The Music of the Spheres: On Jóhann Jóhannsson's "Last and First Men"

Episode 142 · March 15th, 2023 · 1 hr 21 mins

About this Episode

Jóhann Jóhannsson was one of contemporary cinema's greatest score composers when he passed away in 2018 at the young age of 48. Last and First Men, his enigmatic directorial debut, was released shortly after in 2020. Based on a novel by the same name by the British science fiction writer Olaf Stapleton, the film offers a sustained meditation on the prospect of extinction, the eventuality of humanity's disappearance from the comos. In this episode, JF and Phil discuss the images and sounds of the film as they flicker and swell against the backdrop of nonbeing that envelops us all. The conversation touches on the idea of beauty, Brutalist architecture, modernism, and futurity.

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Jóhann Jóhannsson, Last and First Men
Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, SNL character
Spomeniks, Yugoslavian monuments
Olaf Stapleton, The Last and First Men
Woody Allen, Hannah and Her Sisters
The Last of Us, television show
Ray Brassier, Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction
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Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Nobel Prize Speech
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Numenius, Platonist philosopher
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, What is Philosophy?
Jia Tolentino, “The Overwhelming Emotion of Hearing Toto’s “Africa”
Weird Studies, Episode 110 on “The Glass Bead Game”
D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover