Parisian lynchpin Krikor Kouchian summons spooked-out radiophonic sounds in his superb, as-yet-unreleased soundtrack for the 2014 redux of Jean Epstein’s pioneering, silent 1920’s avant-garde cinema classic. A must check for fans of Elodie, Kevin Drumm, Mika Vainio, Eliane Radigue.
The 1927 film ’Six Et Demi Onze’ tells the tragic romantic tale of two brothers who, unbeknownst to eachother, fall in love with the same woman. A timeless psychological narrative involving suicide and lies ensues across the film’s grand locations, but on his soundtrack Krikor prefers to home in on the internal thoughts of the film’s central protagonists, outlining a claustrophobic atmosphere in some of his subtlest and most affective soundtrack work, which follows from a panoply of scores for everything from an Arnold Schwarzenegger documentary, to films on Franco-Saudi geopolitics and fantasy sci-fi.
Recording for the score was made on portable recorders and laptop, which serve to heighten and intensify a “huis-clos” (“behind closed doors”) effect. Limned in sferic and plasmic tones, the 12 pieces suggest scenes and sensations of intrigue, loss, and paranoia, using specific palettes and particular techniques to connote the internal thoughts for the trio of characters: modified soundfield recordings represent the older brother, while old school radiophonic processing mirrors the younger sibling’s feelings, and what he terms “advanced time expansion” for the female love interest. The results were pre-planned and mapped to the film’s edits, but ultimately Krikor improvised the parts, adopting a more classical, non-linear approach with cranky old upright piano for the other scenes, capturing a mix of subliminal instinct and more measured articulation.
The results weigh up as Krikor’s most elusive and haunting solo missive, mirroring a wealth of classic French film music and avant-garde minimalism, and serving to slot neatly on Boomkat Editions’ vinyl series beside soundtrack (and related) works by HTRK, Ø, and Akira Rabelais