Silent Movies

For his new album, Silent Movies due out on Pi Recordings this month, guitarist Marc Ribot states that he’s exploring “the strange area between language and spatiality that exists partly in between music and visual image, and partly as a common property of both.” While he’s worked on several film scores in the past, such as Martin Scorsese’s The Departed and Jim Jarmusch’s Down By Law, this recording is his first intensive investigation of an issue that has fascinated him throughout his long and diverse career.

Unknown Object

Ribot’s inspiration for Silent Movies came after a New York Guitar Festival performance in January 2010, for which he presented a live score for Charlie Chaplin’s 1921 silent film, The Kid. Prior to technological developments in the late-1920s, live (and mostly improvised) scores frequently accompanied and enhanced the visual experience of moviegoers. While Ribot is revisiting this fascinating tradition, his objective is to interpret the down-and-out struggles of the Little Tramp and the Kid as a contemporary tale whose social and political message has value to present day audiences. By approaching the film as a living text, Ribot shows the power music has to historically recontextualize images and their meanings.

Marc Ribot will be performing his live score for The Kid at International House Philadelphia (3701 Chestnut Street) on Sunday, September 26 at 8pm.