Jóhann Jóhannsson: The Miners’ Hymns (CD, Fat Cat, May 2011)

This is the Icelandic composer’s soundtrack to Bill Morrison’s film about the Durham mining industry, focussing particularly on the pageantry of the annual Big Meeting, a combination of a family day out, a political rally, and a concert for the pit bands. This melting pot theme is echoed by the music, which is a blend of church organs (the slow-building introduction reminds me of Philip Glass’s Koyaanisqatsi), brass bands, and subtle electronics (a grinding noise provides a gentle reminder of the industrial reality of this cultural phenomenon). It is echoes, too, in the mood, which is at once mournful and uplifting — never more so than in the sombrely stirring closing track The Cause Of Labour Is The Hope Of The World, which makes me want to raise my fist in salute while being painfully aware of the futility of the gesture. Fine work.

I bought this from Amazon (it was out of stock on my preferred sites, sorry).

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