Apparat (It’s Complicated / Mute Records)
German electronic musician Sascha Ring, known by the moniker Apparat, and his long-time collaborator Philipp Thimm have released the first of their soundtracks series: Capri-Revolution. Composed for Mario Martone’s 2018 Italian-French drama of the same name, the score combines acoustic strings with Apparat’s more recognisable abrasive electronic sound.
Capri-Revolution captures the central theme of the film: conflict between tradition and progress. La Gravidanza, one of the album’s strongest tracks, is an unorthodox harmony of futuristic electronic glitches and a more traditional deep cello, representing this ideological struggle.
Reflecting Ring’s desire to “design sounds rather than beats”, tracks like Silia, Plidoh and EC Blip never quite reach a climax. Instead, they gently fade away, an approach that is well-suited to the film’s beautiful sweeping shots of Capri, Gaeta and Cilento.
Ring is no stranger to the big screen. His music has been used in ski films, such as Light The Wick and A Few Words, and in more mainstream entertainment like Skins, Breaking Bad and Taken 3. You may also recognise Ring as one half of Moderat, his collaboration with Modeselektor.
He won the Picciono Award at the 72nd Venice International Film Fiesta for Martone’s 2014 film, Leopardi, and was nominated for Best Score at the David di Donatello Awards. In an interview with NBHAP, Ring explained: “Film scores are a good opportunity to make money as a musician. Live playing still works, if you don’t have complex tour setups”.
Some tracks like Paestum Neruvola are complex enough to work independently of the film, whilst others seem strangely out of place. Electricity is a minute-long crackle of synth, which in the film makes sense as an accompaniment to a flickering, organically-powered lightbulb, but as a standalone track it struggles.
It is, however, more enjoyable to listen to Capri-Revolution in isolation than to watch the film in its entirety. Despite an admirable lead performance by Marianna Fontana, the dialogue is frequently forced and awkward and rapidly deteriorates as the language shifts uneasily between Italian and English. In fact, the soundtrack is the best thing Martone’s film has to offer.
Apparat doesn’t always hit the mark, but when he does it’s usually quite special. Soundtracks: Capri-Revolution is one of his better albums and worth a listen if you’re looking for cinematic, intelligent dance music.