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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


Cocteau Twins – Treasure
Treasure was a little earlier, but for me – in some way – they’re all part of the same period. And it was very influential in a different way; again, it’s a band that created a very individual sound and, Liz Fraser’s incredible voice is at its best on that record – I think it’s their masterpiece. I listened to that record over and over again.

The way they combined guitars and electronics in a very organic way – you almost don’t hear them as drum machines, you don’t hear them as synthesisers – they’re very timeless in a way that a lot of music from that period isn’t timeless at all, it’s very much associated with the 80s. Whereas Cocteau Twins you can’t associate with any period; it’s purely timeless music. And a lot of that has to do with the production of Simon Raymonde and Robin Guthrie and the voice of Liz Fraser.

It’s one of the things that made me excited about working with 4AD, too, being on the old Cocteau Twins’ label. Working with the same cover designer as well: it’s one of those fetishistic things you sometimes succumb to, you know?

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