Here’s some sad news to report from over the weekend as we now have confirmation that Icelandic musician and composer Jóhann Jóhannsson has passed away. He was reportedly found dead in Berlin on Friday although the cause of death was not immediately known. The loss comes at a time when his career as a composer was just starting to take off, having received Oscar nominations for his work on both Sicario and The Theory of Everything (he won a Golden Globe for the latter). He was just 48 years old.
Jóhannsson got his start playing in several indie rock bands in the late ’80s and early ’90s but soon after that he started work as a solo musician, creating a unique sound that combined classical, ambient and experimental music. He began scoring films throughout the 2000s but it was his collaborations with Denis Villeneuve that thrust him into the spotlight, working on such films as Prisoners, Sicario and Arrival. He also wrote music for Blade Runner 2049 although it was eventually dropped in favour of a score by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch.
It feels like Jóhannsson was just starting to come into his own and proving to be one of Hollywood’s most exciting composers, so it is unfortunate that we will not get to see what kind of work he might be doing 10 or 20 years from now. His final scores will be for the Biblical drama Mary Magdalene, James Marsh’s The Mercy and Panos Cosmatos’ Mandy. What are your favourite Jóhann Jóhannsson albums?