Influenced by nature and a lifetime of growth and learning, Svavar Knútur has used great emotional depth and personal experiences to shape a style of folk music that is certainly all his own. Nowhere is that more present than in his latest work, Ölduslóð, translating to “Way Of Waves.” The record is a continuation of his debut solo release, Kvöldvaka (“Songs By A Fire”), with themes like happiness, redemption and the individual’s triumph over adversity.
Soon after the first track begins, you’re instantly whisked away to this other realm of existence that Svavar has portrayed with his music. “Baby Would You Marry Me” is blissfully romantic and angelic with every word. The first track introduces the collaboration present throughout the record with Markéta Irglová of Swell Season, who provides a marvelous vocal harmony and a soothing presence in “While The World Burns” and “Prayer For The Dead.”
The album immediately climbs to great depths and engages more melancholy themes as it follows with “While The World Burns” and the title-track. The darker hue envelopes the release as the record winds onto the rocky shores of happiness and examines the journey every living soul must take to find it.
“Prayer For The Dead,” the final number, concludes Ölduslóð on its darkest note about forgiveness and self-damnation. Knútur does well to create a finale that, while seemingly despairing, seems strangely hopeful, mirroring the feelings he tried to convey at the start of the record.
With the album split between Knútur’s native Icelandic and English, sporadically jumping between the two, Ölduslóð makes for one incredible release. Such passion and pride is seldom seen in modern music the way it’s crafted here. The bewitching charm of this emotionally moving album will remain a gem in contemporary folk music for years to come.
In A Word: Breathtaking