Sleep No More

The album II: Music For Film And Theatre (DEKORDER 081) is credited to Felix Kubin Und das Mineralorchester. The bulk of the record is Macbeth – or a remix of Kubin’s soundtrack for a Polish theatre piece, directed in 2010 by Robert Florczak. 11 tracks of quirky instrumentalness, darkness, and black humour result, all played by Felix’s “virtual” orchestra, which may mean he plays all the parts himself.

Far from Felix’s usual happy self, this is attempting to be alarming, grim, music, often very suggestive of the doom and chaotic fate that Macbeth leads himself into. ‘Wojna’ is highly charged, atmospheric ambient doom music. ‘Hexen’ is likewise unsettling, using backwards tapes to suggest the supernatural eeriness of the witches. I have no idea why this piece turns into a disco tune though. ‘Banquo’ is another good example of dramatic “scary music”, delivered in a more conventional manner.

Although all-electronic, the music feels old-fashioned somehow, and could almost have come from a mid-1960s experimental film or a Svankmajer animation. The terse semi-whispered voices of actresses and actors add compelling tension. However, it’s also witty and zany to use Nintendo game effects to illustrate Macbeth’s defeat on ‘Game Over’. ‘Menuett I’ is more like the Kubin we know and love, showing his Schubert prowess on what amounts to an electric harpsichord.

The next major piece included is ‘Somnambule’, for an animation film of this name made by Anke Feuchtenberger, a German illustrator from East Berlin. It includes all the sound effects as well as the music. I think I can see how her stark drawing style and idiosyncratic take on Freudian-inspired dream symbolism might appeal to Felix. I found my attention wandering through this ten-minute piece though, as there’s no sense of a story unfolding or any clear musical themes I can sink my ears into; just a series of pleasant cues and effects. That said, there’s a strong conceptual link between Macbeth and sleep-walking (“out, damned spot” and “Macbeth hath murdered sleep”) which could be said to join the two parts of the album together. From 31 August 2016.

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