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IBM 1401, a User´s Manual
Jóhann Jóhannsson

Jóhann Jóhannsson is an Icelandic musician, composer, producer and an active member of the country’s artistic community (as the founder of the Kitchen Motors label / think tank / art collective, founder member of Apparat Organ Quartet and also as a serial collaborator).

Jóhann’s stately and hauntingly melodic music has been quietly bewitching listeners for some time and his new album, IBM 1401, A User’s Manual - his most ambitiously-orchestrated composition to date – is sure to expand his audience still further.

Inspired by a recording of an IBM mainframe computer which Jóhann’s father, Jóhann Gunnarsson, made on a reel-to-reel tape machine more than 30 years ago, the piece was originally written to be performed by a string quartet as the accompaniment to a dance piece by the choreographer Erna Ómarsdóttir. For the album version, Jóhann rewrote the entire score, and it was recorded by a sixty-piece string orchestra. He also added a new final section and incorporated electronics alongside those original tape recordings of the singing computer.

Read Jóhann Jóhannsson's full text for IBM 1401, A User's Manual

Released via 4AD on
30th UK / 24th US
October 2006

Available on CD [CAD 2609CD] and digital download [EAD 2609A]. MP3 samples and full release details can be found in the credits / downloads section. Buy online at

The album is preceded on 9th October by a single. Alongside “The Sun’s Gone Dim And The Sky’s Turned Black”, is an exclusive track called “Passacaglia”, which is an early version of the finale, performed by string quartet. Buy online at

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