The music that When Mountains Speak makes has always sounded like the soundtrack to something. Their fluid approach to song structure, ability to let their music wander in search of every mood and emotion, scene and scenario, its filmic quality, and the apt blend of sensation and subtlety, crawl and crescendo, making it perfect for such a role. The only question has been, what might be the visual component that makes up the accompanying element to such deft and diverse music?

Well, it seems that we have found the answer. Or at least one possible answer.

The 1920’s silent film The Cabinet of Dr. Calgari is now viewed as the very definition of German Expressionism, an important artistic platform upon which future movements, especially surrealism, built themselves into a potent artistic force. And so it is only fitting that When Mountains Speak, themselves audio-surrealists, has created a soundtrack for an abridged film version. 

Formed around a coiled yet constant bass line that adds groove and intrigue, its notes often sound like questions or statements, and the music explores, evolves, and expands in all directions. With the four strings anchoring the music, the guitar can drift and interject at will, sometimes merely adding short, staccato stabs, at others adding all manner of textures. The beat is minimal, just building a subtle yet supple structure for everything else to wrap itself around, never taking a step into the limelight but always present.

Like all their music, this is the sound of sonic exploration, often finding itself at a point where things go beyond the traditions and conventions of the art of the song but forging ahead anyway. And with the accompanying visual, the music gathers added depth, not just acts of adventurous and artful audio whim but now matching the dark and devilish imagery of the film, the brooding sensations, the feeling of barely contained madness, and the strangeness and terror that lurks within.

And like the silent film that it gives voice to, the music communicates all of this without words, as has always been the band’s way. Yet, such a pairing of freeform music and revolutionary acts of cinema is the perfect vehicle for the band. Here’s to more of the same in the future.

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