Film Composer Johann Johannsson's 'Kinetic, Action-Oriented' Track From 'Arrival': Exclusive Premiere

Billboard

With major motion picture soundtracks like The Theory of Everything under his belt, Academy Award-nominated composer Johann Johannsson is back with "Heptapod B," a song from his next film project. The song will be featured in the new sci-fi movie Arrival, starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, and it's premiering exclusively on Billboard.

"'Heptapod B' is featured in a montage sequence which demonstrates the various methods that Louise [Adams] and Ian [Renner] use to decipher the aliens' language," Johannsson tells Billboard. "It's one of the first pieces I wrote for the film, and it kind of defined the sound of the more kinetic, action-oriented parts of the score."

Johannsson worked with several singers and vocal ensembles and combined both classical and avant-garde elements in the composition, augmenting his already unique approach of combining orchestral writing with digital sound processing. By adding vocal ensemble Theatre of Voices, led by Paul Hiller, Johannsson used vocals as an instrument rather than the central 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," Johannsson said. "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."

Listen to "Heptapod B" below.


Arrival and its soundtrack will be released Friday. To pre-order the soundtrack, click here.