Ólafur Arnalds plays Broadchurch score live
Icelandic composer and friends perform his haunting score for the TV drama
The TV box-set era has been rich with opportunities for musicians of a certain atmospheric style, be it Mogwai soundtracking The Returned or Choir of Young Believers earning a cult hit with ‘Hollow Talk’, the theme song from The Bridge. Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds didn’t just write a BAFTA-winning score for ITV crime drama Broadchurch, but indeed helped inspire ‘the entire feel of the show’ according to series creator Chris Chibnall, with his ethereal cello, piano and electronic beats-based works.
Being intrinsically involved with such a critically-acclaimed ratings-winner is something Arnalds calls ‘a great honour’, ahead of a special performance of music from Broadchurch at the Glasgow Film Festival. It’s had the bonus of making his job, which he admits has been nerve-wracking in the build-up to the hugely-anticipated second series (presently screening on ITV and soon on BBC America), slightly less daunting.
‘It’s been really great to work on a series that was so closely related to my music in the first place,’ he says, ‘(knowing) the music I write already fits the show.’
Elsewhere on his CV, Arnalds has also written music for The National Theatre of Scotland’s stage adaptation of Tomas Alfredson's 2008 film Let the Right One In (itself adapted by John Ajvide Lindqvist from his own novel); the NTS version was first staged at Dundee Rep in 2013 and is currently enjoying a run in Brooklyn until mid-February. Arnalds also makes minimal techno in his side-project Kiasmos.
Arnalds will be joined live in Glasgow by a brass trio and a string quartet, for an evening of self-styled ‘cold and isolated’ soundscapes, appreciation of which he insists is ‘absolutely not’ contingent on familiarity with Broadchurch. Just make sure you’re coming for the right Arnalds – Ólafur says he’s ‘lost count’ of how many times people have mixed him up with his (female) cousin Ólöf Arnalds, also a well-known musician. ‘It can be annoying but also great,’ he concedes. ‘I have heard many stories from record stores where people enter to buy one of our albums, but walk out with both after being confused or curious. Or both.’
O2 ABC, Glasgow, Wed 25 Feb