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Fordlandia

Johann Johannsson Audio CD

Price: CDN$ 12.45
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Product Description

Johann Johannsson is an Icelandic composer whose stately, slow-building and hauntingly melodic music has been quietly bewitching listeners for the last few years. His 2008 album Fordlandia weaves threads of thoughts together taking the the images of several subjects from an American magnate builds a doomed utopia in the depths of the Brazilian rainforest, a Victorian poetess laments the death of Pan, a pagan rocket scientist blows himself up in his Californian garage and a crippled German physicist draws up the equations which can make faster than light travel possible, unseen by the rest of the world. J¢hann draws these tantalising threads together, weaving a musical tapestry of hypnotic richness.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Headphone Commute Review Dec 25 2008
By Headphone Commute - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
A few years ago, when I was regularly creating mixes for a podcast, an idea came across to compile music for my funeral. One thing I am sure about - I will die. And when I pass on, music will be filling in the void that was once my presence. How touching. Why shouldn't I be the one to select the pieces that would make others weep? Yes, I'll admit, I can be self centered like that. For my opening track, I turned to Jóhann Jóhannsson, and his Odi Et Amo from Englabörn (4AD, 2007). Now, with the release of Fordlandia, I may need to compile a second volume. On second thought, just play the whole album! But don't get me wrong. I don't want to come across saying that Jóhannsson's compositions are full of funeral sound [perhaps that should be a genre in itself?]. Yet, this Icelandic-born modern classical musician composes some of the most beautiful and soul drenching works that I have ever heard. The saturation of emotion approaches even my limits, and my eyes swell up with tears, as the concrete humanity gets cleansed in the rain, out in the windows of my crawling train. This is Jóhannsson's sixth full length album. Besides these contemporary classical conceptual pieces, Jóhannsson produced about a dozen of soundtracks for [mostly] Icelandic films, shorts and documentaries. There are also his theatrical works, arrangements for many artists, and music for installations. It would be an understatement to say that Jóhann Jóhannsson is a prominent figure in Icelandic contemporary artistic community. After all, he's one of the co-founders (along with Kira Kira and Hilmar Jensson) behind Kitchen Motors, "a think tank, a record label, and an art collective specializing in instigating collaborations and putting on concerts, exhibitions, performances, chamber operas, producing films, books and radio shows based on the ideals of experimentation, collaboration, the search for new art forms and the breaking down of barriers between forms, genres and disciplines." Thematically, Fordlandia continues the exploration of technology where Jóhannsson's last conceptual album, IBM 1401, a User's Manual (4AD, 2006) left off. Jóhannsson elaborates: "one of the two main threads running through [Fordlandia] is this idea of failed utopia, as represented by the [its] title - the story of the rubber plantation Henry Ford established in the Amazon in the 1920's, and his dreams of creating an idealized American town in the middle of the jungle complete with white picket fences, hamburgers and alcohol prohibition." For a detailed insight into creation of the album, including a commentary on each individual track (!!!), you absolutely must visit Jóhannsson's web site. Fordlandia thus becomes a second installment in a series of works documenting human hunger for ideals, technological progress, doomed failures, and the beauty of nature reclaiming itself. Such it is still, music for the born and the departed. Highly recommended! Undoubtedly one of the best albums of 2008.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EVEN AS METAPHOR Dec 31 2008
By Hank Napkin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Jóhannsson has emerged as a leading voice in new classical work. His remarkable Virdulegu forsetar set about establishing new form capable of reconciling orchestral and electronic constructs. Fordlandia follows the equally stunning ibm 1401, a user's manual, as the second installment in Jóhannsson's proposed trilogy of technocratic and autocratic American business icons - a fact that lets one ponder the good and generally bad impacts of technology on culture as both Henry Ford's Fordlandia rubber plantation and the mass production of the internal combustion engine ably demonstrate. Running contrary to the mastering trend of Maximum Volume At All Times, Jóhannsson's final mix and presentation is careful to preserve dynamic range, with many passages seemingly seeking the absolute lower threshold of hearing, not unlike Tavener's The Last Sleep of the Virgin about which the composer urged listeners to "play at a barely audible level". With an invocation from Browning ("and, that dismal cry rose slowly and sank slowly...") the music of Fordlandia is again elegiac, and beautiful in its sustained, shifting and detailed articulations of mourning, of failure, of escape, while never becoming monolithic in mood or two-dimensional in invention. Achieving a persistent sense of delicacy amid such profound compositional power is becoming a reliable trait of Jóhannsson's work, and no other composer with a similar ability comes to mind. As for the themes driving the narrative itself, Jóhannsson introduces a broad number of elements not directly related to the ethical, economic and cultural collapse that was Fordlandia, but perhaps more intuitively important to the comprehension of the firsthand experience of unbridled capitalistic hubris and greed - a timely topic indeed. But, to this listener, the narrative remains a secondary issue. If it serves as a necessary foundation or starting point for the way in which Jóhannsson approaches his work, you'll get no argument from me. In the end, the music tells its own moving and memorable tale.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's been said in more detail in other reviews, but.. Aug. 20 2009
By Jeremy Meyers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This album is just insanely gorgeous. Layered, melancholy, slow. Let it wash over you.

Perfect headphone or loud system listening.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melancholic Gorgeosity Dec 2 2011
By A. Thomas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I stumbled across The Sun's Gone Dim And The Sky's Turned Black and, intrigued, decided to look more into the artist, Johann Johannsson. Checking samples, I decided to purchase "Fordlandia."

Having listened to the album several times now, I can say that it's a very moving listening experience. The lush strings paint broad vistas, and the slow tempos and cyclical structures wash over you in bittersweet tonalities that imply the themes of failure, loss, and abandonment inherent to the titular setting. The overall impression is of wandering alone among a vast ruin.

The mood that is created is very precise. If the music were more complex, it would ruin the effect. Johannsson has really struck a perfect balance here. I'd be hard pressed to think of music more appropriate for introspection or winding down. It's simply beautiful.

All that you really need to know is that the experience of listening borders on the transcendent and isn't to be missed. Very highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT ALBUM COMPOSED BY A GREAT MUSICIAN Nov. 30 2011
By Philgood - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I don't know how explain my feelings about this album and more about Johann Johannsson...
I must say: it's a revelation!!!!

On Earth, some people give pleasure and hope to the all mankind... This the case of Johann Johannsson.

Love to all you do

Phil

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