• Watch the video for Soundwalk Collective’s ‘Sarah’, shot in Jean-Luc Godard’s personal archive

    By | May 31, 2018

    ‘Sarah’ is taken from new album What We Leave Behind.

    Audio-visual group Soundwalk Collective have been given access to legendary French film-maker Jean-Luc Godard’s personal archive of film, outtakes and reel-to-reel tapes to craft their new album What We Leave Behind.

    Released on 18th May, the group have shared the last of three videos shot within the archive, providing a mesmeric, Baraka-like look at the historical audio ephemera which form the basis of each composition.

    You can watch the previous videos for ‘L’impossible du possible’ here and Ricardo Villalobos’ remix of ‘Death Is The Enemy’ here.

    Speaking of the project in a recent VF feature, Soundwalk Collective co-founder and film-maker Stephan Crasneanscki said: “We went into the archives, scanned most of the tapes and recomposed and recut a sound piece… On some of these you could hear Godard himself directing actors or actresses just after the cut, or preparing the actor or the director of photography just before the recording gets lost.”

    What emerges is an impressionistic series of compositions that channel these sonic fragments with processes akin to how Godard used to deploy sound in his films.

    Order your copy of What We Leave Behind here, and the remix EP, featuring contributions from Ricardo Villalobos, Jan Jelinek and Petre Inspirescu, here.

  • Ricardo Villalobos shares atmospheric remix of Soundwalk Collective’s ‘Death Is The Enemy’

    By | May 23, 2018

    The Chilean techno overlord dismantles a track built from legendary director Jean-Luc Godard’s personal archives.

    Audio-visual group Soundwalk Collective’s new album What We Leave Behind is crafted from the outtakes, reel-to-reels and ephemera of Jean-Luc Godard’s personal archives.

    To accompany the album, a special 3-track remix EP will also be released, featuring reworks by Ricardo Villalobos, Jan Jelinek and Petre Inspirescu.

    Ahead of its release on 25th May, Soundwalk Collective have shared the video by Stephan Crasneanscki for Villalobos’ chugging and fragmented techno roller, a kaleidoscopic, almost cellular journey through reels of film taken in Godard’s archive.

    Pre-order the remix EP here ahead of its release on 25th May.

    You can order the full album What We Leave Behind from the VF shop, and watch the first video from the release here.

  • Soundwalk Collective reveal new track made from Jean-Luc Godard’s personal archives

    By | May 16, 2018

    ‘L’impossible du possible’ is taken from forthcoming album What We Leave Behind.

    Audio-visual group Soundwalk Collective have been given access to legendary French film-maker Jean-Luc Godard’s personal archive of film, outtakes and reel-to-reel tapes to craft their new album What We Leave Behind.

    Ahead of its release, the group have shared the first of three videos shot within the archive, providing a mesmeric, Baraka-like look at the historical audio ephemera which form the basis of each composition.

    Speaking of the project in a recent VF feature, Soundwalk Collective co-founder and film-maker Stephan Crasneanscki said: “We went into the archives, scanned most of the tapes and recomposed and recut a sound piece… On some of these you could hear Godard himself directing actors or actresses just after the cut, or preparing the actor or the director of photography just before the recording gets lost.”

    What emerges is an impressionistic series of compositions that channel these sonic fragments with processes akin to how Godard used to deploy sound in his films.

    What We Leave Behind is released on 18th May. Pre-order it here.

    The LP will be followed by a remix EP, with reworks from Ricardo Villalobos, Jan Jelinek and Petre Inspirescu, released on 25th May, which you can pre-order here.

  • Unravelling the archive: The radical sound of Jean-Luc Godard

    By | May 16, 2018

    Drawn from the legendary film director’s personal archives, Soundwalk Collective return to the source material of new album What We Leave Behind to discuss the role of music in Jean-Luc Godard’s films and how they’ve channelled his processes into the spirit of the record.

    When he was making 1962’s Vivre Sa Vie – which follows Nana over 12 episodes as she leaves her husband and young daughter, attempts to become an actress, and ends up turning to prostitution – Jean-Luc Godard wanted to get as close to reality as possible. Made at a time when visual naturalisation was catching on, it’s what he did with sound that was particularly innovative.

    The sound design of the entire piece – everything from the dialogue to street-noise and door slams – was recorded directly in the hotels and bars in which the scenes were shot. The only post-produced sound is the music, a Michel Legrand piece, which repeats over and over without coming to a climax. Godard was presenting sounds as authentic as his images, disrupting the idea that audio needs to be ‘finished’ using foley or otherwise. Like Pierre Schaeffer’s musique concrète, Godard understood that very ‘real’ sounds could restructure our expectations of cinema.

    In a conversation with Wim Wenders, published in 1992, Godard described his approach to sound: “I start at the cutting table by looking at the pictures with no sound. Then I play the sound without the pictures. Only then do I try them together, the way they were recorded. Sometimes I have a feeling there’s something wrong with a scene — and maybe different sound will fix it. Then I might replace a bit of dialogue with dog barks, say. Or I put in a sonata. I experiment with things until I’m happy”. It’s this approach, that sound is a separate entity to images, and above all that sound is capable of ‘fixing’ a scene, that makes Godard’s use of sound so nuanced.

    Godard has made over 120 films since his debut when he emerged in the ‘60s as a nouvelle vague director. From À Bout de Souffle, his 1960 breakthrough, with its slightly out-of-sync, sometimes garish sound effects, to 2010’s Film Socialisme, for which all the sound was captured on mobile phones, sound is never an afterthought. In the same way that he pushes visual boundaries – such as his trademark jump-shots – he is consistently reconsidering what sound means in cinema. 1968’s Un Film Commes Les Autres, a film which consisted of the same 54-minute long successions of images back to back, but with different soundtracks, emphasised that for the director, sound is a structuring principle. Even small changes in sound can completely redefine a film.

