Jóhann Jóhannsson - IBM 1401, A User’s Manual - The Reykjavik Grapevine

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Jóhann Jóhannsson – IBM 1401, A User’s Manual


Published December 1, 2006

An album inspired by recordings of electromagnetic waves emitting from an obsolete computer the size of a large refrigerator. Sounds fun? Not really but this actually is a highly enjoyable CD. Originally composed for a string quartet as the soundtrack to a dance piece, this is eerie and haunting symphonic stuff with sounds from the computer sampled. Each of the five tracks slowly builds up to a peak with strings and weird sounds – after all this is built on electromagnetic sounds. The computer plays a big part and its various accessories like the IBM 1403 printer or the IBM 1402 Card Read-Punch. The album is big and powerful and cinematic. It has a remorseful sound, somehow sounding like a eulogy or an homage to an obsolete machine. A great and beautiful piece of modern composition.

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