Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Jóhann Jóhannsson - "And In The Endless Pause There Came The Sound Of Bees" CD

Known as much for his production work (Barry Adamson, Pan Sonic, Marc Almond)and for his band (Apparat Organ Quartet), Icelandic composer Jóhannsson here has crafted a gorgeous modern classical score. Using the City Of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra to realize these pieces, the sound is deep, crystalline, and definitely not your grandparents' classical music. The opening "Theme" is a wispy and hopeful string composition, with a slight air of mystery. The seagulls and thunderclaps at the end bring a peaceful close. "City Building" seems to enter more dangerous environs, with shadowy undercurrents and a minimal chorus of voice, piano, and violins, all gelling into a dramatic yet subtle conclusion. But it's not all traditional, either. Among Jóhannsson 's strengths are his incorporation of nontraditional sounds to these structured pieces. "Rainwater" uses effected field recordings to add an element of grit to an otherwise simple piece of music. "Pods" utilizes deep, cavernous reverberations to add menace to the piano/strings. And "Escape" has an air of tension in it's drones. "End (Snowing)" is an aptly-titled 6+ minutes of stunning piano and strings, with a chilly arctic air -- perhaps the finest song here. It's this modern sound-sculpting that brings Jóhannsson's compositions into more avante garde territories, all the while remaining accessible and quite lovely. This beautiful set of songs is quite limited, so act now or pay collectors' prices later. (NTOV Iceland)

Jóhann Jóhannsson site

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