I've been fascinated by Johann Johannsson ever since I traveled to Iceland in 2006. In addition to his work as a musician and "modern classical" composer, he's been an active participant in the country's arts scene. He co-founded Kitchen Motors, an organization known for putting together concerts, art exhibitions, films, albums, books, theater performances and even radio shows. I was excited to have him visit our station.
As I was wrapping up my last hour on The Afternoon Show, my daily radio program at KEXP, I could hear faint strains of strings wafting down the hallway to the air booth. I followed the sounds down to our performance space and found a mini-orchestra of four string players facing two men on laptops. The lights were turned down low, and the computer monitor cast an eerie yet calming glow on Johannsson's face. Together, these musicians mixed electronic and organic sounds into one of the most mesmerizing and transporting in-studio performances we've had the privilege of hosting at KEXP.