Sciopero (Strike)

Sciopero (Strike)

Composing new soundtracks for existing films has become a vogue in recent years. Philip Glass writes elegantly framed chamber operas (_La belle et la bête; Dracula_); Asian Dub Foundation finds new drama in _The Battle of Algiers_; and Eisenstein’s _Battleship Potemkin_ is torpedoed by the Pet Shop Boys’ lacklustre electronics. If you’re going to make a new soundtrack, you’d better have some ideas. Piedmont’s Yo Yo Mundi have plenty of ideas and it’s their riveting music that ensures that, in their hands at least, Eisenstein gets a more sympathetic treatment. *Sciopero* – in all its hanging harmonies, upbeat militancy and haunting accordion solos – is a supple and emotive soundtrack that is worthy of Enrico Morricone himself. Nevertheless, the Italian quintet didn’t choose an easy film. *Strike*, Eisenstein’s 1926 silent film, has a leaden plot: set in 1912, an innocent worker is driven to suicide by unjust accusations; his comrades strike for decent working conditions; the bosses, in league with crooks and the army, march against them; slaughter ensues. It’s easy to hear the passages of escalating tension: the band ratchets up the tempo; drums, guitars and voices chanting ‘Scioperi!’ press in on the attention. Like waiting for a cloudburst, the floating sound wafts until the band, dominated by its wonderfully melancholic accordion, takes up the tune again.

New Internationalist issue 374 magazine cover This article is from the December 2004 issue of New Internationalist.
You can access the entire archive of over 500 issues with a digital subscription. Get a free trial »

Subscribe   Ethical Shop