Icelandic composer Johan Johannssen has created a touching ode to both his father and one of the century's first personal computers. Johanssen's father was the chief mantenence engineer for the IBM 1401 Data Processing System. The album is a composite of an audio tape made by Johannssen's father reading the usuer's manual for the system, recordings of electronic emissions from the machine and a sixty-piece string ensemble. The electronic emissions were reportedly figured out by Johanssen's father, and involved using the machine's electromagnetic emissions to manipulate a radio receiver. Johannssen collaborated with choreographer Erna Ómarsdóttir who created movements to accompany the piece. The end result is a lot more organic than it can possibly sound here. The orchestration is lush and emotional and nicely counterbalanced by touches of electronics and voice that float in and out of earshot. Feelings of man vs. machine fade into man commiserating with machine; the fate of becoming obsolete an all too realistic fate for both of them. Johannssen has created a stirring tribute to the passage of time, the idea of mortality in both organic and non organic entities and history as it is remembered by those who take the time to document it.
[MP3] Johann Johannssen -Part 4 - IBM 729 II Magnetic Tape Unit