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Jˇhannsson, Jˇhann: Fordlandia

Jˇhannsson has emerged as a leading voice in new classical work. His remarkable Virdulegu forsetar set about establishing new form capable of reconciling orchestral and electronic constructs. Fordlandia follows the equally stunning ibm 1401, a user's manual, as the second installment in Jˇhannsson's proposed trilogy of technocratic and autocratic American business icons ľ a fact that lets one ponder the good and generally bad impacts of technology on culture as both Henry Ford's Fordlandia rubber plantation and the mass production of the internal combustion engine ably demonstrate. Running contrary to the mastering trend of MAXIMUM VOLUME AT ALL TIMES, Jˇhannsson's final mix and presentation is careful to preserve dynamic range, with many passages seemingly seeking the absolute lower threshold of hearing, not unlike Tavener's The Last Sleep of the Virgin about which the composer urged listeners to "play at a barely audible level". With an invocation from Browning ("and, that dismal cry rose slowly and sank slowly...") the music of Fordlandia is again elegiac, and beautiful in its sustained, shifting and detailed articulations of mourning, of failure, of escape, while never becoming monolithic in mood or two-dimensional in invention. Achieving a persistent sense of delicacy amid such profound compositional power is becoming a reliable trait of Jˇhannsson's work, and no other composer with a similar ability comes to mind. As for the themes driving the narrative itself, Jˇhannsson introduces a broad number of elements not directly related to the ethical, economic and cultural collapse that was Fordlandia, but perhaps more intuitively important to the comprehension of the firsthand experience of unbridled capitalistic hubris and greed ľ a timely topic indeed. But, to this listener, the narrative remains a secondary issue. If it serves as a necessary foundation or starting point for the way in which Jˇhannsson approaches his work, you'll get no argument from me. In the end, the music tells its own moving and memorable tale.

Track Listing
1. FordlÔndia 13:42
2. Melodia (I) 1:56
3. The Rocket Builder (Io Pan!) 6:24
4. Melodia (II) 1:48
5. FordlÔndia - Aerial View 4:32
6. Melodia (III) 3:12
7. Chimaerica 3:22
8. Melodia (IV) 2:45
9. The Great God Pan is Dead 4:55
10. Melodia (Guidelines for a Space Propulsion Device based on Heim's Quantum Theory) 9:03
11. How We Left FordlÔndia 15:24

Added: January 2nd 2009
Reviewer: Kerry Leimer
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 1496
Language: english

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