Brief Notes on Last Night’s Live Golem Score, REDCAT, Brian LeBarton & Guests
Der Golem, Wie Er In Eie Welt Kam
Direction, analog synths and miscellany by Brian LeBarton (Beck)
Percussion by Carla Azar (Autolux)
Cello by Vanessa Freebairn-Smith
Over the course of 90 minutes in a darkened room under Disney Hall last night Brian LeBarton, clad in a fur-and-rubber wolf mask, made enough improvised bleeps, blurps and flatulent noises to equal the output of six men with an array of vintage synths surrounding his workspace. Supporting musicians Carla and Vanessa were tastefully subdued, never at the forefront for any extended period of time. Nothing was rehearsed beforehand.
Golem, the movie itself, 90+ minutes of shadowy lighting and fantastic 1920 surrealist sets by Hans Poelzig (playbook of which Theodore Geisel must surely have taken a page from), has been scored a variety of ways over the ages (fun and notable example: dig the brief death metal montage by Mike Patton’s Fantomas, here). I’m not exactly sure the reason, but spacey free jazz and analog sounds lend themselves to silent German Expressionist films quite well, and last night’s performance was well-executed and no exception, drawing parallels for myself to the scoring of Murnau’s Nosferatu by the venerable Tortiose a couple of years ago up in Chicago.
Around the 90-minute mark the trio, locked in one final groove, continued jamming straight into the credits before LeBarton looked up and realized the movie was over. THE END. 60 more seconds of noise, and things wound down.
“100% not what I expected!” From the woman behind me to her viewing companions immediately following last night’s screening, the words were uttered with the sort of inquisitive loudness that invariably comes pre-bundled with a passive longing for those within earshot to agree with the proclaimer. Far too busy forming my own opinions with my own viewing companions, I didn’t take the bait, and while I’ll never know if she enjoyed the performance or not, in my book “the unexpected” is never, ever a bad thing — particularly at Halloween.
Speaking with Brian after the screening I was told the improvised score will be completely different tonight; most notably the finale, which he threatens to build to heavily with “all kinds of crazy shit.” Big congrats to our ticket winners; thanks for all your entries yesterday.
The Golem w/Live Score by Brian LeBarton@ REDCAT Sat Oct 31 (ALL HALLOWS’ EVE)