Jóhann Jóhannsson to reissue IBM 1401, A User’s Manual on vinyl for the first time

Jóhann Jóhannsson to reissue IBM 1401, A User's Manual on vinyl for the first time
These discs are floppy AF.

Back in the fantasyland of 2006, before Jóhann Jóhannsson became the big shot composer internationally lauded for scoring such films as Sicario, Arrival, and (almost) Blade Runner 2049; he released IBM 1401, A User’s Manual, his fourth full-length album and the closest thing to confirmation that computers have souls…souls which respond ecstatically to the loving insertion of peripherals.

The quick-start guide version of the album’s inception and illustrious backstory goes like this: Jóhannsson’s father recorded the sounds of an IBM mainframe computer more than 30 years prior to the album’s release in 2006. That recording (made on reel-to-reel tape) inspired the younger Jóhann to compose a more elaborate piece as an homage to that obsolete technology, and the music that’s principally heard on the album was performed by a sixty-piece string orchestra obviously commissioned for the job. They all <3 computers, too!

Bottom line: eleven years later, the album (possibly along with Fordlândia) still stands as one of the most career-propelling works in the Icelandic phenom’s oeuvre. And now, guess what? 4AD is paying its own homage to what we totally thought was an obsolete and nerdy (though it may still be nerdy) technology by reissuing IBM 1401, A User’s Manual on vinyl for the first time ever! But that’s not all: this brand new, sexily obsolete vinyl version — due December 8 — also includes two live tracks performed by City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, who also performed the studio versions.

Reboot your memory by revisiting the album’s first track down below. And here’s where you can click to pre-order on your fancy microchip machine. (Power down and restart if it’s not working.)


IBM 1401, A Vinyl Edition Tracklisting:

A1. Part 1 / IBM 1401 Processing
A2. Part 2 / IBM 1403 Printer
B1. Part 3 / IBM 1402 Card Read-Punch
B2. Part 4 / IBM 729 II Magnetic Tape Unit
C1. Part 5 / The Sun’s Gone Dim and the Sky’s Turned Black
D1. Part 1 / IBM 1401 Processing Unit (Live with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra)
D2. Part 5 / The Sun’s Gone Dim and the Sky’s Turned Black (Live with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra)

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