The seventh installment of Shadows of the Unseen features pieces by familiar names such as Delia Derbyshire (an assemblage of works she produced for the BBC that still sounds incredibly fresh, more than half a century after its making), Frans Zwartjes (this time a fragmented composition structured around a haunting sing-a-long melody) and Henning Christiansen (part of fluxorum organuma, a wonderful piece he did for a collaborative event with Joseph Beuys at Wide White Space gallery in Antwerp, where it was also recorded on film).
But there’s also a few new discoveries, starting with Mireille Kyrou, an Egypt-born French-Palestinian composer who studied with Olivier Messiaen before joining the GRM (Groupe de Recherche Musicale) in 1958. Unfortunately she only spent three years at the GRM, after which she married filmmaker/critic Ado Kyrou and devoted herself to family life. There seems to be only piece available of her time at GRM, which was published on the compilation ‘Musique Concrète’ (1964) and can be found online. The other remaining track is the soundtrack she made for La chute d’Icare (1965) by Gérard Patris, who was at that time starting to work with Luc Ferrari on a series of filmed intimate portraits of great musicians such as Olivier Messiaen, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Cecil Taylor.
Another discovery is Violeta Parra’s soundtrack for Sergio Bravo’s Mimbre (1958), filmed during visits to the home workshop of wicker craftsman Alfredo Manzano (aka Manzanito) in Santiago. The score was improvised and recorded during a silent screening of the film, showcasing the unique guitar stylings of this Chilean composer, who is often called the “Mother of Latin American folk”.
Also of note is the score of the Hungarian animation film Fehérlófia (1981) by the Illustrious Unknown István Vajda. Robert Beatty, to whom I owe this discovery, rightly described the soundtrack as “a dense, alien, claustrophobic electronic mass that wouldn’t sound out of place now on a label such as Editions Mego”.
A few new releases on the horizon are referenced here: Takashi Inagaki’s music for the films of Takashi Ito will be out on Purge.xxx, and Finders Keepers Records continues its mining of Suzanne Ciani’s archives with the release of her score for a skiing documentary (which we believe to be Joel H. Schroedel’s 1974 Denali traverse). In this mix, however, you’ll hear a fragment from a Ciani score that has not been released yet, for Lloyd Michael Williams’ psychedelic reverie Rainbow Children (1975).
For the electronic dance aficionados: do check out the proto-techno soundtracks by Erkki Kurenniemi (1964), Gershon Kingsley (1970 – yes he’s the guy who did ‘Popcorn’) and Bernard Parmegiani (1977), which suggest that cinema might have offered the necessary experimental playing field leading up to techno’s development.
1. Ed Emshwiller – Carol (Ed Emshwiller, 1970)
2. Carnival of Souls (Herk Harvey, 1962)
3. Mireille Kyrou – La chute d’Icare (Gérard Patris, 1965)
4. Takashi Inagaki – Thunder (Takashi Ito, 1982)
5. Alain Clavier – Ceci est un message enregistré (Jean-Thomas Bédard, 1973)
6. Zdeněk Liška – Et Cetera (Jan Švankmajer, 1966)
7. Eric Wetherell – Sky (ITV TV series, 1975)
8. Paddy Kingsland – The Changes (BBC TV series, 1975)
9. Stephan Wittwer – Der rechte Weg (Peter Fischli & David Weiss, 1983)
10. Delia Derbyshire – Pot Au Feu (assembly of pieces created for various BBC programmes, 1965-1968)
11. Tristram Cary – Sebastian (David Greene, 1967)
12. Gershon Kingsley – Pixillation (Lillian Schwartz, 1970)
13. Erkki Kurenniemi – Hyppy [The Jump] (Eino Ruutsalo, 1964)
14. Bernard Parmegiani – Versailles… peut-être (Michel Sibra, 1977)
15. Michi Tanaka – Sado [Third] (Yôichi Higashi, 1978)
16. Suzanne Ciani – Rainbow Children (Lloyd Michael Williams, 1975)
17. Dave Ball, Genesis P. Orridge, William S. Burroughs – Decoder (Jürgen Muschalek, 1984)
18. Tom Recchion – Lost Motion (Janie Geiser, 1999)
19. István Vajda – Fehérlófia [Son of The White Mare] (Marcell Jankovics, 1981)
20. Adrian Corker – Die Habenichtse [The Have-Nots] (Florian Hoffmeister, 2016)
21. Pauline Oliveros – Bent Time (Barbara Hammer, 1983)
22. Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar – Dhrupad (Mani Kaul, 1982)
23. Vijay Raghav Rao – Abid (Pramof Pati, 1972)
24. Jonathan Halper – Puce Moment (Kenneth Anger, 1960 version)
25. Acanthus (Daniel Buffet, Gérard Sallette) – Le frisson des vampires (Jean Rollin, 1971)
26. Frans Zwartjes, Towe Zwartjes, Rudolf Zwartjes – Behind Your Walls (Frans Zwartjes, 1970)
27. Valentin de las Sierras (Bruce Baillie, 1971)
28. Violeta Parra – Mimbre (Sergio Bravo, 1958)
29. Pierre F. Brault, Geneviève Bujold – Rouli-Roulant (Claude Jutra, 1966)
30. Spirit – Model Shop (Jacques Demy, 1969)
31. Gaslight (George Cukor, 1944)
32. Fred Karlin – Up the Down Staircase (Robert Mulligan, 1967)
33. Nora Orlandi, Paolo Ormi – Lo strano vizio della Signora Wardh [The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh or Blade of the Ripper] (Sergio Martino, 1971)
34. Gene Moore – Carnival of Souls (Herk Harvey, 1962)
35. Georges Delerue, Cora Vaucaire – Une aussi longue absence (Henri Colpi, 1961)
36. Jean Wiener – Voici le temps des assassins (Julien Duvivier, 1956)
37. Luciano Berio, Carmelo Bene – Il canto d’amore di Prufrock (Nico d’Alessandria, 1967)
38. Henning Christiansen – Eurasienstab (Joseph Beuys & Henning Christiansen, 1968)
39. Europa ’51 (Roberto Rossellini, 1952)