Johann Johannsson - IBM 1401: A User's Manual (2xLP - Clear Vinyl)


2017 reissue, embossed jacket and gatefold packaging

Icelandic composer, Jóhann Jóhannsson's first two solo records - Englabörn (2002) and Virthulegu Forsetar (2004) – were released by the singular British independent label, Touch. Despite limited promotional resources, both found plenty of receptive ears, receiving glowing reviews in music media around the world. Indeed, Virthulegu Forsetar found its way onto many critics' end-of-year lists. While working on these albums, Jóhann was collaborating with the dancer and choreographer Erna Omarsdottir for several years, performing a dance piece called IBM 1401, A User's Manual in more than forty cities around Europe.

When Jóhann signed to 4AD in 2005, he immediately set about reworking this music. Originally written for string quartet, organ and electronics, IBM 1401, A User's Manual (2006) was far more expansive in its recorded incarnation. A sixty-piece string orchestra was recorded at Prague's legendary Barrandov sound stage, and the four original movements were joined by a completely new finale. The final mix, which incorporates electronics and vintage reel-to-reel recordings of an IBM 1401 mainframe computer and its accompanying instruction manual, took place in Reykjavik at the beginning of 2006.

Following IBM 1401, A User's Manual, the November 2008 release of Fordlândia was the second in a proposed trilogy based on technology and iconic American brand names. Whereas IBM 1401, A User's Manual was a personal response to technology and its inevitable obsolescence, Fordlândia springs out of a far more diffuse set of influences. It brings together the soaring grandeur of its predecessor and the plangent intimacy of Englabörn, moving between heady, melting cadences and crystalline motifs with gorgeous, dreamlike logic.

After the success of IBM 1401, A User's Manual, Jóhann's collaboration with the internationally renowned choreographer and dancer Erna Omarsdottir continued in 2005 with a new piece entitled Mysteries Of Love. Meanwhile, Jóhann was also producing and writing music with other artists, working with Marc Almond (on the Stranger Things album), Barry Adamson, Pan Sonic, The Hafler Trio, Jaki Liebezeit, Laetitia Sadier and many others. Alongside all of this music making, Jóhann is a founder member of the Icelandic label / think tank / art collective Kitchen Motors, which specialises in instigating collaborations and art projects across diverse artforms.

Part 1: IBM 1401 Processing Unit

Part 2: IBM 1403 Printer

Part 3: IBM 1402 Card Read-Punch

Part 4: IBM 729 II Magnetic Tape Unit

Part 5: The Sun's Gone Dim And The Sky's Turned Black

Part 1: IBM 1401 Processing Unit (Live)

Part 5: The Sun's Gone Dim And The Sky's Turned Black (Live)

Important information when ordering with Fatbeats.com

Order Processing Time

Online orders are processed within *3-4 business days or *7-9 business days depending on availability.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, our shipping and processing times have been extended. Please note, we are still shipping and attending to customer service inquiries as per usual. Delays in supply chain, shorter fulfillment schedules, as well as extended processing from USPS have forced these delays for the time being. Thank you for your patience and business as we navigate these difficult times!

Order processing time is separate from shipping time requested. 


We try and offer as many upcoming projects available for pre-order when the releases have moved into production. However, due to the nature of manufacturing and production, pre-order dates may change. If your pre-ordered items are holding your package from arriving please email us with a request to ship the in-stock items and pre-orders when they become available. 

If your order contains pre-order items we will hold the package until all titles are available to ship. Please specify in the comments section of the checkout if you would like to:  a) hold your entire order until it can be entirely fulfilled or, b) have the in-stock items shipped immediately and the pre-ordered items ship when available. Please note that option B may require additional shipping charges as multiple packages will be shipped.

Out of Stock Items

Our stock rapidly changes and we try and set in place a system that avoids purchasing items that become out of stock. However, if a product ordered is out of stock or on back-order, we will reach out and give you the chance to change or cancel your order. If you choose to cancel, you will be refunded in full.

Return Policy

All sales are final. However, if the item ordered is different from the item you receive, please contact us and we can arrange to get you the desired product.