Jóhann Jóhannsson Returns with 'Copenhagen Dreams'

Jóhann Jóhannsson Returns with 'Copenhagen Dreams'
Neoclassical composer Jóhann Jóhannsson has always released music that sounds like it belongs in a film. In fact, more recently, his albums have been actual movie soundtracks. Following last year's excellent release The Miner's Hymns, the Iceland-born artist will be giving a wide release to his soundtrack for the film Copenhagen Dreams.

The soundtrack was released on a limited run of gatefold vinyl earlier this month via Jóhannsson's own NTOV imprint and will now receive a wide digital release on July 31.

The album features a string quartet, clarinet, celeste, keyboards, drums and various electronics. Alongside Jóhannsson are his frequent touring string players Una Sveinbjarnardottir and Hrafnkell Egilsson, Sigur Rós collaborator Ólafur Björn Ólafsson, and múm/Throbbing Gristle collaborator Hildur Gudnadottir.

Copenhagen Dreams is an abstract documentary about the Denmark capital from director Max Kestner, looking at the many physical elements of the city and treating it like the protagonist of a film.


 In a press release, Jóhannsson explained how he approached the soundtrack with the following statement:

The tone of Kestner's film constantly shifts from the mundane to the lyrical, from the technocratic jargon of architects to the everyday banter of commuters and coffee house guests, from dry factual inventories to poetic meditations. I tried to reflect this in the music and to make the music the poetic voice of the city, so the music becomes a character of its own which binds the various levels of the film together. For me the project echoed the silent "city symphonies," like Ruttman's Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt, Vigo's A Propos De Nice, or Vertov's Man With a Movie Camera. Like those films it shares a desire to capture the spirit, uniqueness, and poetry of a city by assembling images of everyday life in that city. It is documentary in the poetic mode and I tried to capture this mode in the music.

Album track "Here, They Used to Build Ships" can be streamed below.

Copenhagen Dreams:

1. Eleven Thousand Six Hundred and Sixty-Nine Died of Natural Causes
2. They Leave Everything Behind
3. They Fed the Sparrows Leftovers and Offered Grass to Scherfig's Turtle
4. An Eiffel Tower by the Lakes
5. Three Thousand Five Hundred and Ninety One Benches
6. The Jewish Cemetery on Møllegade
7. They Dream They´ll Get There
8. A Memorial Garden on Enghavevej
9. A Six-Lane Highway
10. It Will Take Some Time
11. He Hit Her on the Head with "The Wind in the Willows"
12. He Says it´s the Future
13. The Song about the Hyacinths
14. There's No Harm Done
15. They Had to Work it Out Between Them
16. She Loves to Ride the Port Ferry When it Rains
17. A French School on Værnedamsvej
18. Here, They Used to Build Ships
19. They Imagine the City Growing out Into the Ocean