JÓHANN JÓHANNSSON: The Miners’ Hymns (130701/Fat-Cat Records)

themilkman on May 23rd 2011 01:08 am

Jóhann Jóhannsson: The Miners' Hymns

The Miners Hymns
130701/Fat-Cat Records 2011
06 Tracks. 51mins00secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP iTunes: DLD

Jóhann Jóhannsson’s latest project, the soundtrack to the latest film by New York-based experimental film director Bill Morison, The Miners’ Hymn, is quite a departure for the Icelandic composer and musician. The film documents the working and social lives of the coal mining communities of the north of England through the use of archive footage from the BFI, the BBC and local organisations, and was premiered at Durham Cathedral as part of the city’s International Festival last year.

For his score, Jóhannsson, whose music provides the sole sound aspect of the film, incorporates elements of the region’s cultural heritage into his music, most prominently by using brass instruments extensively, evoking the traditional marching bands which continue to exist to this day. Continue Reading »

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Jóhann Jóhannsson/Greg Haines/Nils Frahm, St Giles In The Fields, London, 27/05/2010

themilkman on Jun 1st 2010 12:32 am

Jóhann Jóhannsson/Greg Haines/Nils Frahm, St Giles In The Fields, London, 27/05/2010

Haven of calm and tranquillity right in the pumping heart of London, a stone throw from the chaos of on of the major Cross Rail construction sites, St Giles In The Fields paid host to three of today’s modern classical musicians and composers. Headlining the evening was Jóhann Jóhannsson, now something of a veteran of the genre, and the most established of the three, with Berlin-based British composer Greg Haines and German new comer Nils Frahm each bringing their own blend of the genre to the event.

Nils Frahm’s solo piano set offered a partial reading of his recent album The Bells, with compositions extended or altered to fit the mood. Continue Reading »

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JÓHANN JÓHANNSSON: And In The Endless Pause There Came The Sound Of Bees (Type Recordings)

themilkman on Mar 16th 2010 01:05 am

Jóhann Jóhannsson: And In The Endless Pause There Came The Sound Of Bees

And In The Endless Pause There Came The Sound Of Bees
Type Recordings 2010
13 Tracks. 40mins17secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP US: LP Boomkat: CD | LP iTunes: DLD

Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson might be best known for the records he has been delivering since he made his debut on Touch almost ten years ago with the superb Englabörn, but the cinematic nature of his work has also led him to work on countless soundtracks for feature films, short films and documentaries. Originally released as a limited vinyl edition at the end of last year, And In The Endless Pause There Came The Sound Of Bees is Jóhann Jóhannsson’s soundtrack to the beautiful animated short film Varmints, created by Studio AKA member Marc Craste, based on the book of the same name published over two years ago by children’s author Helen Ward, which Craste also illustrated. Continue Reading »

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themilkman on Dec 23rd 2008 01:55 am

Jóhann Jóhannsson: Fordlandia

4AD 2008
11 Tracks. 67mins03secs

The fifth album by Icelandic classical composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, Fordlândia takes its name from a megalomaniac project of Henry Ford, who bought 10,000 km2 of land in Brazil in the 1920s to produce the rubber that would be used for the tyres of Ford cars. The project ran into trouble after the indigenous workforce grew discontented with working conditions and rampant Americanisation. By 1945, Fordlândia was given a further blow as the use of synthetic rubber increased greatly, forcing Ford to sell the land at a considerable loss.

How much this actually filters through Jóhannsson’s latest opus is debatable, although the album was partly inspired by the idea of nature reclaiming the territory once invaded by industrial activities. Continue Reading »

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Max Richter/Jóhann Jóhannsson, Union Chapel, London, 29/06/2008

themilkman on Jul 1st 2008 12:42 am

Feature: Max Richter/Jóhann Jóhannsson, Union Chapel, London, 29/06/2008

Max Richter gave a rare live performance at the Union Chapel in London’s Islington, ahead of the release of his latest project, 24 Postcards In Full Colour, on Fat-Cat in July, and, opening the evening for him was Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson.

Jóhannsson took the stage accompanied with a string quartet and one additional personnel on electronics. With the string quartet positioned centre stage, Jóhannsson found himself stuck in the background between a baby grand piano and his keyboards. Jóhannsson has, since the release of his debut album, Englabörn, in 2002 on Touch and reissued last year on 4AD, established himself as one of the best contemporary classical composers around and has, beside his own records, composed music for films and plays and has also been involved with a handful of side projects. For this London performance, Jóhannsson focused exclusively on his solo work, presenting tracks taken essentially from Englabörn and IBM 1401, A User’s Manual, with a couple of more rhythmic pieces sourced from Dis. Continue Reading »

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themilkman on Nov 10th 2007 07:09 pm

Jóhann Jóhannsson: Englabörn

4AD 2002/2007
16 Tracks. 48mins27secs

Last year, Icelandic contemporary classical composer Jóhann Jóhannsson released the superb IBM: A User’s Manual album, which drew from memories of his childhood and recordings made over forty years ago by Jóhannsson’s father, who was chief maintenance officer for the first IBM mainframe computer in Iceland, who had developed a way to produce music out of it, a purpose beyond the original scope of the machine. Four years before this, Jóhannsson released his debut album, Englabörn, on Touch, an album that his new label, 4AD, are now making available again. Continue Reading »

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