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ARTIST
TITLE
Englaborn
FORMAT
LP

LABEL
CATALOG #
TO 052LP TO 052LP
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
7/21/2009

Englabörn is the highly-acclaimed first solo album from consummate Icelandic musician, composer and producer Jóhann Jóhannsson, originally released on CD by Touch in 2002, now issued in a gatefold vinyl edition. Derived from music he wrote for an Icelandic play of the same name (written by Hávar Sigurjónsson), the music recorded for this album was revised and restructured to make it stand as a work on its own and not simply function as a collection of cues. Written for string quartet, piano, organ, glockenspiel and percussion, these organic elements were processed and manipulated, adding delicate electronic backgrounds to the otherwise entirely acoustic recordings. "Odi Et Amo" casts Catullus' famous poem as a computerized counter-tenor vocal singing a Latin text. Set for the final scene in the play, the text fit the melody perfectly and was also thematically perfect for the play. Says Jóhannsson, "What I really like about it is the harsh contrast of the computer voice and the strings, the alchemy of total opposites, the sewing machine and umbrella on a dissecting table." What is achieved here is spine-tingling -- a sense of cold detachment set against powerful melancholy and gorgeous, emotional instrumentation. Jóhannsson continues: "The play is extremely violent and disturbing and basically when faced with the script, I decided to work against it as much as possible and just try to write the most beautiful music I could." Even outside the context of theater, Englabörn is a stunning achievement, taking compositional leitmotifs and sparse, non-intrusive, well-chosen electronics to paint dramatic, ice-rimmed scenes and portraits that could just as easily be invoked from the theater of the imagination.