Sunday, 4 November 2012

Everything but the sky (Reprise)

Jacob Israel and A Skyline on Fire and the screen, by Thorsten Grahl
I'm not a fan of silent film, and I am not hipster enough to lie about it. However, when Open Window decided to show Murnau's Sunrise with a modern-day soundtrack by Jacob Israel and A Skyline on Fire, well, then my inner cool kid yearns to add some points onto my hipster chart. I might not have Instagram, shop at the Neighbourgood's Market or ride around on a bicycle from the 1970s, but I can borrow a camping chair to watch a silent film made not-so-silent. 

Man, it was cool. Unexpectedly cool. Sometimes I felt as though the music didn't exactly match the action in the film, but perhaps that was the idea. The electro and often unintelligible, Bon Iver-like singing by A Skyline on Fire worked well with the film because it made one pay attention to what was happening on screen in order to see if Israel's music matched. If it had been just a silent film screening, chances are I would've snuggled deeper under my blanket and fallen asleep. But here the waiting for what sound would come next, and how would it match up with Murnau's film, made everything very exciting. Here is the statement by the artists:

In 2011, the iMPAC film festival approached us to write and perform a modernised score for the 1927 silent film, "Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans". The exciting possibilities of such an exercise, and the wine we were enjoying at the time, got the better of us, and we agreed to it. What followed was a month worth of planning, worrying, and file sharing. Everything culminated in a week of frantic writing and recording (sometimes concurrently), and a single rehearsal 2 hours before the film screened at the festival (this was also the first time that we watched the entire film while performing, instead of single snippets).

Songs For Sunrise is the edited version of the score, tidied into stand-alone songs. We tried to cast a wide net with the sounds in this album, trying to capture as much of the gamut of human emotion that film so effortlessly ran through. We hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed making them. 

- A Skyline On Fire & Jacob Israel

The Songs for Sunrise soundtrack is available as a free download here, and A Skyline on Fire has made their first album available for mahala as well if you click this

Hipsters in attendance

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