APL Silent Film Spectacular 2013

the lodger 1927 hitchcock still

A nefarious lodger?

The Albany Public Library's annual "Silent Film Spectacular" series returns this week. Over the course of October it will show classic silent movies -- "from the dramatic to the macabre" -- accompanied by a score performed live by local musicians.

The screenings are the next four Wednesdays in the large auditorium of the APL's main branch on Washington Ave, starting at 7 pm. They're free.

First film up, this Wednesday (October 9): Hitchcock's The Lodger, with score performed by members of Alta Mira, Hand Habits, Maggot Brain, and The Slaughterhouse Chorus.

The full lineup is post jump.

All descriptions via APL.

"The Lodger" with live, original music by Ryan Slowey, Meg Duffy, Sean Fortune, Chris Jordan, and Tommy Krebs
Oct. 9 (Wed) at 7 p.m. at the Main Library
"The Lodger" is Alfred Hitchcock's 1927 film about a landlady who is beginning to suspect that her tenant is a serial killer. Musicians from local bands Maggot Brain, Hand Habits, The Slaughterhouse Chorus, and Alta Mira come together as a silent film supergroup for one night only. Don't miss this killer combination of local rockers.

"The Adventures of Prince Achmed" with live, original music by lastdayshining
Oct. 16 (Wed) at 7 p.m. at the Main Library
This 1926 release is the oldest surviving animated feature film. Director Lotte Reininger uses paper and lead cutouts to illustrate the Arabian Nights story with tinted silhouettes. Albany band lastdayshining is a hard-hitting post-rock band with a sound characterized by expressive instrumental buildups that travel through a range of dynamic changes from quiet lows to bone-crushing highs.

"The Wind" with live, original music by Blacklight Lighthouse
Oct. 23 (Wed) at 7 p.m. at the Main Library
"The Wind" is a 1928 American romantic drama directed by Victor Sjöstrom that features his trademark visual poetry of natural forces and their dramatic role in controlling human destiny. Blacklight Lighthouse is a musical duo that works in the collage mode to create climatic soundscapes using experimental and improvisational analog and digital instrumentation.

"Waxworks" with live, original music by Helicoprion
Oct. 30 (Wed) at 7 p.m. at the Main Library
"Waxworks," a rarely seen film from 1924 by director Paul Leni, is a trilogy of horror stories centered on the wax figures in a carnival show. Helicoprion creates orchestrated and improvised sounds on guitar, bass, percussion, and horns to give the viewer a chilling and multisensory experience.

Yep, the APL advertises on AOA.

still via YouTube user RememberingTheClassics


I will never understand why they choose to show these films with this sort of music.

I don't know, Eric -- in 1984 the silent classic "Metropolis" was re-released with a new sound track by the likes of Pat Benatar and Adam Ant and I recall it added an edgy energy to the film. Does it have to be only old-time melodramatic organ music? I like the idea of new musicians lending new interpretations to the old silent films (even though it may not be my preferred style of music either).

The thing about silent films is that they were intended to be shown with contemporary music. So the old-timey sounds that most releases pair the films with don't quite do the work that the soundtracks require, in supporting the visuals. People hear the plinky piano (which actually isn't historically accurate for most silent films) and zone out, instead of being lifted by the music.

Excepting, of course, those silent films which had specific scores written for them.

The 2011 re-release of 'A Trip to the Moon' with music by Air was also pretty awesome...

I think this is a great idea, and the more people do this, the better they will synch sound energy to the visuals. This takes a lot of practice, but imagine where people can go with this.

"...this sort of music." I can't even comprehend what you mean by that. I've seen just about every performance since this series started a few years back and have seen everything from solo musicians, synth groups, folk artists, rock musicians, experimental artists, acoustic groups...

If by "this sort of music." you merely mean something different than what you hear in your head or expect to hear going in, then maybe you're better off staying home and watching TCM.

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