Odi Et Amo-Bis (Johannson/Donadello rework) (2:55)
...Eins Og Venjulegt Folk (Paul Corley rework) (3:28)
Odi Et Amo (Theatre Of Voices version) (6:25)
Review: Icelandic neo-classical producer Johan Johansson could not be considered anything less than a pioneer and a driving force behind the contemporary ambient movement. Although his music is grounded in non-electronic instrumentation, he has allowed the analogue and digital world to gel more freely, giving inspiration to other like-mined artists. Thanks to releases for powerhouses such as Touch or 4AD, he has constantly grown and evolved, but it's this call-up to Germany's enedlessly respected Deutsche Grammophon which truly instils the sense that he is a master of his own art. Englaborn & Variations is a long and meaningful story, constructed with precision and vision, with the sounds of classical strings taking it from bleepy drone to an orchestral symphony of tonalities. An important record.
Review: The late Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson's second studio album from 2004 is one ambient-influenced classical piece that makes use of the same phrase throughout but, for technical reasons, is divided into four parts. It features a host of musical instruments, from tubas, horns, organs and trumpets to glockenspiel and bass. It's a masterpiece in minimalism and repetition, of non-linear music that traps you in the here and now, and it is a beautiful place to be when you listen to the whole album in one immersive sitting.
Review: While he was already building an impressive reputation for his distinctively atmospheric take on modern classical, it was arguably 2006's Songs From Before full-length that really put Max Richter on the map. A decade on, that set - his third, for the record - is being given the reissue treatment. Widely praised at the time, it was Richter's first to feature a narrator, in this case the distinctive tones of progressive rock legend Robert Wyatt. His readings seemingly float above Richter's superb piano, and the subtle accompaniment of a string quartet. Richter has always shown a light touch, and it's this trait that makes Songs From Before such a beguiling listen.
On The Nature Of Daylight (orchestral version) (6:35)
Vladimir's Blues 2018 (1:28)
On The Nature Of Daylight (Entropy) (6:51)
Vladimir's Blues (Jlin remix) (3:45)
Inconography (Konx Om-Pam remix) (3:59)
Review: As this expansive reissue proves, Max Richter's 2004 album The Blue Notebooks remains one of the greatest neo-classical works of recent decades. The album was famously inspired by the 2003 US invasion of Iraq and featured narration from actress Tilda Swinton. Such was the record's impact, in fact, that numerous pieces subsequently appeared on a variety of high profile movie soundtracks. To celebrate the work's 15th birthday, Richter has bundled the album with a second disc of largely unheard material. This includes a couple of intriguing remixes by Jlin and Konx-Om-Pax, two archive tracks produced during the album sessions, and a handful of new recordings of key instrumentals. These are all excellent, of course, but still pale in comparison to the inspired original album.