One of the bravest works this year is undisputedly a collaboration between two of Bedroom Community’s wizards (and musicAddicted’s beloved artists): industrial noise-maker Ben Frost and classical composer Daníel Bjarnason. This Reykjavík-based duo took Andrei Tarkovsky’s quintessential surreal classic Solaris and created a new soundtrack for it – for passion and artistic need. For this movie released in 1972 Tarkovsky originally used Johann Sebastian Bach’s organ chorale in several different places during the film (most prominently and fittingly opening the entire movie), accompanied by synthesizer-led arrangements by Eduard Artemyev. As much as the movie is sparse, claustrophobic and symbolic, its musical accompaniment is uneasily minimalist, appropriately cryptic and impenetrable.
Frost & Bjarnason took a heavy burden of exchanging these timeless, minimal, but often repetitive and incoherent pieces with their own score: richer, more dramatic, and most importantly, very different. Somehow avoiding the full challenge of exchanging the entire soundtrack, duo performs their work with cut, fragmented footage of the film which becomes more a pastiche of perceptions and hallucinations than a full story of danger and lunacy.
Reyja, the first composition released of the upcoming Sólaris (out November 7th) works in a similar modus operandi. Its sparse subtleness is as thrilling and uneasy as it is scarily void. These long periods of near silence, or just one note carried on by a bow lightly touching one string are difficult to approach and initiate a flow of images which may connect to the plot of the movie. Sudden burst of dissonance then hints a drama by the corner but similarly to the actions in the film, these are just flashes of delusions and puzzles of lunacy. And as soon as you get used to the graduated tense, it releases and vanishes into another period of nothingness. Reyja is an apparent omen of a darkness soon coming to swallow all around. But the truth is that it has already filled the listener from within.