12 O'Clock Track: Ólöf Arnalds, "Sudden Elevation"

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On her forthcoming album Sudden Elevation (One Little Indian) the wonderful Icelandic singer Ólöf Arnalds does little to quash the frequent comparisons to Joanna Newsom her music has generated over the years. In fact, the new record is her first sung entirely in English, so there's no language difference distinguishing her. But really, if you listen carefully there's no doubt that Arnalds has her own thing going—and besides, Newsom doesn't hold the patent on slippery art-pop accompanied by strings. Sudden Elevation is a very intimate record, cut in a cabin on the west coast sea town of Hvalfjördur with the superb multi-instrumentalist and producer Skúli Sverrison. Rather than harp rippling behind her fluttery voice we get a beautiful, resonant lattice of koto and charango in addition to guitars, harmonium, some sparse percussion, and on a few tunes, a subtle string section. The album is scheduled for release on March 5, but for today's 12 O'Clock Track you can get jump start by checking out the lovely title track.

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