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Frozen In Time II Release Party At Vacation Vinyl, Saturday December 13th 2014

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Head Dress

Sometimes, you stumble on something totally out of the ordinary, something so different from the rest of the mainstream culture, something so out of place in our teenage-obsessed sex-oriented culture, our Miley-Cyrus-on-a-wrecking-ball, our Taylor-Swift-birthday-world-celebration culture, that time stops and everything becomes deeper.

San Francisco record label Black Horizons has released a new cassette compilation of music by artists L’Acephale, Spettro Family, German Army, Micromelancolié, Night Worship, and Head Dress, and all the music was composed in order to be played in time with the films of Ingmar Bergman. Yes, the acclaimed Swedish director who made untouchable chef d’oeuvres such as ‘Cries and Whispers’, ‘The Seven Seal’, ‘Wild Strawberries’, ‘The Magic Flute’, ‘Autumn Sonata’ or ‘Fanny and Alexander’. I know, these movies can already be considered as old – ‘Cries and Whispers’ was made 42 years ago! – so it is difficult to know how they still resonate in our disposable culture, between a Beyonce video and an Iggy Azalea twerk?

This is however the path chosen by these artists and one of them, Head Dress, did perform live at Vacation Vinyl for the release of the cassette… and it was an intense experience. They projected long selections of Bergman’s ‘Cries and Whispers’ (‘Viskningar Och Rop’, as it was the original version) and began to pay their electronica soundscapes, incredibly matching the scenes…If you are like me and saw the movie a very very long time ago, you may vaguely remember about the long scenes, the slow pace of the film, the bloody red interiors, and the agony of one of the sisters who is dying of cancer…the movie has such a weighty atmosphere, and the intense electronic throb was giving a whole new dimension to all these long shots on Liv Ullmann’s face. I totally forgot if the original movie had an original score – it actually had some classical music by Bach and Chopin – but this new score was totally convincing. To add to the gravitas, a man wearing a black cape with a hood, walked through the store burning incense, and nobody was making a sound… It was heavy, a bit scary, and the music was giving me a sense of falling, while the woman on her deathbed couldn’t end dying. The scene during which another sister mutilates her genitals and smears blood all over her face as a sign of hatred toward her husband is probably one of the most ferocious and unforgettable scenes of cinema and I can understand why they picked this one to score! But I wonder, did they score the whole movie this way?

They also screened another Bergman movie, ‘The Seven Seal’, this time without muting the Swedish dialogues, but adding guitar and thunder while the knight is coming back from the Crusades and challenges Death to a game of chess… The whole thing is an interesting concept, I just wonder how far they can go with the idea and how Bergman fans will receive the new soundtrack. Here is an excerpt of the show:

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