I was too sleepy last night to write this.
Fordlandia – Johann Johannsson. I was in the electronica section of a record store a year or so back and saw an album named IBM1401 – A Users Manual. The title hooked me, even though I’m no great fan of the genre.
Imagine my surprise: 1401 is a gentle, beautiful album that hit me the way Glassworks did in the early 80s. Maybe this stuff is just the latest twist on new age pap, but I don’t think so. It fits better with the idea of Kyle Gann’s ‘post classic‘ music and what sounds a little like new age is really just a far north sensibility. (Johannsson is from Iceland.)
Anyway, the operative word for the music is elegiac – it’s the sound of lost worlds: in the case of 1401, it’s the early age of computing (the title refers to a specific IBM mainframe). Fordlandia (the follow up) is a lament for Henry Ford’s epic fail of a plan to build a rubber plantation/new world in Brazil. Unsurprisingly, Johannsson also does film soundtracks.