Ahead of his tour of Europe, Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson has released a new video for the track ‘Song For Europa’, from his recently released LP, Orphée. He also goes on tour on 1 December, finishing with a date at London’s Barbican on 9 December.
Jóhannssan features in the forthcoming issue of Jocks & Nerds, also out on 1 December, in which he describes his music as “calm, slow, quiet, but [it] has an underlying sense of tension and melancholy.” The visuals that accompany ‘Song For Europa’ prove that that description serves not only his sound, but his aesthetic as a whole.
The monochromatic visuals of a radio tower, slowly beaming a signal across a bleak Cold War landscape, are backed by the haunting track. The video is a sample of the atmosphere to be expected at the genre defying composer’s live shows. Visual artists Stuart Bailes and Máni Sigfússon have respectively created a bespoke light design and visual projection especially for the tour.
Jóhannsson began to write music for films and theatre productions in 1995 and it was only in 2002 that he began recording his own music. According to the artist, “It took a long time to develop a sound as a composer […] it was a product of accumulating influences.”
Jóhannsson grew up in Reykjavik’s “small, supportive and collaborative” music scene, where he formed a band, the Kitchen Motors collective, with a mixed bag of artists who differed in their musical background, but shared similar sensibilities. The trio created a range of unconventional musical combinations, with an anything goes attitude.
He has since written the scores for a number of television shows and films, including Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival and upcoming Blade Runner sequel, as well as The Theory of Everything, for which he was nominated for an Oscar.