On Sunday 21 August the musical composer Chris Becker and bassist Thomas Helton presented an evening of improvised music to silent films in Houston, Texas. The combination of laptop computer, kaoss pad and upright bass was said to be sublime. Musical performances were made to my film ‘25Years‘ alongside films by Noe Kidder, Jonathan Jindra, Robert Thoth, and Pablo Gimenez Zapiola.
Using the popular software program Ableton Live and a large collection of samples musical or otherwise, Becker improvises a soundtrack to each silent film, selecting and layering samples like the pieces of an aural jigsaw puzzle. Although the music for each film begins with a prepared, partially composed “template” of sounds and samples, once the film hits the screen the improvised dialogue between the music and the image begins. No two performances to a film are ever the same.
Last Friday Becker and Helton were on KUHF’s The Front Row talking about the project and playing my film and another whilst improvising live on the radio. You can listen to the interview and improvisation of the day here.
A recent interview with Becker in Free Houston Post about Music for Silent Films can be found here.
Above image: “Goad” film by Noe Kidder and Ariane Anthony.