Playful electronica, spheric ambient sounds, experimental indie pop: With their numerous albums and diverse projects crossing the boundaries of various musical genres, the globally celebrated band múm has never fit into prevalent categories. On 13 and 14 February, the Icelanders return to Berlin as a trio in order to present a special silent film concert in the context of the series of UM:LAUT: Together with the percussionist Samuli Kosminen, the founding members of múm, Gunnar Örn Tynes and Örvar Smárason, perform an improvised live score to “People on Sunday”, a masterpiece of silent film at Radialsystem V. We are excited!
The semi-documentary film, which is rarely screened these days, was already considered a milestone of cinema shortly after its release in 1930 – and also served as a springboard to Hollywood for its makers Billy Wilder, Edgar Ulmer, Fred Zinnemann and the Siodmak brothers. For this classic, a vivid portrait of Berlin and its young inhabitants by the end of the 1920s, a film score never existed. In most cases the screenings of the film were accompanied with songs by Marlene Dietrich. Therefore it is high time the electronica and post-rock explorers of múm dedicate themselves to this contemporary document in the city of its creation in the frame of two unique concert evenings on the shores of the Spree River!
UM:LAUT X Jetztmusik Festival present
múm plays “Menschen am Sonntag” – silent film concert
13 & 14 February | 20:00 | Radialsystem V
Tickets are available now at Radialsystem’s box-office and online!
múm, “possibly the most original Icelandic band” (ByteFM), was founded by Gunnar Örn Tynes and Örvar Smárason in 1997, later joined by twin sisters Kristín Anna and Gyða Valtýsdóttir. Their original and unique sound as well as the playful experimentation with traditional, electronic and unconventional instruments has quickly turned the band into one of the most popular acts from far North. During the last years the former quartet from Reykjavík has merged into an open collective exploring the boundaries of experimental listening experiences with various musician friends and in unpredictably changing lineups. Besides seven albums, several EPs and singles on Morr Music and Fat Cat Records, they were involved in numerous collaborations and projects such as a score to the film “Battleship Potemkin” by Sergei Eisenstein, music for the theatre piece “Blái hnötturinn” by Andri Snær Magnason, or the recent and much acclaimed orchestra composition “Drowning” with pianist Hauschka and the MDR Sinfonieorchester. With Samuli Kosminen, a musician who regularly joins the band on tour will be on stage for the two concerts at Radialsystem V. He is one of the most sought-after and adventurous percussionists and producers of Scandinavia. Besides his virtuosity and unique sound creations, his rare live performances are particularly striking due to his extensive array of tools comprising collected and found objects and instruments.
People on Sunday is regarded as one of “the outstanding works of the German silent film avantgarde” (The International Encyclopedia of Film). In a semi-documentary manner, the film depicts the lives of young people in the metropolis of Berlin by the end of the 1920s. Although the film falls into the final stage of the great era of German silent cinema, it is neither nostalgic nor old-fashioned, but – with its unconventional and surprising images of people, locations and atmospheres, which are captured in a documentary style – it appears more like a protest against the beaten tracks of the old narrative cinema. Apart from a few well-known protagonists such as the modern dancer Valeska Gert, the film replaces star actors and practised movements with amateur actors and a fresh, spontaneous way of acting. The still undestroyed scenery of Berlin, its people, its streets, the Grunewald Forest, and the Havel River serve both as setting and as supernumeraries – in “People on Sunday“, not much is happening, but its charming, honest and slightly ironic observation of the capital city in a summery weekend atmosphere make the film a vivid, entertaining and timeless document. For the then very young filmmakers, the film, which was created in partly chaotic and precarious production conditions, was both an adventure and a springboard – with Billy Wilder winning several Oscars in his career to come. The history of its creation makes the film one of the first independent films and a forerunner of the neorealism of the Postwar Era.
We are happy to present the two silent film concerts in cooperation with Jetztmusik Festival Mannheim. The annual festival has become a major cultural event in the region of Mannheim and beyond since its first edition in 2007 – with electronic music encountering film, literature or fine arts in extraordinary formats and in diverse locations. Following an evening curated by UM:LAUT in Mannheim, this project marks a continuation of the cooperation between our series in Berlin and the Jetztmusik Festival.