Drummer Piet Collins, bassist Christmas Hollow, and guitarist Ben Michael X of the Sydney-based band Sand Pebbles met while writing for the Australian soap opera Neighbours. Eventually joined by singer-guitarists Andrew Tanner and Tor Larsen and keyboardist Murray Ono, they have since released several albums, including 2010’s A Thousand Wild Flowers (Double Feature).
“The composition of the film image is striking chiefly because only black, white and grey masses, black lines on a white ground, or white lines on a black ground, provide the raw material. A comparison can be made with music, in which articulate statements are possible only because definite pitches of sounds have been arranged in scales, and only these sounds are used in a composition.” —Rudolf Arnheim, Film as Art, 1957
There has always been something magical—even essential—about the melding together of music and black-and-white moving images, starting with the use of a piano to accompany the first public screenings of the Lumière Brothers’ films in 1895. For the 12th Esopus CD, we took a cue from film theorist Rudolf Arnheim’s musings on the similarity of means between the two forms and asked 11 musical acts to select a black-and-white film to use as inspiration for a song. Some contributors took a more literal approach, reflecting on, or expanding upon, the film’s narrative; others created what are essentially postfacto soundtracks. They all prove to be fascinating complements to their source material.
LIST OF FILMS: