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- The Miners' Hymns by Johann Johannsson
8/10 Phil Staff review, 20 May 2011
I picked this up and misread it as 'The Miners' Wives' and I thought ey up Johannsson.... what you been up to! Anyway so I don't sound like an ignorant fool (or anymore of one) I'll briefly explain the premise of this. I do feel these days half of things I write about the concept seems to carry more weight than the music but that's a different story. Anyhoo this is the soundtrack to an upcoming film released by the BFI by Bill Morrison which pays homage to the history of coal mining throughout North East England. Johann was asked to score (mine's a Henry :)) and the album was recorded in Durham cathedral with a 16 piece brass ensemble, church organ and electronics. So that's all the vitals over. Musically the album is very atmospheric and cinematic sounding. As ever with an audio soundtrack you're only getting half the story as there's no visuals but I can imagine the sparseness and emotiveness of the music working well with the film. Very well in fact. It's very epic in scale but with that many musicians involved it would be. There are moments of 'Brassed Off' in there but if you can get passed those you're laughing. The church organ is what makes this for me and though I'm no churchgoer it does make me wanna go and hang around churches for a bit and check out some giant organs.
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