Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
For extravagant sums of money, a single man or woman can purchase his or her own island. We're not really sure how this is anything that's possible, but it is real and just as hard to wrap around as it is that anyone can have the right to name a comet or a star. Once you have this island, you can do whatever you'd like with it. You can clear it out - get rid of everything that reminds you of the former owner or owners, all of their eccentric touches and flourishes, all of their horrible taste or lack thereof. We'd like to believe that many of these previous owners were the descendents of Mother Nature, the old lady herself or stranded woodland creatures, self-adapted to life on a beach and amongst those shade trees. Even so, it's good to just make a fresh start, otherwise it will never feel like your own. Icelandic singer and songwriter Olof Arnalds sounds like she has experience in island ownership, even if it's just squatters ownership, copping time and feels from the secluded lands and of oceans and volcanic burps, where no one else can see or hear anything that she may have been doing there. She sounds - on her latest full-length album, "Innundir Skinni" - as if she's been ensconced by the beauties of the/an island for a good long time now. She sounds as if she's been swallowed up by the ground and the water and she's been wind-whipped, but now she's inside, near a nice warm fire, in dry clothing, on a still-stormy night, reflecting on her brushes with everything that she put herself through that day just to find food, to find water and to find some form of hopeless love, when she knew well enough that such a thing would be the most treacherous thing she would endeavor on all day. She surrenders to an impulse inside that takes her into the unclaimed realms of the restless soul where she admires all of the berry bushes and untouched flowers. It's what she portrays with her songs - water that's never had a lip placed to it, flowers whose colors have never been seen and whose fragrances have never been sniffed, and animals that have never heard a footstep that wasn't their own. Not only does she occasionally sing in her native tongue, but she sings a foreign language even when it's being done in clear English. It compels us to dream a little, to drift a little and to feel abnormally lost and faint.