Itinéraire d’un ciné-fils de… #01: Ti lydspor på tre et halvt minut was the first ciné-mix I made, back in 2007. I had long been interested in making sound pieces consisting only of sampled film sounds. The wish to do so was the result of two things in particular. First of all a longstanding interest in musique concrète, sound art and various forms of music involving field recording, tape loops and cut-ups (the early early industrial music of Cabaret Voltaire, Hafler Trio and Throbbing Gristle in particular). Second, at that particular time – 2006-2007 – I was seriously diving into the work of Dziga Vertov. Reading in particular Vlada Petric’s and Georges Sadoul’s monographs on the work of Vertov and the Kinoks and becoming aware of Vertov’s deep engagement with sound as a medium on its own, his laboratory of hearing and the role that sound played both in his silent and sound films made a deep impression on me. I wanted to do something similar as a way to reflect on and connect the sound environments of different films (or at least to do something I felt had some sort of kinship with these different practices and which gestured towards them with the means I had available).
In this regard Itinéraire #1 was a first experiment. It consists of samples from ten films I had recently watched or was watching again around that time – mainly Italian horror films and various European classics from the 1960s and 1970s. I made it in a version of Cubase I had available on my laptop back then. The Danish title Ti lydspor på tre et halvt minut literally means “ten soundtracks in three and a half minutes”. Because it is such a long time ago made the piece and because I did not take notes when making it back then I can only remember eight of the titles I sampled from. They are:
1. Entuziazm: Simfoniya Donbassa (Dziga Vertov, USSR 1930)
2. La Frusta e il corpo (Mario Bava, Italy 1963)
3. Sult (Henning Carlsen, Denmark/Norway/Sweden 1966)
4. Don’t Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, UK/Italy 1973)
5. La Notte (Michelangelo Antonioni, Italy 1961)
6. Inferno (Dario Argento, Italy/USA 1980)
7. Satyricon (Federico Fellini, Italy 1969)
8. La Casa dalle finestre che ridono (Pupi Avati, Italy 1976)
There were several sounds – in particular electronic sounds or processed acoustic sounds – I was attracted to in these films and genuinely surprised to realize were such an integral part of their sound design: the processed city sounds in the opening to Antonioni’s La Notte (1961), the electronic sounds of Fellini’s Satyricon (1969) (taken from Tod Dockstader’s works if I am not mistaken), and the cues that synthesizer sounds provide in Dario Argento’s Inferno (1980) and Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now (1973). Vertov’s Entuziazm (1930) found its way to the mix as well. The sounds range from mechanical, synthetic, and sound effects to processed piano and organ sounds. As a first rudimentary, experiment it was meant to explore how I could make a transition from one atmosphere to another, starting with a dream-like horror atmosphere to sounds that suggest sliding back into reality and an everyday atmosphere. The transition from one atmosphere to another is marked by the opening credit sounds from La Notte and a synthesizer sound effect from Inferno in combination around the 1-minute mark.