Friday, July 12, 2013

SOUNDTRACK// Paul Mercer: The Hands of Orlac

Robert Wiene's 1924 silent horror film 'The Hands of Orlac' is an excellent piece of cinema. The influential German director takes the surreal expressionism of his 1920 magnum opus 'The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari' and combines it with the strikingly realistic. Instead of small, stylised stages, Wiene opts for far grander locations. His use of space and light is infinitely more refined, and the opening train crash is one of the most stark and atmospheric and believable scenes ever captured on film.

Although undoubtedly an outstanding film absent music, Paul Mercer's 21st century soundtrack is undeniably fitting. Dark and experimental, it's a neoclassical manifestation of Wiene's chilling vision. The restless unease of composers such as Rautavaara is offset beautifully by moments of climactic minimalism. Echoes of Arvo Pärt's 'Tabula Rasa' and the brooding piano of John Cage emerge from Mercer's myriad of instruments, forcing you to listen and compelling you to watch.

Listen and download the soundtrack at Paul Mercer's fascinating Bandcamp.
You should also check out 'The Hands of Orlac' on YouTube.