‘Fantômas’ is a haunting, suspenseful, crime-ridden album full of crooks, clumsy policemen, and bustling Parisian street life. If this sounds more like a movie than an album, that’s because it’s both. Amiina’s forthcoming album, released November 25 by Mengi, was composed as a score to the 1913 silent thriller of the same name. We asked the band to walk us through each track. Spoiler alert.
As we started to work on the soundtrack to the 1913 silent film ‘Juve contre Fantômas’, we started right at the beginning of it, fitting musical ideas with the introduction titles and the iconic ever-changing faces of the evil Fantômas. In this track many of the motifs used later on the album can be heard, for example the Fantômas theme.
Juve & Fandor
This track is composed around the clumsy and comic police couple that never succeed in catching the evil Fantômas. It ends down in the basement of a deserted haunted villa…
This little tune, a waltz, came from playing around with the atmosphere of the busy streets of Paris in 1913. A beautiful woman awaits Fantômas, who then secretly passes her a letter with information on the next steps for the big crime. After a goofy car chase we end up on a train.
Another tune that was brought to life through footage of bustling Paris street life. A man orders a glass of wine at street café as he waits for the woman he’s chasing. And again we end up on the train, that leads us to the next track.
We composed this track quite early on in the process, since it is one of the more dramatic scenes of the film.
The criminal plot that has been in the brewing is revealed here: The armed robbery on the train, resulting in a brutal train crash with the Simplon Express ,where the two policemen manage to escape at the last minute.
This track captures the atmosphere of devious plans in the making, aimed to lure the police into a trap. Telegrams are sent. There is fog by the river.
Entrepôts De Bercy
The shooting scene. The cops are ambushed by Fantômas and his gang, and end up hiding in wine barrels and rolling into the Seine… Slightly bizarre and featuring sounds of the Venice lagoon recorded during sound check at the Venice Biennale in 2009.
A slightly melancholic dance tune set at the fashionable Crocodile restaurant. Two policemen are spying on Fantómas. And there is dancing and drinking. The scene ends with the two policemen catching Fantómas, but he gets away. The music emphasizes that with a little drum action in the end of the song…
Melancholic little tune about the turmoil that follows dating a sympathetic criminal. It’s hard…
More action. A big snake. Weird costumes. Men hiding in baskets. And a song that is all that.
Action time. Fantómas enters the haunted villa, followed by at least a hundred policemen. He manages to hide and the movie ends with Fantómas blowing up the haunted villa. The song is full of effects and a lot of string action and drum action… and it is ridiculously fast!
The release of Fantômas will be celebrated November 26 at Mengi, starting at 20:00. And don’t miss their release concert at Bíó Paradís on December 3 along with a special screening of the silent film!
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