Soundtracks For The City

by Helliwell, Ian

Video 2002

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Devised and compiled by Ian Helliwell, the Soundtracks For The City series of films give a new lease of life to old Super 8 tourist footage found in flea markets and second hand shops. The uncut versions of these promotional films (1940-1970), originally silent and depicting big cities around the world, form the basis of the series. Their fine cinematography, balanced compositions and sympathetic postcard-like mood represent classic commissioned film, a genre that has now all but vanished. Helliwell asked a group of musicians he knew to compose music inspired by these nostalgic, faded city visions. At their best, the results are pretty eccentric and include the Birmingham group Pram’s subtle post-rock impressions of the Rio carnival, Tele:funken’s precise view of Geneva’s idyllic history, Testcard’s hectic speeding during a motobike trip from London to Paris, and last but not least, Op:l Bastard’s stylized electro-acoustic adventures in merry Copenhagen.

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