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

Weekend links 173

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Icarus (1974–75) by Lili Ország.

• The Cabaret Voltaire albums released on the Virgin label in the 1980s have suffered the same shoddy treatment on CD as other Virgin reissues, a situation to be rectified in November with an extensive revisiting of the CV back catalogue. The long-overdue reappraisal will also include the release of Earthshaker, a collection of previously unavailable recordings from the Virgin period.

• It’s that book again: Design Observer has the preface from Lolita — The Story of a Cover Girl: Vladimir Nabokov’s novel in art and design, a book by John Bertram and Yuri Leving. At The Millions John Bertram talks to designer John Gall about the problems Lolita poses for cover designers.

• Jerry Lewis’s The Day the Clown Cried (1972) has acquired legendary status over the years for the apparent tastelessness of its subject matter—a clown in Auschwitz—and the fact that its director/star has never allowed the film to be seen in public. This week some footage arrived on YouTube.

Candy Bullets And Moon (1967), a one-off psychedelic collaboration between Don Preston and Meredith Monk.

• What’s the collective term for many bookshops? Whatever it is, there’s a lot of them in this Pinterest collection.

• At Dangerous Minds: Artist Gail Potocki’s exploration of Alice in Wonderland and the passing of time.

Anne Billson on the late Karen Black and why horror movies deserve our respect.

Tobias Carroll on the Surreal life and fiction of Leonora Carrington.

More details emerge about The Wicker Man – The Final Cut.

• Issue 35 of Arthur Magazine is now available for order.

• Graphics, drawings and collages by Jan Svankmajer.

• Every film poster designed by Saul Bass.

• Cabaret Voltaire: Just Fascination (1983) | Sensoria (1984) | I Want You (1985)

Weekend links 136

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Der Triumph des Tintenfisches from Meggendorfer-Blätter (c. 1900). Via Beautiful Century.

Much dismay this week at the news that Coilhouse—the web and print magazine founded in 2008 by Nadya Lev, Meredith Yayanos and Zoetica Ebb—was closing its doors for the foreseeable future. I always loved what they were doing, and was delighted when S. Elizabeth interviewed me for the website two years ago. Looking at the list of their featured articles is like seeing the contents of my head laid bare. Have a browse and see what you may have missed. And fingers crossed they return soon.

• “I think we are just used to seeing naked women because they are used as objects of desire in advertisements and TV. Naked men are not that common—we are not used to seeing a penis. I think that is the main problem for people.” The shock of the (male) nude.

Michael Clarke asks “What Can Publishers Learn from Indie Rock?” Also: Michelle Dean on the value of used books.

Queers find themselves on both sides of the free speech question. Those of us who are writers want the freedom to write and say what we want. I know I do. Yet a preponderance of LGBT people have become part of the larger wave of those who would limit free speech. Because while we want to be able to say whatever we want about “them,” we do not want “them” to say whatever they want about us.

Victoria Brownworth on The Case Against Censorship

• Caspar Henderson re-reads The Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges.

One hundred classic minimalism, electronic, ambient and drone recordings.

• BLDGBLOG visits the Chand Baori stepwell in Abhaneri, India.

Brion Gysin’s Dreamachine is launched in the UK.

Ken Hollings visits Ludwig II’s Venus Grotto.

• A guide to Meredith Monk‘s music.

• RIP Boris Strugatsky.

Maldorora: a Tumblr.

Stalker: Meditation (1979) by Edward Artemiev | Undulating Terrain (1995) by Robert Rich & B. Lustmord | Stalker (2004) by Shackleton.