RE:VIVE and Nous’klaer present film scores from two of The Netherlands’ finest producing talents Tammo (Tammo Hesselink) and Thessa Torsing (upsammy), showcasing their transition from dance floor commanders to exploratory composers. The two scores, commissioned in two separate instances by RE:VIVE, an initiative by The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, invited the young producers to compose new music for archival films, giving the artists an opportunity to explore new terrain and give forgotten films a fresh life and audience.
Zeekasteel, initially commissioned by RE:VIVE and NDSM for MuseumNight Amsterdam 2018, was a collaboration between Thessa Torsing and visual artist Sjoerd Martens. Based on an archival documentary around the building of the famed ocean liner, MS Oranje, Martens and Torsing manipulated and stylized the documentary to condense the narrative of a ship whose lifespan ended in a fire and sinking to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
Musically, Zeekasteel is an homage to the time and place where the footage was made. Laced in nostalgia but complimenting the digital manipulation of the film, Torsing leaned on a newly acquired saxophone VST that could both compliment the grainy black and white imagery and also be stretched and bent to coexist with Marten’s digital processing of the images. The rich pastiche of Torsing’s mellow sound juxtaposes echoed percussion sparse beats, accentuating the rhythmic images of the ship’s construction and Marten’s editing. Zeekasteel showcases a talent on the rise in 2018 before her powerful statements of 2019’s Wild Chamber EP and 2020’s Zoom. Much like the original film, it captures an artist at a specific time and place, building her foundation before setting off on an exciting musical journey.
Ballet Mécanique (1924) is considered a landmark avant garde film by Fernand Léger and Dudley Murphy. It’s perhaps as well known for its visual mastery as it is for the corpus of various scores composed for the highly rhythmic visual sensation. In 2019 Tammo Hesselink added his name to the list of composers to take on film for the 2nd edition of _underscore_, a collaboration between RE:VIVE, The Rest is Noise and Eye Filmmuseum.
Tammo’s approach is a purely rhythmic accompaniment. Instead of leaning on sequencing, as the images lack a defined tempo or cadence, Tammo combined polyrhythmic layers in varying time signatures thereby tricking the viewer’s brain into latching itself on to the rhythm closest to the one appearing on screen making synchronicity subjective to each viewer. In the end, Tammo’s score features 40 different stacked loops that fade in and out throughout the film buckled by two separate melodic tracks, one metallic and one more organic to emphasize the mechanical and human elements featured in the film.
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