Johann Johannsson - The Miners' Hymns
Ambient, Soundtrack This one's just not holding my interest, even though I've seen him live and was utterly enthralled. I've been debating how to approach this new album and it basically is best viewed as unfinished. This new film score sounds unfinished. Over the years, Johannsson has consistently delivered thoroughly uncompromising work so it's not so surprising that he misfires somewhat on 'The Miners' Hymns'. It isn't even dull or lacking in creativity, Johann simply didn't spend enough time on his latest. I know I heard some of these tracks when he played live last year, they sounded very different to what is on this compact disc. Ah well, I always have his vast back catalog to fall back on, his previous film score 'And in the Endless Pause There Came the Sound of Bees' fascinated my senses. Don't expect to see many reviews of this new one as it crept out very slyly, with the only notice of it's existence being delivered via his website. There are some arrangements which could have been riveting and who knows, he may come back and finish what has been begun on 'The Miners' Hymns' but until that happens it is what it is.

There is an oft-used phrase which sums up this release perfectly: great art is never finished, only abandoned. In much the same way you can look anywhere in the US and find skeletal steel remains of industrial expansion which fueled the ill-fated housing boom , so Johann's newest is left to hang uneasily in the swaying winds of opinionated personal tastes. Oh what this could have been, it's similar to the disillusionment I felt when I learned of Frank Tovey's death while he was recording a new Fad Gadget album. The potential lost, the chance for further exploration smothered. I will continue to listen to this collection of hymns and it may expand with further exposure but as it stands, this is a claustrophobic exercise in borderline tinnitus.
3
Brutal Resonance

Johann Johannsson - The Miners' Hymns

6.0
"Alright"
Spotify
Released 2011 by 130701
This one's just not holding my interest, even though I've seen him live and was utterly enthralled. I've been debating how to approach this new album and it basically is best viewed as unfinished. This new film score sounds unfinished. Over the years, Johannsson has consistently delivered thoroughly uncompromising work so it's not so surprising that he misfires somewhat on 'The Miners' Hymns'. It isn't even dull or lacking in creativity, Johann simply didn't spend enough time on his latest. I know I heard some of these tracks when he played live last year, they sounded very different to what is on this compact disc. Ah well, I always have his vast back catalog to fall back on, his previous film score 'And in the Endless Pause There Came the Sound of Bees' fascinated my senses. Don't expect to see many reviews of this new one as it crept out very slyly, with the only notice of it's existence being delivered via his website. There are some arrangements which could have been riveting and who knows, he may come back and finish what has been begun on 'The Miners' Hymns' but until that happens it is what it is.

There is an oft-used phrase which sums up this release perfectly: great art is never finished, only abandoned. In much the same way you can look anywhere in the US and find skeletal steel remains of industrial expansion which fueled the ill-fated housing boom , so Johann's newest is left to hang uneasily in the swaying winds of opinionated personal tastes. Oh what this could have been, it's similar to the disillusionment I felt when I learned of Frank Tovey's death while he was recording a new Fad Gadget album. The potential lost, the chance for further exploration smothered. I will continue to listen to this collection of hymns and it may expand with further exposure but as it stands, this is a claustrophobic exercise in borderline tinnitus.
Jul 05 2011

Peter Marks

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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