"Johann Johannsson is an Icelandic composer. His stately, slow-building and hauntingly melodic music has been quietly bewitching listeners for the last few years - and IBM 1401, A User’s Manual, his most ambitiously-orchestrated and appealing composition to date, is sure to expand his audience still further. Johann Johannsson’s first two solo records - Englaborn (2002) and Virthulegu Forsetar (2004) – were released by the singular British independent Touch label. Despite limited promotional resources, both found plenty of fans, receiving glowing reviews in music media around the world; Virthulegu Forsetar found its way onto many critics’ end-of-year lists. The Englaborn album was derived from music that Johann wrote for an Icelandic play of the same name, written for string quartet, piano, organ, glockenspiel and percussion. These elements were processed and manipulated, adding delicate electronic accents to the otherwise entirely acoustic recordings. One song, "Odi et Amo", is a setting of the famous poem by Catullus. “This first solo album from Johann Johannsson is absolutely beautiful, and it has only become more so over the past few months, sustaining me for long periods of time when other music just wouldn't do the trick.” Pitchfork Media [Andy Beta] "Johannsson's score is a set of 16 delicate miniatures, whose variations are amazingly complex despite their simple, descending melodies (…) Its precise use of metaphor, its exceptional balance (digital/analogue, harsh/soft, violent/tender etc.) and its expressive leitmotifs unveil a profound sadness without ever wallowing in pathos." The Wire [Jim Haynes] Johann’s second album for Touch, Virthulegu Forsetar was one hour-long piece for 11 brass players, percussion, electronics, organs and piano. The piece had its live debut in Hallgrimskirkja, a large church in Reykjavik which is also the tallest building in Iceland; the performance was named "the most memorable musical event of 2003" in Iceland's leading newspaper. Virthulegu Forsetar shares Englaborn's quiet, elegiac beauty, but replaces the brevity of the first album's exquisite miniatures with a extended sweep of sound that reveals a long, slow process of evolution. “It´s hard to classify this beautiful album by Icelandic composer Johannsson. On this, his second album, he employs an orchestra of 11 brass players, glockenspiel, piano and organ, with added bells and electronics; so it lies somewhere between classical, ambient music and experimental soundtrack.” The Observer [Kitty Empire] “Virthulegu Forsetar's reflexive musical and temporal entropy, both a degenerative and regenerative impulse, achieves an astonishing visceral force and urgency : Johannsson's genius is to infuse his very postmodern music with a rare expressive intensity. Sublime.” Irish Times [Jocelyn Clarke] Johann has been collaborating with the dancer and choreographer Erna Omarsdottir for several years; together they have performed a dance piece called IBM 1401, A User’s Manual in more than 40 cities around Europe. When Johann signed to 4AD in 2005, he immediately set about reworking this music; originally written for string quartet, organ and electronics, IBM 1401, A User’s Manual is much more expansive in its new incarnation. A 60 piece string orchestra was recorded at Prague’s legendary Smecky Studio and the four original movements were joined by a completely new finale. The final mix, which incorporates electronics and vintage reel-to-reel recordings of an IBM 1401 mainframe computer, took place in Reykjavik at the beginning of 2006."