Director Jim Jarmusch and composer Carter Logan (aka avant-garde post-rock duo SQÜRL) perform live to four surrealist and dreamlike silent films by artist Man Ray. They’ll create the semi-improvisational scores onstage in Walker Cinema, with loops, synthesizers, and effected guitars that display the band’s experimental, ambient, and drone-like tendencies. Featuring Le retour à la raison (Return to Reason) (1923), Emak Bakia (1926), L’étoile de mer (The Starfish) (1928), and Les mystères du château de dé (The Mysteries of the Château de Dé) (1929). 68 min.
SQÜRL is an enthusiastically marginal rock band from New York City who like big drums & distorted guitars, cassette recorders, loops, feedback, sad country songs, molten stoner core, chopped & screwed hip-hop, and imaginary movie scores. SQÜRL began in 2009 when Jim Jarmusch and Carter Logan teamed with producer/engineer Shane Stoneback to record some original music for the film The Limits of Control.
Following these scoring sessions Jarmusch, Stoneback, and Carter continued to record new originals while also exploring the back-alleys of American country, noise, and psychedelia. In 2014, SQÜRL collaborated with Dutch lutenist Jozef Van Wissem to compose and perform the score for the film Only Lovers Left Alive. Bridging ancient and modern sounds, the score serves as a reflection of the distinct textures of Detroit and Tangier. Following their work on Only Lovers Left Alive, Jarmusch and Logan began a new live sonic exploration: scoring four silent films by American Dada and Surrealist artist Man Ray. The performance had its live debut in NYC in 2015 and SQÜRL have continue to tour with the films to this day. With their 2016 score for the film Paterson, SQÜRL dove deeper into the ocean of ambient electronic music on a quest for new ecstatic sounds to enrich the poetry of the film. The following year, the band released EP #260 on Sacred Bones Records, embracing their darker approach to density, tension, elation and release.
The band’s most recently released recording—the score to the The Dead Don’t Die—is a true expression of where SQÜRL stand at the center of a decade of sonic exploration. It is the culmination of their passion for analog synthesis and guitar violence. It is at once a tribute to the classic sounds of horror and sci-fi, as well as a decapitation of traditional film scores. It is naturally supernatural.
2020 will find SQÜRL back on the road and in support of their upcoming release: a tribute to the legendary cinematographer Robby Müller.
Films by Man Ray, Music by SQÜRL takes place Friday, February 7 at 7 pm in the Walker Cinema. Tickets are $25 ($20 Walker members, students, and seniors). Visit walkerart.org/cinema for tickets and info.
These titles by Man Ray are also in the Walker Art Center’s Ruben/Bentson Moving Image collection. Major support to preserve, digitize, and present the Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection is generously provided by the Bentson Foundation.