Jóhann Jóhannsson’s latest score for Denis Villeneuve’s thriller “Arrival” takes listeners to another world. The Academy Award-nominated composer blended both classical and avant-garde elements to accompany the story of an alien invasion. The soundtrack was released by Deutsche Grammophon on Friday, November 11 and you can listen to it below.
Starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, the drama is set in the aftermath of an alien invasion after the government brings in an esteemed linguist, Louise Banks (Adams), to attempt to decipher their language and figure out their intent on Earth.
To compose the music, Jóhannsson worked with several singers and vocal ensembles, including Theatre of Voices, conducted by Paul Hillier, and other artists including Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe and Hildur Guðnadóttir. The album also includes the track “On the Nature of Daylight” by Max Richter (not included in the playlist below), which is featured at the beginning and end of the movie.
According to Billboard, the Icelandic composer used vocals as an instrument rather than the main focus of a song. “It seemed appropriate to use the voice as a lead instrument in a film that is primarily about language and communication,” Jóhannsson explained. “The singers all sing mostly vowels with no inherent meaning, but it sounds almost like a language that is in a stage of slowly forming.”
Jóhannsson is best known for his Academy Award-nominated scores for “The Theory of Everything” and Sicario,” as well as “Prisoners.” His music will also be featured in the upcoming James Marsh drama “The Mercy” and will once again work with Villeneuve on the “Blade Runner” sequel.
“Arrival” is now in theaters. Listen to the complete soundtrack below.