On Wednesday 19 September, in Brussels’ Church of Saint John the Baptist at the Béguinage, AB paid tribute to Jóhann Jóhannsson, the acclaimed Icelandic (film) composer who passed away unexpectedly early this year. It was a unique evening. One which AB, and many of those close to Jóhannsson, worked on with much regard for the artist’s work. The concert was led by Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie, a close friend of the composer.
“I am forever being asked to relate some sort of emotional resolution about JJ—almost always bittersweet. I remember this one time back on the Fordlandia tour, we were in Pittsburgh playing the Warhol Museum, and after soundcheck we were lucky enough to be perusing the gallery after closing hours and he made a reference to an old quote by Mr. Waits, something to the extent of "shite art is destroying the quality of our suffering."
This is something he always took very seriously, giving the world the essential soundtrack for suffering. This is also why I wanted to put on this particular concert for his 49th birthday. (Impossible without the love and support of L’Ancienne Belgique, a longtime supporter of JJ’s concerts over the years in Belgium.)
"Virthulegu Forestar" was one of his first recordings released. Beautiful minimalism—primitive yet effective. It had only been performed in Reykjavik and Oslo, but the last time was over 15 years ago. Mainly because of the expense of the production; JJ never cut corners when it came to his art, luckily for the rest of us….”