Johann Johannsson Copenhagen Dreams on LP
Music from the Film by Max Kestner
Composer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Johann Johannsson is one of Iceland's most prolific creative musicians, both as a solo artist and composer, and as part of the Kitchen Motors collective and label, which includes members of Sigur Ros, Mum and Slowblow. Johannsson now presents the soundtrack to Max Kestner's "city symphony," Copenhagen Dreams. The album features music for string quartet, clarinet, celeste, keyboards and electronics and was recorded with some of Johann's favorite Icelandic musicians. The album will be issued on vinyl in a deluxe gatefold sleeve on Johann's own NTOV label, manufactured and distributed by Cobraside.
Copenhagen Dreams is director Max Kestner’s documentary film portrait of Denmark’s capital. It’s a film about the physical surroundings that are part of shaping our lives. About the buildings we wake up in, the front doors we walk out of, the streets we traverse. It is also a film about how the way we live our lives affects our physical surroundings. About the places we dream of and the walls onto which we scratch the names of our loved ones, before it’s too late.
Copenhagen Dreams focuses on the city as a physical entity, quite literally. The people are usually out of focus or on the periphery of the framework that constitutes a central part of the film’s aesthetic. This is to establish that Copenhagen is the main character of the film; the people are just passing bit players whose job it is to draw out the distinctive features of the protagonist.
Music plays a big part in the film. According to Johann: “Max Kestner approached me about writing the music for his documentary about Copenhagen. 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. Kestner’s film shares with those films 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. 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.”
Johann Johannsson Copenhagen Dreams Track Listing:
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. He Hit Her on the Head with "The Wind in the Willows"
11. He Says it's the Future
12. There's No Harm Done
13. They Had to Work it Out Between Them
14. The Song about the Hyacinths
15. It Will Take Some Time
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