Thursday, January 25, 2018

Olafur Arnalds Featuring Arnor Dan: So Far

"So far from who I was...
from who I love... from who I want to be."

Theme music can be a tricky business. Instrumentals are ideally the way to go for my money. Theme music is even trickier with lyrics. Think Where My Heart Will Take Me by Russell Watson for Star Trek: Enterprise (2001-2005) or the theme to Buck Rogers In The 25th Century (1979-1981) and Wonder Woman (1975-1979).

These are songs that either rise or fall with fans, loved and adored or shunned altogether and tolerated. Of course with streaming today you can skip right over the introductions.

Personally I'm open to all kinds of themes and typically they work for me. Rarely does a theme fail but they are out there. Still, I personally love the variety that exists.

This writer recently completed the British crime drama Broadchurch created by Chris Chibnail (show runner for Doctor Who Series 11) starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman. The series is immaculate. It is a flawless crime drama that hits every mark for its entire three season run.

Most important for our entry today is the fact its opening theme captured an air of eloquent, haunting beauty each and every episode. There was a grace and mystery to the composition that just invades the senses. It is quite possibly one of the finest lyrical theme songs to ever grace this writer's ears.

So Far was composed by Iceland composer Olafur Arnalds with vocals by Arnor Dan. This ear worm of gorgeous composition worked its way into my subconscious quickly and became a favorite after viewing just a few episodes of the series. While the music or scoring certainly speaks for itself Dan gives it all a voice and a beautiful one.

I was so intrigued by the voice of Dan that I investigated and researched his other works. There wasn't a lot of information available only that he had provided his vocal skills to a number of Arnalds compositions. Dan doesn't even possess a single solo album, but is the lead to the Icelandic band Agent Fresco (formed in 2008) which has concluded production on the three recordings to date. He may not be instantly recognizable, but judge the man no further than by the strength of his voice. His turn on So Far is profoundly delicate and moving. Equally strong for the Broadchurch series was So Close and Take My Leave Of You. These compositions and Dan's work with Arnalds in many ways do not represent his efforts with Agent Fresco. Personally, I prefer his guest appearances with Arnalds over the Fresco numbers.

Broadchurch (2013). A. Highly Recommended. The sorrow-filled, hauntingly beautiful music for the series is worth any fan's library of theme and/or television composition. Songs like the theme selections (So Close, So Far) truly set the tone for this quality series.

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