Soundtrack to a Silent Film

Soundtrack To A Silent Film is a contemporary electronic soundtrack to the epic 1914 Italian film, Cabiria directed by Giovanni Pastrone. The rich soundtrack uses a textured harmonic flavour and fuses elements of improvisation with electronica. Along with more traditional orchestrated sections EP Smith used sub bass, crunchy snares, clicky noises and a barrage of cymbals to create this work.

EP Smith uses electronics and live instruments within his work and throughout Soundtrack To A Silent Film he plays guitar, double bass, electric bass and keyboards, as well as using analogue electronics units and a laptop.

The album was composed, produced and performed by EP Smith throughout 2015. In autumn 2015 Epistrophe Smith played three live performances along to the feature length version of the film in the UK, these videos are taken from the third performance.

Episode #01 - a glitchy, dramatic building electronic track with guitar, piano and analogue bass.

Episode #02 - a haunting three part track. Parts 1 & 3 use double bass, piano and saxophone. Part 2 is a groovy track with strings on top.

Episode #03 - delayed double bass effects, glitchy FX and looped bass merge into a heart wrenching unusual growling bass line.

Episode #04 - the love theme uses a delayed piano melody over a simple distorted bass line.

Episode #05 - an ambient track with bowed double bass and crashing white noise waves.

Episode #06 - delayed guitar, melodic bass and glitchy drums with orchestral hits.

Episode #07 - down-tempo track with backward synth and underlying drum & bass groove.

Episode #08 - building drum & bass track with delayed FX and an undercurrent of jazz.

Episode #09 - a looped electric bass riff built on harmonics over a jazz drum groove.

Episode #10 - synth pads underly melodic tuned percussion with a techno driven jazz groove.

Episode #11 - acoustic guitar intro with synth pads and bass melody.

Episode #12 - building strings underlying melodic delayed piano.

Giovanni Pastrone’s film spectacular is one of the most influential ever made yet, for decades it was available to the public only in a severely truncated version.

On April 18, 1914, Cabiria premiered in Turin, Italy, the home of it’s production company Italia Films. Within a month it was screened privately in New York and shortly thereafter settled into a highly successful run at a legitimate theatre: The Knickerbocker.

Today Cabiria continues to draw critical praise. “A visually dazzling film filled with stunning revelations. It’s stupendous sets and elegant costumes in their meticulousness and grandeur, could have been inspired by paintings. A text could be written about the impact of Pastrone’s experiments in lighting and camera movement, decisive in freeing the movies from the proscenium” - Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times.

The original 1914 soundtrack is a piano accompaniment. Watch the original film HERE.

EP Smith 2015