Accordion & soundtrack (2012) / 18’38
This composition refers of course to Coppola's masterpiece, Apocalypse Now, which I discovered in a rather unusual way : I didn't actually see the film when it was originally released, but a few years later. I first listened to the soundtrack, on an old L.P(vinyl) which was quite damaged, spoilt with scratches to the extent that the voices of Willard and Colonel Kurtz were scarcely heard. Some time after, I read Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad which Coppola adapted for his film and it was only a few years later that I saw the film in a poor suburban cinema.
What can I remember from this "Apocalypse" ?
A very efficient but completely out of control movement of the mind.., the feeling it was unbearable to listen to Kurtz's recorded voice at the beginning of the film... images of the hostile jungle and of the river, of man being lost… an impression of irrational power and a great emotion. It was a realistic and powerful lesson on war and its absurdity.
As I was beginning to work on this project, I came across that old vinyl and after listening to it, I felt it would be interesting to use that imperfect music full of scratches, so typical of old records.
Then, I started to make some links between the Apocalypse I was listening to, and this strange instrument, the accordion, an instrument which belongs to a bygone era, and which we still hear, as a French symbol in foreign films although the world it refers to is gone forever. And, in this way doesn't this instrument sound apocalyptic ?
Therefore, this piece is structured around two main themes: a rather nostalgic atmosphere created by extracts from accordion popular dance music and in the same time, a weird and uncontrolled energy in which one can still hear machine guns, screams and distorted guitar sounds.
This piece is dedicated to Pascal Contet.
First performance, Pascal Contet and Pierre Jodlowski, Clermont-Ferrand - 2012 © Yoann Sanson