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Fordlandia - Dbl LP
An American magnate builds a doomed utopia in the depths of the Brazilian rainforest. A Victorian poetess laments the death of Pan. A pagan rocket scientist blows himself up in his Californian garage. A crippled German physicist draws up the equations, which can make faster than light travel possible, unseen by the rest of the world. Jóhann Jóhannsson's spellbinding new album draws these tantalizing threads together, weaving a musical tapestry of hypnotic richness and surprising emotional depth. Englabörn was derived from music that Johann wrote for an Icelandic play using string quartet, piano, organ, glockenspiel and percussion. These elements were processed and manipulated, adding delicate electronic accents to the otherwise entirely acoustic recordings. Virthulegu Forsetar was a one hour-long piece for eleven brass players, percussion, electronics, organs and piano. It shares Englabörn's quiet, elegiac beauty, but replaces the brevity of the first album's exquisite miniatures with an extended sweep of sound that reveals a long, slow process of evolution. Jóhann is involved in many different projects in his native Iceland, including the all-analog Apparat Organ Quartet and Kitchen Motors, the art organization/think tank/record label which specializes in instigating collaborations and art projects across diverse art forms. Among many other things, he has also recently composed scores for the award-winning animator Marc Craste (Varmints, 2008) and the American independent film Personal Effects (David Hollander, 2008). After IBM 1401, A User's Manual, Fordlândia is the second installment in a proposed trilogy based on technology and iconic American brand names. Whereas IBM 1401, A User's Manual was a personal response to technology and its inevitable obsolescence (inspired by his father's work with mainframe computers in 1960s Iceland), Fordlândia springs out of a far more diffuse set of influences. It brings together the soaring grandeur of its predecessor – some sections were recorded with the same orchestra in Prague – and the intimacy of Englabörn, moving between heady, melting cadences and crystalline motifs with gorgeous, dreamlike logic. In short, Fordlândia is Jóhann Jóhannsson's most complete and beautiful piece of music to date; a fascinating, immersive and deeply rewarding web of ideas and melodies, which is sure to win him a legion of new listeners.