Rooftops Feature: Sound of Noise dir. Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjärne Nilsson

By Lee Cahill


Sound of Noise  is an action movie for composers and drummers. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?? It’s a film about a group of “musical terrorists” that break into public places simply to create music through use of their new surroundings. (Let me just stop you right there and assure you that this is not a documentary.) They’re “terrorists” because they generally destroy the place that they break into while making music. (Ooooh, scary.)

This feature-length film is based on the short Music For One Apartment and Six Drummers, and both films are based on “The Art of Noise” manifesto by Luigi Russolo (the Father of Noise Music). The manifesto basically explores the theory that prior to the industrial revolution the world was rather quiet and that afterwards the human ear adjusted to the loud noises of machines. Therefore, thought Russolo, we should create music out of the new noises and timbres that exist in our new, industrialized world.

In keeping with Russolo’s theory, the entire film is built around the idea of playing machines like percussive instruments. So the songs performed within the film are all rhythmic arrangements of sound effects.  When you start thinking about how much time it must have taken to first compose the songs out of sound effects, then choreograph the movements of the drummers, and then finally edit the scene to make sure the music and visuals are all synced up and all of the sounds are visually explained, it’s pretty damn impressive. It was no surprise to find out that the “actors” playing the six drummers in the film are also the musicians that composed the score.

Though the “instruments” are on a much more grandiose scale in Sound of Noise, check out the short film Music For One Apartment and Six Drummers to get an idea of the performances in the feature film.

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