IBM 1401, A User’s Manual

Release date 28 September 2006 

Label 4AD

Format CD, Digital


IBM 1401, A User’s Manual

1. Part 1 – IBM 1401 Processing Unit
2. Part 2 – IBM 1403 Printer
3. Part 3 – IBM 1402 Card Read-Punch
4. Part 4 – IBM 729 II Magnetic Tape Unit
5. Part 5 – The Sun’s Gone Dim and the Sky’s Turned Black

Inspired by a recording of an IBM mainframe computer which Jóhann’s father, Jóhann Gunnarsson, made on a reel-to-reel tape machine more than 30 years ago, the piece was originally written to be performed by a string quartet as the accompaniment to a dance piece by the choreographer Erna Ómarsdóttir. For the album version, Jóhann rewrote the entire score, and it was recorded by a sixty-piece string orchestra. He also added a new final section and incorporated electronics alongside those original tape recordings of the singing computer.

The full story of the album can be read at