Jóhannssonia

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Looking around at the weekend for Jóhann Jóhannsson concerts turned up a few freely available recordings plus a two-hour mix by the composer that I hadn’t come across before. I must have about three quarters of the Jóhannsson discography on disc by now but a handful of rarities remain stubbornly out of reach. Discoveries like this help me resist the temptation to consider spending £150 on a secondhand copy of End Of Summer, a CD/DVD recording of a Jóhannsson collaboration with Hildur Gudnadóttir and Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe. Given Jóhannsson’s reputation, and that of Hildur Gudnadóttir who worked with him on other albums, I’d be surprised if some of these scarce recordings weren’t reissued eventually.

KEXP (2010).
Jóhannsson with the Acme String Quartet in a 36-minute session for the Seattle radio show. The ensemble perform five pieces which include a version of Flight From The City six years before its appearance on the Orphée album. Also two compositions that are only available on singles or compilation albums, Tu Non Mi Perderai Mai and Corpus Camera.

FatCat Podcast #66—The Miners’ Hymns live at Winter Gardens (2012).
The Miner’s Hymns was a score for a Bill Morrison documentary about the mining communities of North East England for which Jóhannsson used a range of brass instruments like those found in colliery bands. This is a live performance of the entire score by the Wordless Music Orchestra that accompanied a screening of the film in New York.

FACT Mix 527 (2015).
Linked here before, an 55-minute mix which includes a number of unsurprisingly sombre orchestral selections from Mihaly Vig, Gloria Coates and Witold Lutoslawski, together with two pieces by Meredith Monk. The latter point the way to the Monk-inflected vocalisations on the score for Arrival.

KEXP (2016).
A 50-minute session on video which includes more selections from the Orphée album. During the discussion interlude with Kevin Cole, Jóhannsson talks about his soundtrack work, including his score for Arrival.

Electronic Explorations 461 (2017).
A two-hour mix which repeats some of the FACT mix—Lutoslawski’s Funeral Music was evidently a favourite—and which also shows Jóhannsson’s sense of humour. Of all the many pieces he might have chosen by the early music historian David Munrow, the two recordings that open and close this mix are from Munrow’s unreleased score for John Boorman’s Zardoz. Then a third of the way through there’s an abrupt transition from the droning doom of Sakrifis by Mohammad to Au Suivant by Jacques Brel, a song better known to Scott Walker and Alex Harvey listeners in its Mort Schuman translation, Next.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Last and First Men

Pay It All Back

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Two things of interest to William Burroughs aficionados are looking for funding this month. The Burroughs Century is an event being planned to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Burroughs birth next year in Bloomington, Indiana:

We are calling this event the Burroughs Century, but we are not looking backward; rather, we believe that the Burroughs Century is ongoing, that we are in the midst of it, and we intend to stage an event that indicates the full range of that continuing influence, including a film series, art and literature exhibits, speakers and panels, musical performances, and more.

There’s more detail at Indiegogo. The organiser of the event, Charles Cannon, has expressed an interest in showing some of the Wild Boys portfolio which I keep tinkering with. Having a deadline to work towards may compel me to finish some of those pieces.

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I’ve already mentioned Alex Harvey’s computer game-in-progress, Tangiers, but the game now has a Kickstarter fund which Harvey and co. are hoping will push their work to completion. The Burroughs influence here is more oblique since this is an original creation but it’s still a promising development in a medium with a tendency to rely on Hollywood and genre stereotypes for its scenarios:

You play an outsider to the world, an entity with a singular, enigmatic goal – to find and dispose of five other beings. Your arrival here has fractured the world; the city that these other beings resided in is now broken into shards across a broken, bleak landscape.

You must infiltrate these cities, searching to discover your marks – investigating both precisely who, and where. Keeping to the shadows is to be encouraged – reality here is a fragile place. Your interactions with the world cause it to fall apart. In homage to Burrough’s cut-up technique, the world collapses and rebuilds itself the more you interact with it – future areas rebuilt with the fragments and personality of places you mistreated. From this every play-through will, subtly or drastically, be unique to you.

Find out more at the game’s Kickstarter page.

Weekend links 166

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The Julian House cover art for the forthcoming collaboration between John Foxx and Belbury Poly (here renamed) has been revealed. Single no. 9 in the Ghost Box Listening Centre Study Series is now available.

• In addition to new Ghost Box records there’s more Hauntological (for want of a better term) cinema on the way this summer with the DVD/BR release of Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England. The potted description at Movie Mail is “a monochrome psychedelic trip into magic and madness set during the English Civil War”. Julian House has made a trailer. Meanwhile at Fangoria, there’s a PIF mixtape from The Advisory Circle. This accompanies an interview with John Krish, director of the most bizarre of the UK’s many strange and alarming public information films from the 1970s.

• More mixes: The hour-long OH/EX/OH show for The Geography Trip on Chorlton FM. “Expect slumber / tension / euphoria in almost equal measures.” It’s marvellous. At Self-Titled mag there’s DJ Food with O Is For Orange: Boards of Canada, Broadcast, The Books, etc.

Tangiers is a computer game based on the fiction of William Burroughs. Jim Rossignol talked to Alex Harvey about the development of the project.

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Walpurgisnacht (1917) by Amadeus. A drawing that could easily be from the late 1960s. If anyone knows the full name of the artist, please leave a comment. Via Beautiful Century.

Rebecca J. Rosen asks “What would the night sky look like if the other planets were as close as the moon?”

• The mystery of Charles Dellschau and the Sonora Aero Club.

The Surreal Cave Paintings Of Stockholm’s Metro Stations.

• At 50 Watts: More strange art from Marcus Behmer.

Ry Cooder in 1970. Directed by Van Dyke Parks!

The Post Office Tower: now you see it…

• At Little Augury: 99 Meninas.

Sartori In Tangier (1982) by King Crimson | City Of Mirage (2010) by John Foxx