Stories » Johann Johannsson gets biblical in this exclusive video premiere / AV CLUB

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Johann Johannsson gets biblical in this exclusive video premiere / AV CLUB

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Icelandic artist Jóhann Jóhannsson has already had a prolific, successful career composing both his own solo works of delicate orchestration and decaying electronic drones, and the acclaimed scores for movies like The Theory Of Everything and Sicario. But this year promises to be his busiest-and most high-profile-yet: Not only was he recently tapped to follow in Vangelis' estimable footsteps on the Blade Runner sequel for frequent collaborator Denis Villeneuve, the coming months will also see the debuts of his scores for the Villeneuve-directed Arrival, So Yong Kim's Lovesong, and the Rachel Weisz drama The Mercy. And amid all that, Johansson is releasing his first album in six years, Orphée, on the venerable classical label Deutsch Grammophon.

In this exclusive video premiere for "By The Roes, And By The Hinds Of The Field"-one of Orphée's more quietly gorgeous tracks-you get a tidy summation of what the album (and Jóhannson) is about. Its simple, somber piano melody is backed by cyclical waves of strings, then nearly drowned out by a sudden cloudburst of distorted radio static, before emerging steadfastly on the other side, echoing what Jóhannsson says is the album's theme of death and rebirth inspired by the classic myth of Orpheus. It's beautiful, but also kinda creepy-a feeling reinforced by the video's images of ghostly, wild animals wandering through an eerily abandoned house.