    With Godard, we even get the sense that he treats soundtracks as standalone pieces of art, distinct from the films they accompany. Speaking at Cannes in 1990 – the festival which he brought to a stand-still fifty years ago in solidarity with protesters across Europe – he said, “my film without the sound will be improved. However, if you ‘see’ the soundtrack without the images, it will have an even greater impact.”

    It’s this audio-vision that drew Soundwalk Collective to Godard’s work. The NYC and Berlin based group were invited to aurally respond to Godard’s personal archive of shot film, reel-to-reels and historical ephemera, which reveal intimate moments before and after the camera rolls. The result is a six-track LP titled What We Leave Behind accompanied by a remix EP featuring reworks from Ricardo Villalobos, Jan Jelinek and Petre Inspirescu.

    For Soundwalk Collective co-founder Stephan Crasneanscki, Godard is a master of 20th century cinema because of the way he juxtaposes sound with image. “Part of Godard’s genius was that sound was thought of in the same value and the same moments as the image, so it was not a post-effect, it was a very kind of pre-existing creative tool that was as strong as the visual tools.” When Crasneanscki met François Musy, Godard’s sound engineer, and heard that Godard planned to get rid of 50 years of archives, it seemed necessary to make some kind of response to the material.

    Whether collaborating with Nan Goldin and Patti Smith or presenting work in Berghain, Soundwalk’s practice centres around physicality. They create concept albums using source material from specific locations, using microphones to pick up ambient movements (like Godard himself), and they present ambitious sound installations and live performances. In this case though, geographical space has been replaced by what Crasneanscki defines as ‘sonic and memory landscapes’.

    Whilst the project is an exploration of Godard’s use of sound in cinema, it’s also a meditation on the notion of archiving itself. Crasneanscki sees the archives, as a “sleeping memory” of not only Godard, but everyone who has worked on his films. Mistakes, as he points out, and the material artists chose to edit out of their work, can tell us as much as the work they chose to show. The archive tapes consisted of out-takes, and also of offcuts, which are the extra seconds that the sound recorder will capture either side of each take. These “mistake tapes” are valuable because of the “insights they give us to Jean-Luc Godard”. For Crasneanscki the project is a way of “somehow editing and giving new life back into Godard.”

    Crasneanscki explains how they began to carve away at the material until it became a sound piece: “Deutschlandradio financed and produced the first piece, which we approached in a very anthropological way. We went into the archives, scanned most of the tapes and recomposed and recut a sound piece. This was a cut and paste piece, that basically collects and tells the story of fragments, 20, 15, or 30 seconds, or a minute maximum, of different leftover tapes. On some of these you could hear Godard himself directing actors or actresses just after the cut, or preparing the actor or the director of photography just before the recording gets lost.”

    The initial piece was a 50-minute collage, developed into a more “spontaneous reinterpretation of the sound.” Soundwalk began recomposing what they had been working with, creating loops and making different treatments of the raw recordings, which resulted in “a more harmonious, ambient kind of composition out of the material.”

    What We Leave Behind then, is “a more subjective, more impressionist, more contemporary experience of our journey in those archives oevr the last five years.” In the end, the music is a very distant relative to Godard’s soundtracks, but the process of creating it is reminiscent of Godard’s own process. In this way the director has been, as Crasneanscki describes him, one of those artists who “basically allowed the generation behind them to push further those frontiers, those doors, that have already been opened by them,” and “steal” what they’ve created in order to produce something new.

    What We Leave Behind is out on 18th May via The Vinyl Factory, with the remixes following on 25th May. Pre-order the former here and the latter here.

  • Soundwalk Collective explore legendary director Jean-Luc Godard’s personal archive for new album

    By | May 2, 2018

    Accompanied by a remix EP featuring Ricardo Villalobos, Jan Jelinek and Petre Inspirescu.

    Audio-visual group Soundwalk Collective have been given access to legendary French film-maker Jean-Luc Godard’s personal archive of film, historical ephemera and reel-to-reel tapes to craft their new album What We Leave Behind.

    Featuring stage directions and on-set asides to rehearsals, false stars and outtakes, the recordings reveal the moments before and after the camera rolls, and provide a fascinating insight into the working process of one of the twentieth century’s great auteurs. It comes fifty years to the day since he, Francois Truffaut and Claude Lelouche publicly announced their closing of the 1968 Cannes Film Festival in solidarity with the workers and students protesting across the country.

    Speaking about the archive, Soundwalk Collective’s Stephan Crasneanscki said: “There are boxes filled with sounds, words, chaos, and also silence. For Godard sound is a musical composition and when I began listening to the tapes and heard his voice between takes, it was like little bits of life…each sound has its own value.”

    Released on 18th May, the 6-track album will also be accompanied by a remix 12″, featuring rewokrs by Ricardo Villalobos, Jan Jelinek and Petre Inspirescu which follows on the 25th May.

    Both the EP and LP feature exclusive imagery from inside Godard’s archive and is accompanied by a series of short films. The LP includes a conversation between Crasneanscki and Jean-Luc Godard’s sound engineer François Musy, printed on a translucent paper insert.

    Pre-order the album here and the remix EP here ahead of their release.

    LP Tracklist:

    Side A

    A1. La Philosophie
    A2. L’Impossible Du Possible
    A3. Champ Contrechamp

    Side B

    B1. Que La Poésie Soit D’abord Résistance
    B2. Sarah
    B3. Death Is The Enemy

    EP Tracklist:

    A: Death Is The Enemy (Ricardo Villalobos Remix)
    AA1: L’Impossible Du Possible (Jan Jelinek Remix)
    AA2: Death Is The Enemy (Petre Inspirescu Remix)

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