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Baker's Dozen

A Kind Of Visceral Quality: Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Favourite Records
Karl Smith , October 27th, 2016 10:38

With the imminent release of his score for Arrival, the latest in a now thriving partnership with Denis Villeneuve that will see him take on Blade Runner next year, the Icelandic composer shows traditional reluctance in crafting a list of defining albums and opts instead of 13 works that exemplify a philosophy of minimal gestures with maximum impact

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Pan Sonic - Kulma
You can draw a lot of parallels between Pan Sonic and Kraftwerk, I think, except obviously Pan Sonic are a lot less melodic. I think I chose them because what I really admire in Pan Sonic – I’ve worked with them and learned a lot about how they work – is their minimalism and the sparseness of their sound. In a similar way to the Shostakovich string quartet, they’ve used very simple themes or elements to create something which has a very strong effect on the listener.

And live, obviously, they’re quite something – they’re much more visceral and much more of a physical experience live. I could include Swans in a similar category: a band that uses simple ideas in an extremely powerful way. I don’t know if you ever saw Pan Sonic in their heyday but it was quite something. I think I’m still processing the influences of the electronic music of that time, and I go back to Pan Sonic again and again: absolute masterpieces of electronic music that were just not equaled.

Small gestures with maximum impact.

Exactly.


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