Thomas Köner wraps ‘Metropolis’ into 21st century sounds | Culture

“Music belongs to the moment it is being performed. It's like the food you store in the fridge: it doesn't last forever, it has a short expiration date. It is not necessary to engrave anything in stone, it makes me happy to compose for the here and now and establish a dialogue with people in a specific situation. ” It's that clear Thomas Köner (Düsseldorf, 54 years old), which this Friday premieres a new soundtrack for Metropolis by Fritz Lang, a 1927 science fiction classic, which is screened in the Center for Contemporary Creation of Andalusia (C3A), In cordoba.

“I think the result will create a feeling of intimacy and proximity between the public and the images of Metropolis It will allow each viewer to turn it into something personal, ”the artist reflected during a rehearsal, hours before the absolute premiere of his new composition that merges with the 150-minute footage of the film. The film is projected in full, as it was released in 1927.

"Metropolis it was a great production in every sense. In the twenties, the UFO studios in Berlin made about 20 films a year, but when this story of men and machines was filmed, the entire budget and effort was used in just that movie. The film was unsuccessful and the producers were cutting and altering it. Since then, each generation has made its own approach to this great work. One of the best known versions was the one that has a soundtrack by Giorgio Moroder in 1984, which is horrible, but it was a great success, ”said Köner, a reference of electronic music with classical training that began playing the violin at five years.

Composer, visual artist and producer, Köner has put music to about thirty silent films commissioned by the Louvre, Pompidou and D’Orsay museums in Paris; o La Casa Encendida, in Madrid, where he premiered his soundtrack for Nanuk, the Eskimo (Flaherty, 1922). The C3A, where last year he presented his music for Splendor (Murnau, 1926), who had performed for the Louvre, also commissioned for the occasion the soundtrack for the only Team 57 film (Film experience nº1. Theoretical basis: Interactivity of the plastic space, from 1957).

“You can always love a good painting, but the same does not happen with music because it ages at high speed. With popular themes, after five months you can say they are old. In the first 10 seconds of a melody you can identify it and place it at a specific time. The feeling that music produces for you is very deep and exciting, but also fleeting, ”says the composer, who at 18 already made a first version to Metropolis with his punk band of which, applying his own theory, he doesn't want to know anything today.

On this occasion, the version that opens in the Caja Negra space of the C3A - which depends on the Andalusian Center for Contemporary Art (CAAC) -, has not only recovered all the footage of the film, thanks to a private copy in 16 millimeters found in Buenos Aires in 2008, It has also corrected the sequence of the assembly that had been altered several times and that in the original credit titles includes a whole declaration of intentions: “The mediator between the brain and the hands must be the heart”.

In addition to musically renewing the great silent film titles, including Nosferatu (Murnau, 1922) Y The Golem (Wegener, 1920), Köner has published about 15 electronic music albums. The last, Motus (Mille Plateaux), will be out next week. The artist, who lives between Nice and Belgrade, dares even with Beethoven himself who says he will "deconstruct" in his next project: the soundtrack of Beethoven's life (Hans Otto, 1927) who plans to release this year, when they turn 250 years old.


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