The devil has the best tunes on Saturday 14 December when our collective will perform new music inspired by rarely seen Gothic silent films from the BFI National Archive. The music and films will be brought together for the first time in Vault: Music for Silent Gothic Treasures at BFI Southbank as part of the BFI’s nationwide project GOTHIC: The Dark Heart of Film. (8:45pm).
I’m busy composing a new live score for theremin, vocals, modular synth, percussion, saw and other instruments. I’ll be performing this with my fellow Spacedogs. We’ll be joined by Exotic Pylon’s Time Attendant (Paul Snowdon) who will be supplying new work on simmering, tabletop electronics. There will also be some extemporisations from Bela Emerson, a soloist who works with cello and electronics. Jon Brooks, composer of the haunting Music for Thomas Carnacki (2011), will also be creating a studio piece for the event.
Sourced by Bryony Dixon, the BFI’s curator of silent film, many of the short films inspiring us were made in the opening years of the twentieth century. The Legende du fantôme (1908), an early cinematic vision of Dante’s Inferno (1911) and split screen experiment Skulls Take Over (1901) are on the bill, along with silent cubist masterpiece The Fall of the House of Usher (US version, 1928) and more.
Thanks to PRSF for Music Foundation for financially supporting my new work through their individual composer’s award scheme. Thanks also to the BFI for giving us access to the archives and for their other support in kind. Vault: Music for Silent Gothic Treasures is part of the BFI’s Hauntology Weekend, in association with The Wire magazine (Fri 13 Dec – Sat 14 Dec).