When I first heard Somnambulistic Tunes by Thorsten Quaeschning's Picture Palace Music, I was fairly dissapointed. I did not understand why it sounded like it did. The sparse arrangement made me consider the album as very boring, and quite effortless - in a negative sense.
As the cover notes suggested, this was album was a inspired by Robert Wiene's silent movie Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, but it actually works as a soundtrack, at least with one of the many versions of the films that exist.
So I got the idea to put the music of the album (which runs continuously) on top of the film - which I had to find somewhere on the net. Although I used a slightly shorter version than the one Thorsten composed to, I came to understand the music much, much more. I have now memories from the film printed on my retina, and applaud the music for its cinematographic quality. The music is much more laid-back and mellow compared to the music that accompanied the film in earlier versions, which sounds to me like horrible cliché horror music.
So I made the movie for my own pleasure, but faced some troubles while editing, as the music and scenes made different transitions at various points. But there was indeed a remarkable correlation between sounds and sights, and in particular the track Help, Murder Help came out pretty well, if I may say so myself.
I showed that clip to a friend of mine, who's sometime in contact with Thorsten himself, and he passed it on together with my question, if I could put it on this blog, to which Thorsten replied, that someone else owned the copyright for the images, and I was adviced not do so. Not because of the music featured, but because the copyright holders hardly would be flattered.
I had the pleasure to talk with Thorsten after Tangerine Dream's Edinburgh Eye Concert, where we briefly discussed this video clip. He told how much each frame of the film would cost, if they wanted to release the album as a dvd with the silent movie. No wonder they didn't. And if it was already public domain, we would obviously have had a dvd by now.
When I listen to the album now, it’s not the best from Picture Palace Music, but each track has that inner film running, whether it’s the chase in the sequencer driven Help Murder Help or the old man lying in his bed, during the atmospheric piano piece, Invastigation.
Moving pictures or not, check out this album by any means, from Tangerine Dream’s talented keyboarder and composer. It wins with further listens.
And don’t forget that Picture Palace Music gives another silent movie concert in Berlin’s Kino in der Kulturbrauerei, the 19th February 2010. This time it’s The Battleship Potemkin from 1925 that gets a score from Thorsten and company.