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alterFMF: Drone Sounds

Oblivion, Tron: Legacy, Allegiant and Insurgent from the Divergent series, The Theory of Everything, Sicario, Labyrinth, Drive, Only God Forgives and The Neon Demon – world premieres of arrangements of the most famous soundtracks by composers considered to be the new wave of Hollywood will fill the ICE Kraków Congress Centre on the 27th of May 2016. Composers of the cult themes – Jóhann Jóhannsson, Cliff Martinez and Joseph Trapanese, as well as Polish composer Łukasz Targosz have accepted invitations to the Gala alterFMF: Drone Sounds.

The film fusion of symphonic music with electronica took place in the second half of the 20th century – for composers associated with cinema, the invention of the synthesiser and its presentation in the 1960s by American engineer Robert A. Moog opened a door to another world. The new trend quickly gained popularity, and John Carpenter’s legendary electronica themes and later soundtracks by Vangelis encouraged musicians to be increasingly bold when experimenting with sound in the cinema.

 

Today’s film music enthusiasts from the border of the Hollywood Classical Film Score and electronica not only open the borders between the most remote styles and types of sounds, but also consciously blur them. One of the leaders of the so-called new wave of Hollywood film music is American composer and arranger, Joseph Trapanese, the first winner of the Jerry Goldsmith Award granted by the University of California. Trapanese is the co-creator of the iconic arrangements for the science-fiction film Tron: Legacy, directed by Joseph Kosinski. The soundtrack for the Oscar-nominated (for sound editing) sequel to Tron (1982, dir. Steven Lisberger) was created in a collaboration between Trapanese and Daft Punk, the Parisian duo playing music from the borderline of electronica and dance. The joint project has been hailed by BBC journalists as a “sophisticated integration of acoustic and electronic instruments” and became a hit almost immediately. In 2013, the composer achieved another success, this time in cooperation with Anthony Gonzalez and his electro-rock M83 – their music for the film Oblivion (once again directed by Kosinski) was nominated for the World Soundtrack Awards during the Flanders International Film Festival in Ghent, in the Discovery of the Year category. Trapanese’s newest accomplishments are the electronica-tinged orchestral soundtracks to the second and third parts of the Divergent trilogy, based on the novels by Veronica Roth – Insurgent (2015) and Allegiant (2016), directed by Robert Schwentke.

 

Another undisputed star of the latest electro-symphonic film music is Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson – a film neoclassicist who willingly confronts chamber music and electronic sounds with the power of the sound mass. Jóhannsson’s biggest hit is the Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning soundtrack to the 2015 British biography of Stephen Hawking, The Theory of Everything, directed by James Marsh. In 2016, the American Film Academy nominated the composer once again, this time for the dynamic soundtrack to Denis Villeneuve’s drama Sicario, inspired by French and Romanian spectral music (including works by Gérard Grisey and Horatiu Radulescu), as well as the sound experiments of New York post-punk band Swans.

 

This was not Jóhannsson’s first encounter with the Canadian director – in 2013, they worked together on the thriller Labyrinth, which masterfully combines the brutality of the image with the melancholy and lyricism of the musical layer. As Piotr Sikorski wrote in a review for soundtracks.pl: “To achieve this effect, the Icelandic composer decided to base his composition mainly on strings, woodwinds and extensive electronica, additionally enriching them with unconventional combinations of instruments, such as cristal baschet and ondes Martenot, which gave the whole a very emotional, almost sacral character. Paradoxically, rather than mitigate, the procedure intensified the emotions evoked by the picture and turned out to be a proverbial bullseye”.

 

The third giant of alternative film music is American composer and drummer Cliff Martinez, the author of the iconic soundtracks to Solaris, based on the novel by Stanisław Lem and directed by Steven Soderbergh, as well as the dark films by Nicolas Winding Refn, including Drive, Only God Forgives and The Neon Demon. Martinez’ music emanates severity and is extremely economical in expression, while at the same time using the full spectrum of modern technical means. A particularly important sound layer is the percussion – with it, Martinez manages to create a hypnotic aura and enhance the dark, trance overtones of Refn’s disquieting films.

 

The three aces of the so-called new wave of Hollywood have confirmed their presence at the 9th Film Music Festival in Krakow. Another guest of this year’s alterFMF Gala will be Polish composer Łukasz Targosz – suites from his soundtracks to The Pact, the newest production by HBO Poland, which is a partner of the concert, will premiere on Friday night at ICE Kraków. Also featured will be music from Pitbull and Secret Wars(Służby Specjalne).

 

Appearing on stage beside the AUKSO Chamber Orchestra will be French multi-instrumentalists Thomas Bloch (cristal baschet) and Pauline Haas (ondes Martenot), as well as Polish vocalist Anna Karwan, Icelandic bass guitarist Skuli Sverisson and Turkish artist Görkem Şen, who will play an instrument of his own invention, the yaybahar. The electronic background will be provided by Jóhann Jóhannsson. The concert will be conducted by Anthony Weeden – an outstanding conductor and arranger of film music, known for his work with Jóhannsson on The Theory of Everything and with David Arnold and Michael Price on the BBC series Sherlock.

The alterFMF: Drone Sounds concert will be organized in cooperation with HBO Poland.

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