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Cul de Sac perform for Murnau’s Faust @ Sala

Posted by Scott / June 11, 2007

faust-one.jpg(photo of Faust getting his young-on, in a very dark Sala Rossa)

Boston art-rockers Cul de Sac made their first visit to Montreal this weekend, taking part in the (thus far) stellar Suoni Per Il Popolo festival. In a completely darkened Sala Rossa, the quartet used guitar, drums, violin, synth, bass, some samples and various percussion instruments to provide the soundtrack for F.W. Murnau’s 1926 silent film, Faust. Based on the Goethe piece, Faust tells the story of a man who sells his soul to the devil, in exchange for youth and the chance at gaining the love of Gretchen, ein lokaler hottie (a local hottie).

For their part, Cul de Sac provided a rollicking, layered score, weaving together everything from the minimal creaking of a bow across violin strings, to two- and three-part accompaniment, to full-on rocking numbers. It was an afternoon that showed the potential of instrumental music to move beyond being “interesting” and become something transformative.

The Cul de Sac pieces were synched-up nearly perfectly with the film, dropping in volume and intensity as the film suddenly switched emotion. Also, Murnau’s film utilized high-contrast black and white shots, and the Cul de Sac tunes followed suit, starkly playing with density and texture, using fast interplay between dissonant and consonant passages.

At times I was reminded of Bill Frisell, Explosions in the Sky and Dirty Three, all of whom have performed with visual accompaniment. However, I would be very surprised if any of the above artists were able to provide a soundtrack that was as fitting to a film as Cul de Sac were to Murnau’s Faust. I have been a fan of Cul de Sac (like everyone) since their collaboration with John Fahey in 1997, however, I would be especially pleased if they decided to release a DVD of Faust with their live accompaniment, as it brings a vastly richer experience to an already classic film.

Perhaps if I sold my soul to the devil I may be awarded such a release. The DVD extras could be German hotties tied up in Christian allegories. Danke!

(image of poster created by breeree)



Sajorhoonia / May 28, 2011 at 10:52 am
comfortable air / February 17, 2017 at 08:34 pm
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