic TV during his first-ever live performance, where he was discovered by Björk’s manager Derek Birkett,announcing a record deal with One Little Indian Records shortly after.

One piece came to life following an incident during an Icelandic storm; “’Staircase Sonata’ is a piano song that I wrote when there was a horrible storm in Iceland and the lake flooded into my studio” says Ólafs about beautiful new single ‘Staircase Sonata’. “All my instruments and microphones were in a big pool of water and the fire department came and carried my piano into the stairwell. Although it was an unpleasant event, I really enjoyed the reverb in the stairwell – so that’s where I composed the song. It’s bittersweet but it’s meant to capture positivity in a moment of unhappiness.”

At just 14 years old he wrote ‘Absent Minded’ – an imagined theme tune and subsequent debut single (his first-ever released) from forthcoming album of the same name, out 30th August on One Little Indian. Practically overnight, the track’s video shot up to 21k hits on YouTube.

Ólafs is an expert in the art of tension, creating a lingering breath in between the gaps – something he observes about good movies. “I am very visually-minded, and I often compose to an imaginary story or character. You could say my album is a score to a non-existent film.”

Single ‘Staircase Sonata’ accompanies those lost-in-thought moments, the daydreams, the imaginary worlds we create in our quietest hours. “I love old movies and stories. I enjoy the fact that film scores demand a piece of music to have emotional depth. It has to convey multiple emotions and therefore has its part in telling a story.”

The teenage pianist explains that he is often somewhat isolated growing up in his small Icelandic hometown, creating cinematic moments in his head from mundane things he sees around and nearby the house; a poster of a French cyclist, his mother gardening, the harbour down the road, a female friend who is named after an Icelandic bird, ‘Lóa’. His home studio is his world, his family home his universe.

The undoubtedly emotional pieces are somewhat surprising for an artist so young – yet the young artist flourishes most when encapsulating a sensitivity within his music that’s perhaps lost in adulthood.

Preorder New Album Here-

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