Sunrise 1996-1997

Film with live instrumental music and songs

Collaboration Cartoons + Close up

For the project Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, Zita Swoon made a new score for the first film German combat pilot and director Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau made in the U.S. in 1927. The script by Carl Mayer is based on a story by Herman Sudermann which a man decides to kill his wife at the request of his mistress, only to fall in love with her again. Sunrise is widely regarded as a classic of the silent movie genre.

For the score, Zita Swoon was inspired by the theme of the countryside’s superiority over the decadence of the new world, the images of the big city and the naivety of the story.

The instrumental and vocal songs, which evoke the emotions of the film, were primarily composed for a live show. At this event, the artists where seated beneath the screen, lit by faint blue light while they performed the score.

A few months later, in 1997, the band recorded the live album Music inspired by Sunrise, a film by F.W. Murnau.

According to Stef Kamil Carlens, this project shed new light on the band, because it released them from the format of the pop song and introduced them to a musical universe with endless possibilities.

Calendar Sunrise archive

Album

Artists

Stef Kamil Carlens, Aarich Jespers, Tomas De Smet, Tom Pintens, Klaas Janszoons, Benjamin Boutreur, Piet Jorens.

Quotes

“Film music not accompanied by film is usually difficult, but Sunrise is an exception. The CD is split up into 25 entertaining pieces, each has its own feel and they vary in style between pop, circus music and avant-garde. Easy Tune and cabaret-ish jazz (all of this in a remix of Tom Waits and Eric Satie) Of course, it is and remains film music, but rather than being an accompaniment, the music is piercing and illustrative so it usually doesn’t take much to think up your own scenes in a chilling film noir”
Erik van Den Berg for Oor

“It was nothing less than a culture shock, the confrontation of contemporary sounds from Moondog Jr with Sunrise by Murnau, a silent film masterpiece. The experiment in the Halls of Bruges can basically be called a success.”
Antoine Legat for De Morgen

“It appeared to be something that Stef Kamil Carlens and his people had a handle on. Improvisation, artistic development, creating images through music; these are things that form the fundament of Zita Swoon”
JS for Brabants Dagblad

“Reviving the heroic epic of the silent film, the Belgian band humbles itself before the giant of the seventh art”
Etienne Tordoir for La Libre Belgique

Interact