The melancholia of Jóhann Jóhannsson: Life, legacy and THAT Oscar snub

Ayaan Paul
Ayaan PaulSep 19, 2022 | 18:12

The melancholia of Jóhann Jóhannsson: Life, legacy and THAT Oscar snub

On his 52nd birth anniversary, here's a look at the late Icelandic composer’s musical career and that one, brutal Oscar snub that haunts fans to this day.

Jóhann Jóhannsson was an Icelandic composer who wrote music for film, television, theatre and dance. He was best known for his frequent collaborations with director Denis Villeneuve, crafting the original music for many of his films.


Jóhannsson died at the age of 48 in Berlin, Germany in February 2018 due to an accidental overdose on his medication and cocaine.

Here is a retrospective on the life and legacy of the late composer:

Jóhannsson's craft was unmatched, forever transforming the neo-classical musical scene in Europe. His music has resonated and influenced many artists and composers to come and shall continue doing so for years to come.

"When we made music, we did not have any sort of verbal dialogue. We would meet in this magical place, and music would unfold. We raised each other. We grew together. We shared the darkest of times and the brightest of times. We were musical soulmates. We were best friends. We drove each other crazy. We picked each other up. We pushed each other forward."
- Hildur Guonadottir on Jóhannsson in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter

The melancholic textures of his aural landscapes are penetrating, visceral and capable of encapsulating an emotional equivalent like none other. 

His music always had the uncanny quality of ascribing meaning to a cacophony of noises; blending together sounds in unlikely combinations, creating order from chaos. 

Admirers of his work often jest that with every passing project, Jóhannsson perfected the craft of composing an elegy fit for his own passing. Over time, his music steadily metamorphosed into something evocative, something that stayed with you.

For Jóhannsson may have passed, but his symphonies shall continue to haunt us in the best of ways, forever.

Here are a few of our favourite tracks of the late composer. 

Last updated: September 19, 2022 | 18:12
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