April 23, 2008

Jóhann Jóhannsson - Englabörn

Artist:Jóhann Jóhannsson
Album: Englabörn
Year: 2002

óhann Jóhannsson
(born 1969) is an Icelandic-born musician, composer
and producer. He also runs the record label Kitchen Motors in Reykjavík,
the art organization/think tank/record label which specializes in
instigating collaborations, promoting concerts and exhibitions, performances, chamber operas, producing films, books and radio shows based on the ideals of experimentation, collaboration and the search for new art forms.


"Jonhann Johannsson's first solo release, Englaborn, is one of the most fantastic and amazing things I've heard in a long time. The only other piece of information I know of Jonhannsson is his eclectic other group, Apparat Organ Quartet, is pretty friggin' good. However, if you like music in that vein, then this is not your ticket. This entire album sounds like a string quartet with synthetic overtones, making me believe Johannsson wrote the music, had the quartet play, and then put his own intricities in.
Needless to say, they are nothing short of fantastic. This entire disc sounds like a desperate movie score for the twenty-first century, with strings haunting back on old and dying memories. Amazingly, this entire cd feels beyond cohesive, with each track playing it's part and paying into amazing songwriting. The true beauty of this cd is the vast space within it: there is so much missing from each song that you are forced to think, and even though you may listen to it passively, you'll never be struck with a moment of dischord. Blissful and amazing arranging of music keeps us going, with only a few tracks incorporating more than just the strings/piano. The emotional content is provided by the listener: the light descends and twinkling tones of the music is entirely conducive to your own emotional status, and therefore, this album is entirely yours, regardless of what other people think of it.
Johannsson has created a real masterpiece here that will be overlooked. If you are a fan of music that exists not just to be beautiful, but is beautiful in every aspect, look no further."(Chris Wren )

"....Above it all reigns an immaterial Nordic aura, something the listener can instantly recognize as Icelandic in essence -- in the tiny trickles of glockenspiel, the solemnity of the sustained harmonium chords, the fragility and beauty that give this music its porcelain doll looks. Englabörn is tremendously cute on the outside, but the emotions it carries have little to do with sweetness. The listener comes out of it with a heavy heart, drenched, happy but surprised by the manipulative power the music had on him or her. Highly recommended.."


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