The Magic Number - Refraction
Electroacoustic Excursions in Dutch Classic Cinema
Can silent cinema from the past be given a new narrative with the presence of modern sound and music?
Robin Koek, Olivier Schreuder and Jeroen van Aalst explore this idea by creating live soundtracks for (experimental) silent movies that were made between 1920 and 1970. Such a soundtrack entails the processs of comprovisation: working with a predefined electro-acoustic framework while also having a certain extent of freedom to play and adjust sounds and effects live.
Their combination of analog and digital sources, field recordings and synths, samples and sound design, accumulate in a highly idiosyncratic experience of dystopian tone and rhythm.
Their sound excursions have already led to new perspectives of Dutch movies “Philips Radio” (1931) by Joris Ivens and “Paris a l’aube” (1957) by Johan van der Keuken during the movie event La Sortie (inspired by the first commercial movie ever, by Louis Lumière) in Eindhoven in 2017.
New endeavors resulted in soundtracks for Bert Haanstra’s “Panta Rei” (1952) and Stan Brakhage’s “The Wonder Ring” (1955), of which the last one could be considered controversial, since Brakhage intentionally rejected the use of sound track for the original work. However, as the collective deeply rooted within the culture of samplism, they allow you to question the conception of cinema through sonic recontextualization of the original moving image.
Most of the recordings on this soundtrack debutalbum of The Magic Number were performed live on 6 October 2017 at Lab-1 in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
The recordings of 'Panta Rhei'and 'The Wonder Ring' were made on 23 October 2018 in Amsterdam and are also unedited live takes.
About the collective
Robin Koek is a highly talented electroacoustic composer, performer and sound designer. Besides his autonmous work he is well known as one half Berlin-based techno-due Artefakt, and solo as Cyspe, with releases on Delsin, Field, Prologue and his own Insula imprint.
Olivier Schreuder met Robin Koek when both studied Musictechnology in the Netherlands, and specializes in finding hybrid forms of traditional acoustic soundsworlds and musiccultures with contemporary electronics, as can be heard in his project Apichat Pakwan.
Jeroen van Aalst is a devoted vinyl collector and as part of DJ collective Discos Horizontes resident at some of the largest festivals of the Netherlands.
released February 9, 2019
Robin Koek: modular synthesizers, space echo, DSP
Olivier Schreuder: modular synthesizers, turntables, cassette-player, DSP
Jeroen van Aalst: turntables
Mastering: Robin Koek
Record cover design: Olivier Schreuder
Concept & PR: Jeroen van Aalst