Jóhann Jóhannsson is an Icelandic composer who released his first album in 2002, which includes pieces for string quartet, piano, percussion and electronics. He’s written and recorded a number of outstanding film scores for movies like Sicario, McCanick, and The Theory of Everything. After seeing Sicario and then obsessing over the score, I discovered more from Jóhannsson, including the album Fordlandia.
The album is thematically influenced by the failure of Henry Ford’s Brazilian rubber plant, Fordlândia. One of the two main threads running through the album is the idea of failed utopia, as represented by the “Fordlândia” title. It represents the story of the rubber plantation Henry Ford established in the Amazon in 1920s, and his dreams of creating an idealized American town in the middle of the jungle complete with white picket fences, hamburgers and alcohol prohibition. The project – started because of the high price Ford had to pay for the rubber necessary for his cars’ tyres – failed, of course, as the indigenous workers soon rioted against the alien conditions they were working in.
I really enjoy the mix of classical instrumentation and electronic sounds that many of the songs on the album feature, but the story behind the inspiration for it was definitely intriguing to me.