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An Exquisite Corpse

NEMO 019
year: 2007

project coordinator:Rob Switzer

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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7 David Cooper Orton
stream trackload mp3   Soundtrack 2, Act 1
What was I thinking of?

Chronologically recorded after I'd finished work on Act IV, I decided that - in the spirit of the project, I should attempt to conjure an entirely different piece of music, rather than reiterate themes established in Act IV. I also elected to use a completely different tonal palette - a Yamaha MU5 Tone Generator which had been gathering dust for several years.

The idea of commencing the piece with the sound of scratchy, crackling ancient media which would then blossom into the fully restored glory of the digital era was, admittedly, a thin conceit, but got things started. The dream-like (nightmarish?) mood of the whole film influenced the use of a slightly sinister music box theme, moving on through other instruments grouped with it on the sound module. In other scenes I went for a more light-hearted feel, whilst suggesting the protagonist's butterfly-like attention span by interrupting the flow with sounds from the street below.

The sound of Caligari himself was a synchronistic happenstance find whilst wondering around the high numbers of the sound module's midi mapping. "String noise", it's supposed to be - sounded sufficiently eerie for my requirements: in it went. Considerable pitch-shifting was used to suggest his mood swing(s), especially as he hatches his cunning plan.

Other thoughts - the fairground themes clashing from different stalls and sideshows, intersected with processional waltzes (now that I think of it, how would a mass of people march in 3/4?) have an undeniable Waitsian influence (of course, if that went un-noticed, it was a brilliant invention of my own devising). The ringing bell will return in Act IV in a less strident, more melancholic mode. That's all, folks...

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