This is the second in Johann's planned trilogy based on technology and picks up where the truly stunning IBM 1401, A User's Manual (released in 2006) left off. A modern classical masterpiece - I find it inconceivable that anyone would give this less than five stars! Sweeping strings, delightful electronic bursts, soaring harmonies that can't but help yank one's emotions all over the place. Anyone lucky enough to see Joahnn's live gig at the Union Chapel in the summer 2008 will know what a building-shaking, emotion-shattering talent this guy is.
When I first listened to this album I thought, oh this is good, this is very good. But on listening to it again and again, it reveals layer after layer of meaning and beauty. You can sit and listen to it all by itself or use it in the background to help you into a creative zone. Brilliant.
Bought this CD by chance while looking for smth in the style of Max Richter,Olafur Arnalds, Arvo Part. Paid attention to all the good reviews by other listeners and can say that this CD is an excellent choice who love the above mentioned authors. The disc is a real masterpiece. Highly recommended.
Johann Johannsson is not afraid of harmony. With 'Fordlandia' we could believe concinnity to be his raison d'etre given its glowing prominence in this truly beautiful work.
It's high concept stuff (ie Henry Ford's unrealised dream of creating a little piece of hometown USA in the Amazonian jungle to produce rubber in the 1920s!) but never anything less than accessible and memorable.
The project follows a programmatic (but non-literal) course subdivided by a series of interludes described as 'melodia' by the composer. Their relationship to the main narrative is ambiguous but thematically coherent.
Traditional orchestral instrumentation and electronic elements are subtely and unobtrusively integrated into the dense fabric of the compositional tapestry.
Opening track 'Fordlandia' gives up its magic slowly in gently rising waves of rich string orchestration. The relatively simple thematic material holds our attention in an almost hypnotic way. It is as though we are lifted up above the subject and borne through the clouds to a point where we can attain the clearest view of the whole. Music of true vision.
The string quartet on 'Fordlandia - Ariel View', with its haunting, ethereal melody, gives us a more intimate experience of what flying might be like if only we had wings.
The pipe organ deployed on the brief but elegaic 'Chimaerica' is gradually undermined by jarring electrical interference. A sense of an ancient world coming under attack from the present.
The use of the choir in 'The Great God Pan Is Dead' is a beautifully realised textural idea.
'Melodia (Guidelines For A Space Propulsion Device Based On Heim's Quantum Theory)' makes use of half-heard internal rhythms which shift in and out of the blissfully sustained orchestral ostinato. The piece builds gradually until it reaches a marvelously uplifting coda.
The concluding segment 'How We Left Fordlandia' is full of melancholy and longing. An achingly sad depiction of the loss of one man's dream vividly reimagined by another.
With 'Fordlandia' Mr Johannsson has created a work of sublime and epic invention.