A long time ago, in the nascent days of cinema, prerecorded sound was absent from the moving image, so silence was negotiated with live music. That arrangement, notably different from the scene-defining, track-driven pop films of contempo culture, returns to Guild Cinema this week. In an elegant and unusual meeting of movies and music, two distinguished acts will accompany exciting film selections with a live score.
"The film we chose is called Тіні забутих предків by Сергій Йосипович Параджановby," says Jeremy Barnes, former Neutral Milk Hotel drummer and one half of celebrated Eastern Europe-imbued A Hawk & A Hacksaw. "It is a visually stunning reinterpretation of a Ukrainian folk tale, set high in the Carpathian Mountains." The 1964 film by Soviet-Armenian Sergei Parajanov translates to Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, and it is a tale of lost love, sorcery and death.
Barnes and the band’s other half, violinist Heather Trost—both New Mexico natives—just returned to Albuquerque after a year-and-a-half residence in Budapest. Barnes says New Mexico is the only place in the U.S. where he feels relatively comfortable. "If we are not wandering around in Eastern Europe, or touring, then New Mexico is where we like to be." Aside from indulging their ongoing Slavophilia, here the two are enjoying new bikes and new Persian restaurants. They say they’re honored to perform at the Film Score Nite, as it’s being billed.
Second to perform is avant-cult-of-sound Death Convention Singers. The assemblage is a 12-strong remnant of the larger Cobra//group collective, with a bent floating in the realms of modern folk and indigenous music, refined with acoustic and electronic noise.
"We have found cartoons from the ’40s and ’50s that are supposed to take place in the Southwest U.S. It is fun to see what 'artists' back then thought New Mexico was supposed to look like. Instead of taking that left turn, I'm glad they went straight," says Death Convention Singers ringleader Raven Chacon. "We are also working on scoring a segment of the Danny Lyon film Llanito—a snapshot of the Bernalillo area circa late ’60s—to lighten up the mood."
Chacon says the singers, who are recording a record of their corridos, hope to authenticate, rectify and maybe even salvage the storytelling with their scoring. “ ‘Americana' means something totally different in the Old West."
This one-night-only event takes place Thursday, Nov. 12. A Hawk & A Hacksaw is set to begin at 7:30 p.m., Death Convention Singers starts at 8:30 p.m. Learn more about the scoring bands at ahawkandahacksaw.blogspot.com and myspace.com/deathconventionsingers.