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 193

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A Problem Glyph by Eliza Gauger. Problem Glyphs are “symbolic illustrations … drawn in response to problems sent in by tumblr users”.

Kosmische Night takes place at the Museum of Bath at Work, Bath, Somerset, on January 25th (Rescheduled to February 22nd).  “…a celebration of all things Teutonic for anyone who enjoys Neu!, Can, Tangerine Dream, Stockhausen and Kraftwerk,” say the organisers. Also on the bill, The Electric Pentacle, a Carnacki-esque collaboration between Narco Lounge Combo and The Levels.

• Shock Headed Peters’ Fear Engine II: Almost As If It Had Never Happened. Joe Banks on Karl Blake, “…one of the most fascinating and colourful characters to emerge from the fertile loam of the post-punk scene”.

• “The great question in the film and the tale is not the existence of the ghosts but the way the governess understands their no-longer-lived lives and desires.” Michael Wood on The Innocents.

Nobody, however, is a greater authority on the intersection of porn and alternative spirituality than Annie Sprinkle. Beginning as a prostitute in the 1960s and 70s, she entered porn in the pre-AIDS era and made over two hundred films. She then jumped into a career as a sex-positive author and educator, which brought her into close conflict not only with feminists like Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon, but also right-wing patriarch Jesse Helms, who denounced one of her sex magick performance pieces on the floor of the Senate. For Sprinkle, both sexuality and performance are explicitly spiritual and magical, part of her role as a cultural shaman.

In the Valley of the Porn Witches by Jason Louv.

Stars of the Lid and Wordless Music Orchestra playing for two hours last month at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Rick Poynor on the late Martin Sharp’s contributions to People, Politics and Pop: Australians in the Sixties (1968) by Craig McGregor.

Maggie Greene on The Woman in Green: A Chinese Ghost Tale from Mao to Ming, 1981–1381.

• “TED actually stands for: middlebrow megachurch infotainment,” says Benjamin H Bratton.

Geoff Manaugh on how corpses helped shape the London Underground.

Tony White on Eduardo Paolozzi at New Worlds by David Brittain.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 102 by Frank Bretschneider.

• At Dangerous Minds: film of Syd Barrett‘s first psychedelic trip.

NYPL Wire: a New York Public Library Tumblr.

Microbial art by Eshel Ben-Jacob and others.

Interstellar Rock: Kosmische Musik (1974) by The Cosmic Jokers | I, Bloodbrother Be (1984) by Shock Headed Peters | Obscene and Pornographic Art (1991) by Bongwater