Friday, June 18, 2010

Album Review: Jóhann Jóhannson – And In The Endless Pause There Came The Sound of Bees

Jóhann Jóhannson is an Icelandic composer who has just popped up on my radar. This album is a soundtrack to a Marc Craste animated film which came out last year, but has just become available more widely.

Most of the pieces start with piano, but are joined by strings, and in the main is quite uplifting. There are some ambient sounds added in here and there (birds, thunder) but quite low in the mix, which is a nice touch. Other tracks feature skyscrapingly high otherworldly choirs. As far as reference points go, it’s vaguely reminiscent of Arvo Part, though the strings are far more dramatic. Some of the pieces are a little under-realised, and finish just when they are getting going, but at the same time the short duration time makes them more digestible.

It’s quite chilled out in places (The Flat, Pods, Dying City), these pieces sounding almost Eno-like. Like a lot of soundtracks, similar musical themes crop up over the course of the soundtrack which makes it a cohesive listen.

A brooding, church-like organ permeates Siren Song, giving it a pleasingly foreboding atmosphere.

The album is definitely worth your time, at only 36 minutes it’s quite digestible and is both uplifting and serene. Check it out if you like Peter Broderick’s classical diversion, or even Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’ soundtrack to The Road (especially on Escape).