Ring ring, ring ring... Hello? Iceland calling...
What’s it like over in Reykjavik? Well, judging by Jóhann Jóhannsson’s latest single - the first to be taken from his new IBM 1401, A User’s Manual album - it’s peaceful, serene and clean. There is a strong, haunting yet melodic sound here that’s similar to any Sigur Rós song - it’s a far cry from any spurning metropolis. Okay, there’s a bit of technology here, and that’s why the vocals on this song sound like they’ve been put through a vocoder, Schneider TM style. But then there’s soothing, light, atmospheric strings in the background that eventually move to the foreground and take over the scene. Along with this change in atmosphere are minimal speckles of electronic warbling.
The second song provided with the single is_ ‘Passacaglia’_: it’s an exclusive track, it has a string quartet but it’s vocal free. It’s picked from the same ornate antique box as the first. In fact, both songs are like listening to your dad’s classical music collection and discovering that, actually, what he’s been listening to all these years is not so bad.
But: it’s not exciting, it’s not going to hellraise any roofs or power a life-changing night out. If anything, it’s going to provide a calming sound track to a walk in the park on a Sunday morning. Dog optional.