REVIEW Frank Wiedemann ‘Symphony of Now (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)’ [Bigamo]

Times are changing, but isn’t that always the case? While the old soul in us wishes the present preserved the purities of the past, the young one also secretly, or not so secretly, welcomes change. Parallels of this can be drawn from all walks of life but most relevant to us is in music: while the timeless classics whose fundamentals are used as lessons today are, just that, classics, there is beauty in innovation. With this in mind it makes sense that Innervisions Frank Wiedemann, alongside other notable Berlin artists, was gifted the task of musically narrating the documentary ‘Symphony of Now’ by Johannes Schaff, based on the structure of Berlin’s daytime 1927 classic ‘Sinfonie der Großstadt’. His company includes Thomas Fehlmann, a Swiss born electronic music veteran; the duo Modeselektor who represent the glitch, electro house and hip hop vein of music; Hans-Joachim Roedelius who brought his talent in experimental and ambient electronic music to the table, and the young electronic music DJ and producer, Alex Do.

The soundtrack opens nostalgically; perfect tonal melodies soar high above mechanical clickings that could be mistakened for the soothing sounds of train tracks. This ambiguity allows for our mind to go blank, creating the canvas we need to surrender our preconceptions to the experience, both visual and auditory. While it may have started minimally, the further we go on the more intricate it becomes. As if to say you are no longer an outsider the music starts to reveal recurring motives and rhythmic patterns. Pairing instrumental and electronic sounds, no vocals with vocals, we’ve discoveredourselves in yet another unfamiliar place, with music as our guide.

In a few passages Wiedemann’s techno capacities shine through, paying homage to the thriving and contemporary electronic music scene, but its balanced with a more timeless outlook. Dropping beats causing bars to blur into one another; playing with time and key signatures are only a few compositional tricks the German native employs, all to the effect of bringing this soundtrack to life.

As a whole Wiedemann’s soundtrack is lyrical and narrative, and as an individual it is soft and detailed, thick and purposeful. Versatile and adaptable it showcases the artist’s natural musicianship while making the city of Berlin the real star. For those who’ve been there or live there it rekindles a certain pride in the quirks and a love from the familiar, and for those who’ve never been, an urge to go.

Symphony of Now’ by Johannes Schaff was first screened on July 12th, 2018 and the soundtrack was released on Wiedemann’s own label ‘Bigamo’ on the same day. (Tess)