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Caligari
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An Exquisite Corpse

NEMO 019
year: 2007

project coordinator:Rob Switzer
artwork:norelpref


Eleven composers collaborated in Exquisite Corpse fashion to produce two brand new soundtracks for the German Expressionist Classic The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari.

The film with the new soundtracks is available for free download from archive.org under a Creative Commons license (Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0).

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6 Robert Switzer
stream trackload mp3   Soundtrack 1, Act 6
If Caligari was a short story, Act VI would be the plot twist, the place where expectations are dashed, and the whole story is redefined.

Through the first part of the act, I worked to build a feeling of vague dread and unease with a looped sting pad, angular bassline, asymmetric rhythms, skronking woodwinds, edgy slide-wah guitar, and the atonal Caligari piano theme.

When the action finally returns to the garden wall outside the asylum and all is revealed, I wanted to up the feelings of dread and unease to disassociation, paranoia, horror, and fear.

To do this, I used a bed of high-pitched electronic sound, underlaid with gently ascending loop-drones of guitar feedback and overblown bass clarinet harmonics. I added a creepy, wibbling, psycho-blues alto sax solo played in the key of metaphysical distress to up the discomfort factor even further.

At the very end, I reiterate the atonal Caligari piano theme, to underscore the irony of the reversal of fortunes experienced by Caligari and Francis.

To get the feel I wanted, I decided to go with a mixture of acoustic, electric, and electronic instruments, and take the style of music outside of the period of the film to include contemporary free and electronic musics.

Alto and soprano saxes, bass clarinet, laptop and electric guitar parts were cut from previously recorded solo improvisations of my own, and collaged into final form using Rezound and Ardour with xJadeo, open source audio editors + video channel running on Linux.

Piano, electric bass, and drum parts were created from algorithmically generated MIDI data voiced using general MIDI and GigaPiano sample sets.
9:53 


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