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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


Olivier Messiaen – ‘Le Banquet Celeste’
It’s quite an early work and – again – Messiaen is Messiaen; he has a sound, and there are two or three pieces of his that are particular favourites. ‘Le Banquet Celeste’ is a fairly short one, and a fairly simple one that’s very representative of his style. It refers to the celestial banquet, which is the Holy Communion – when you eat Christ’s flesh and drink his blood – and the dripping of the blood is somehow represented by rhythmic repetitions in the bass notes.

That seems to be one thing uniting this list – a kind of theme of “distinctness”.

Exactly. And Messiaen basically invented a language that didn’t exist before – his way of working with harmony was totally revolutionary.

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