“Snowtown:Live” is an unique work created by composer Jed Kurzel. Developed in collaboration with the Krakow based Unsound, it was premiered to great acclaim at Adelaide Festival in 2014. The work is derived from his original score for the motion picture “Snowtown,” which was directed by his brother, Australian film-maker Justin Kurzel. The film tells the story of a series of infamous murders that took place in South Australia in the 1990s, mostly in the under-privileged suburbs of Adelaide. The trial was one of the longest and most publicised in Australian history and the subsequent revelations shook and horrified the whole country.
Jed Kurzel performs his ominous, hypnotic score live with a six-piece band including guitar, mandolin, synth and percussion.
Marcel Weber (MFO) draws on unseen footage shot during production of “Snowtown”, which has been provided by warp films, allowing the score to rise to the surface, with the story of the murders buried amongst music and imagery.
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„Music that articulates images, images that articulate music – this is the essence of a good soundtrack. In this format, Snowtown: Live allows its audience to immerse themselves in the visceral, pure, artistic elements of image and sound.” – ArtsHub
„The most powerful metaphor, however, is an outtake too subjective for a filmmaker to use: fingers splayed messily over the camera’s lens, obscuring our view. You don’t want to see this, it implores.” – The Quietus
„The project is impressively realised, though from an outsider’s perspective it’s hard to know what to make of this apparent need to revisit the trauma.” – The Guardian
„The footage had been worked into a kind of ‘almost narrative’ – or a series of character studies that you didn’t quite understand. Watching it unfold put me in mind of being a child in a dangerous and incomprehensible situation, where the danger was simply a sense of menace that you didn’t know how to get away from. It conveyed that there were things here to understand, but you couldn’t just quite find a safe enough place to do so.” – Radio Adelaide
„Endless shots of endless suburbia, Australia’s searing skies filtered to an ominous lead colour – it’s unsettling but strangely romantic, evocative of the continent-country’s sheer unbridled massiveness.” – Drowned in Sound
„The footage will be an “impressionistic” assemblage arranged “instrumentally” on the night by Berliner Marcel Weber in a partly improvised arrangement where “everyone is playing off each other”. ” – ABC Arts
6th March 2014 – Adelaide Festival, Townhall of Adelaide, Australia
13th June 2014 – Dark Mofo Festival, MONA, Hobart, Australia
16th Oct 2014 – Unsound Festival, Kijów Centrum, Krakow, Poland
“In conversation with Jed Kurzel, I developed an atmospheric journey through Australian societies’ periphery, visiting damaged urban landscapes and their deprived residents – precarious, brutalized, yet utterly human, living and loving.
All imagery is lost in reverie: part gentle dream, part nightmare; telling a story in abstract, supporting the musical spirit of the concert.
The atmospheric free-flowing narrative is subtly present. It is a carefully crafted dream, opening with a meditation on enviroment and slowly introducing humanity, becoming increasingly disrupted by flawed film material – distortions, camera shakes, over-exposed footage, filmstrip beginnings and ends, outtakes, etc. This material is used to create a subliminal tension, reminiscent of the violence that has tormented Adelaides suburbs.
Warp Films kindly provided unused original film reels to use as the basis of the performance. Beyond sifting through the material and building a new narrative out of it, my work was to prepare supporting, non-obtrusive special effects. These included time manipulation of sequences, used to establish a surreal atmosphere or to highlight overlooked details in the periphery of images, as well as creative grading and post production. Much of the footage needed to be colour-treated to match connecting shots, while keeping the dull, seemingly untreated look.”