Review : JOHANN JOHANNSSON - IBM 1401-A User's Manual
MusicOMH.comOne can only hazard a guess as to the reaction at chez Jóhannsson when word spread about the imminent arrival of IBM 1401, the world's first 'mass-produced digital business computer' in 1964.
Back in what middle-aged people are already referring to as 'the day', the arrival of the first affordable calculators into the family home induced a level of wonderment now only matched in awe by endless incidents of modern tragedy. Like lots of people buying Shakira recordings, for example....full text
Slant MagazineIn the grand scheme of the universe, and even on the lifeline of music composing history, 1964 isn't that long ago. In terms of computer technology, though, it's virtually the beginning of time. And so, Jóhann Jóhannsson's IBM 1403 – A User's Manual—in which the Icelandic composer combines vintage musical fragments coaxed out of one of the first digital data processing systems by his father in 1971, along with other, new Eno-esque electronic sounds and a 60-piece orchestra—gives you the sense of hearing something truly ancient being married to something very modern and present, and, then, something very futuristic....full text
StylusMagazineLike many, I came to hear of Jóhann Jóhannsson after the release of Virðulegu Forsetar, an album that seemed to epitomize the uptick in interest that contemporary classical music was enjoying at the time. In contrast to the glut of introverted piano miniatures that were flooding the market, though, Virðulegu was a monster. Its sprawling 4-part cycle, based on the repetition of a single refrain, introduced Jóhannsson as a composer with a refreshingly unique approach to his craft—one concerned with abstract ideas such as difference and repetition, space and time, and Nietzsche’s concept of eternal recurrence....full text
PrefixMagReviews of Icelandic music inevitably say the lush instrumental grandeur evokes the island's environment: twenty-four-hour sunsets, months of perpetual darkness and intense volcanic activity. Critics continuously represent, often patronizingly, Icelandic musicians' subconscious attempts to portray and channel the wonder caused by the alien beauty of their homeland....full text
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