Review from Sound of Silence by Lyon Beckers

Nothing gets me out of the house quite like a new music concert, and I can back this up with statistics because Timepoint Ensemble’s Sound of Silence is actually the only thing I’ve managed to drag myself out of the house for in months. And I didn’t even wind up regretting it!     

Sound of Silence featured an eclectic performance of sound and film where each piece was uniquely varied. The first piece, The Arrest by Yannis Kryiakides featured a purely typographical animation of a text written by George Perec, where he describes a tense dream about evading the police. The music as performed by the Timepoint Ensemble provided an engaging experience as the narrator describes his predicament through flashing text, blending drama with tongue-in-cheek humor (sparking at least one laughing outburst from the audience) all while the ensemble expresses the emotional affect. 

Up next was The Gift, a film by Julio Pot and scored by Gabriel Mălăncioiu, presenting an animation in a more conventional sense, with a narrative guided by silent characters in a cartoon. Illustrator’s pen and composer’s quill become one as lines are drawn to the tune of lilting melodic phrases. Make no mistake, the instrumentalists do not provide a tune to serve as background music to a narrative, but become actors in the presentation of the action, moving synchronously with the characters and scenes (though not literally). 

Finally, the evening ends with Oddboy and Errdog by Marcus Fjellström, an eerie little film which combines both animation approaches, blending typography with character animation. The narrative is driven like a video game, with the protagonists’ objectives laid out beforehand, most action played out like in a side-scrolling game, and dialogue presented in animated text. The introduction even makes a nod to Castlevania 2, referencing the phrase “What a horrible night to have a curse”, stating “what a horrible night to hear a knock on the door”, before also presenting a laid out map of the hospital the protagonists would be traveling through, just like a mansion a player might travel through in Castlevania (again, I don’t get out much). The music is also approached much like the sound design in a video game, where electronics provide diegetic sound such as the ambient noises of the hospital (and the aforementioned knock on the door), while the instrumentalists provide the non-diegetic sound, such as background music.

The Timepoint Ensemble’s commitment to the medium of silent film is apparent in the way they programmed this concert, demonstrating the different ways artists can approach the art-form, and illuminating newcomers like me that there’s more to it than just Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin. The Sound of Silence was programmed cleverly and executed fantastically.
Also I bought some cool buttons while I was there. So that was cool.