Steven Severin: The Trials of Dr Caligari
1920s silent classic gets new score
This article is from 2009.
Erstwhile driving force behind Siouxsie and the Banshees, Severin’s presentation of this German expressionist classic with his own recorded score is perfect material for Bang Bang Club’s festival residency in the basement of Teviot House.
In a club with an art rock playlist (Eno, Iggy, Bowie, Kraftwerk) distilling the spirit of the music-meets-art hinterland, this iconic, pioneering and influential film – which incorporates so many of what have now become gothic noir genre clichés (fairgrounds, mental asylums, mad scientists, sleepwalking) that it seems familiar from the outset – fits the mood perfectly.
As with much early silent cinema, (Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera) many others have had a go a writing a score for this. Severin’s first of the four variations he’s presenting during his Friday night residency, incorporates subtle electronics, jagged rhythms and moody strings indicative of his post-Banshees TV and Film work, and curiously enough, is close in sound to the instrumental work of fellow post-punk lynchpins Barry Adamson and David Byrne.
Bang Bang Club, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 14, 21, 28 Aug, 12.30am, (£10).