Photo by Anna Maggy

Ahead of releasing his new album Piano Works next Friday, the prolifically talented Gabríel Ólafs shares a striking black and white photo series taking us through the creative process behind his compositions.

Following on from last year’s incredible debut Absent Minded, the upcoming Piano Works offers a collection of stripped back, intricate pieces featuring re-imaginings of previous works alongside live recordings and new compositions. The delicate balance between expansive elegance and intimate emotivity Ólafs sustains within his music continues to prevail with supreme poise and consideration. As Ólafs’ compositions purvey a stirring, resplendent serenity his creations offer a space of solace, and next week’s release comes as a welcome transcendent respite.

Delve into Gabríel Ólafs In Photos below.

Here’s a photo from my studio in Reykjavík where I compose and record most of my music, including my debut album (Absent Minded) and my upcoming solo piano EP (Piano Works). You can see my Yamaha upright piano that I’ve had since I started playing at age 5 and it’s been with me through floods and earthquakes and travelled with me all over the country. This is where I sit a lot these days, working on new material.

Here’s my Fender Rhodes electric piano that I love. I bought it a few years ago on craigslist from a man in Los Angeles who did not want to drive it too far and only accepted cash. I realised it would be tricky to convince him to sell it to me when he asked me how far the drive was from California to Iceland. I use it quite a bit for ‘bell’ type sounds.

This is a poster that hangs above my piano, it inspired my piece ‘Cyclist Waltz’ – I looked at this man one day and wondered what his theme or tune would sound like if he had one.

   This is my work desk. My father gave me this crystal rock years ago and I’ve been told it gives me creative energy while working. I always have it in my creative space. Another major necessity visible in this photo is my favourite cup that my aunt who is a ceramist made for me by hand. A very important part of recording/music-making culture in Iceland is drinking way too much coffee while chatting or working, and this cup keeps it nice and hot.

The Roland Juno 6, my favourite synth. It’s very simple and very popular, this one is from the early 80s and I bought it from Japan. It can create very soft but also very hard sounds.

These are my favourite microphones to use on strings and piano. They are  Neumann km83s from the early 70s and I bought them from Germany. I used them almost exclusively to record my debut album.

  I like to write all of my ideas and thoughts down in a notebook so I’m able to organise them. I go through many of these while working. On the table I have a Björk sheet music book which was a gift from my manager, as well as some vinyl records I’ve been listening to today (Glenn Gould, Jóhann Jóhannsson).

 This is my dog. She has been my companion while I’m working in the studio for years so we spend a lot of time together. I even named a song after her for my Piano Works EP.

  This is called a Space Echo, which I bought in Poland. It’s a tape-based delay machine that makes everything sound more interesting than it is. I often record guitar and synths through it and the knobs on it are beautiful.

 This is the garden behind my studio where I like take my breaks, go out, sit down and think. It’s rare to have a garden near downtown Reykjavík so I’m very grateful for it. Being around plants helps my creativity and clears my mind.

‘Piano Works’ is due out 26th June via One Little Independent Records. Pre-order here.