Contemporary electronic songwriter and composer Jóhann Jóhannsson passed away at the young age of 48 late last week. The cause of death was not included in the initial report and statement made to his Facebook page, other than he was found in his Berlin apartment. As of Monday, authorities are still investigating what may have caused his ill timed passing.
Jóhannsson was known as a longtime member of the indie/electronic music community starting back in late 1980s. He would go on to eventually earn global recognition thanks to his work on Hollywood films including the 2013 thriller “Prisoners,” the 2014 Stephen Hawking biopic “The Theory of Everything” and more recently the sci-fi blockbuster “Arrival.” His contributions on the latter two earned Jóhannsson Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Grammy nominations. He also planned on creating the musical score for the recent reboot of the “Blade Runner” franchise, but the film’s producers opted to go with composers Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch instead.
Although Jóhannsson was known in the west for his work on Hollywood projects at the time of his death, the veteran musician had been a part of various shoegaze and indie rock bands throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s. He released his debut solo album in 2002 with Englabörn, and would go on to share eight more over the next 14 years. His 2015 collaboration alongside the American Contemporary Music Ensemble, titled “Drone Mass,” would go on to debut at New York’s acclaimed Metropolitan Museum of Art. Footage of the project's premiere can be partially watched in the video above.
“I like to work with people that I find interesting and stimulating artistically,” he said about the 2015 project at the time. “Very early on in my career, I read about John Cage's experience in Harvard's anechoic room, where the only sound you hear in that totally silent chamber is the high-pitched buzz of your nervous system and the low drone of your circulating blood. These words had a significant impact on me—this idea of these two fundamental, ever-present drones.”
An autopsy will be performed to discover what may have caused the death of Jóhannsson at such a young age.