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Silent Film Concert & Record Release: múm plays „Menschen am Sonntag“

„Fortunately múm does not play themselves to fore but see themselves – just like the piano players in the early times of silent film – as accompanying musicians. This works so well that one can imagine the 74 minutes as an album. The audience is of the same opinion – and applauds enthusiastically!“ (taz – die tageszeitung about the UM:LAUT shows in 2016)

The globally celebrated band múm plays a live score to a masterpiece of silent film: After their celebrated performances in the last two years, the Icelanders return to the stage of UM:LAUT right in time for Berlinale. Together with the percussionist Samuli Kosminen, the founding members of múm, Gunnar Örn Tynes and Örvar Smárason, perform live music to the wonderful classic movie „Menschen am Sonntag“ – a timeless and vivid portrait of Berlin and its young inhabitants by the end of the 1920s. The semi-documentary film, which is rarely screened these days, was already considered a milestone of cinema shortly after its release in 1930 and served as a springboard to Hollywood for a group of filmmakers around the young Billy Wilder. As a film score never existed, the screenings of the film were accompanied with songs by Marlene Dietrich in most cases. This is reason enough for the electronica and postrock explorers of múm dedicating themselves again to this document of history in the city of its creation – thereby also exclusively celebrating a record release at Radialsystem V: Our friends at the renowned indie label Morr Music publish a limited vinyl edition with live tracks of the previous UM:LAUT shows.

MÚM PLAYS „MENSCHEN AM SONNTAG“
Silent Film Concerts & Record Release
17 & 18 February 2017 | 20:00 | Radialsystem V
> Tickets are available now at Radialsystem’s box-office
> Online tickets (plus fees) are available here

Playful electronica, spheric ambient sounds, experimental indie pop: With their numerous albums and diverse projects crossing the boundaries of various musical genres, the internationally acclaimed band MÚM has never fit into prevalent categories. múm was founded by Gunnar Örn Tynes and Örvar Smárason in 1997, later joined by twin sisters Kristín Anna and Gyda Valtýsdóttir. Their original and unique sound as well as the playful experimentation with traditional, electronic and unconventional instruments has quickly turned the „possibly most original Icelandic band“ (ByteFM) 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 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.

MENSCHEN AM SONNTAG (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 „Menschen am Sonntag“, 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.

An event by UM:LAUT at Radialsystem V. With kind support by the Embassy of Iceland and the Finnish Music Foundation.
Photos 1 &2 © Jacob Hansen / Photo 3 © Deutsche Kinemathek.