Live 2022-07-21 - Søjus1 - The New Babylon
Live: no. Prerecorded
To quote the band from Bandcamp: The Dresden duo plays their own film music in sync with the silent film »The New Babylon«. You can hear new compositions as well as special versions of HALO, PYNG, LYKA, 013, 005, 007 and 032.
As a guest musician they have invited Marc Hartmann (trombone).
Even though it was prerecorded, to be able to watch this silent movie in its 90 minute version along with modern music was a treat indeed. Of course one can debate whether the music amply accentuates and reflects the visual aspects, but to approach this from a modern aspect also enables us to enrich the score in such a way impossible during the time of the film's original release; which was 1929.
Sadly, the window of 48 hours to rewatch the stream passed without ever doing so, which makes it difficult to properly and comprehensively write about the music and the film. Nevertheless, some parts can be remembered.
Electronic sounds, drums and a trombone were used to create the atmosphere and lead the listener through the film. A wide variety of expressions and sounds were conveyed, but these might be different from what a viewer might expect. The best example is the marching of troops at some stage and the reviewer expected something in character to what Ottorino Respighi composed in the piece "I Pini della Via Appia" or some kind of march music. This reluctance to fall back to the immediate at this point and to use the music as some kind of a comment on the visual elements made it clear to the writer that the band appeared to have approached this rather large task of writing a score not only with a certain mindset, but with some kind of liberty as well. Whether this is good or bad and how the music deviates from some of the imagery and its intended meaning is difficult to write about after only one viewing and without taking any notes. The music was good, had catchy elements and was quite interesting.
Sadly, the music played through the concert is not available separate from the live stream, which is somewhat annoying, but there maybe a special reason behind it. It would be interesting to hear the original score and then compare it to this modern approach of it and check it for similarities.
The New Babylon is a film that sheds a light on an era that a lot of people might have forgotten to at least some extent, but whose premise is strikingly up to date with what we deal with and what we should discuss right now; the entire issue of the Paris Commune of 1871 could easily be discussed not only from today's perspective but also in comparison to our own situation right now.
If you have a chance to watch the film, then do so. Søjus1's performance and approach to this film is really interesting and hopefully there will be more opportunities to watch it on Bandcamp in the future.