Brute Heart, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari

Reggie McCafferty

Brute Heart

92 years after its initial release, the silent German Expressionist film, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” finally has a soundtrack. Commissioned by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis trio Brute Heart performed a live score to a showing of the film back in October, composing 16 tracks to span the entire 71 minutes of the piece. Directed by Robert Wiene, “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” is celebrated as a pioneer in its use of sets and its dream twist ending. It is often cited as an influential work by many modern day film-makers and is acclaimed as a masterpiece in its genre.

Since forming in 2007, Brute Heart have become known for their compositional prowess pulling influence from post-punk and folk to Middle Eastern and Asiatic patterns and sounds. The band has released two full length records, their 2011 Lonely Hunter LP voted as being among Minnesota's 14 best albums of that year.

“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” soundtrack is now available through the Oakland-based Moon Glyph, who have released a cassette-version of the live score. Brute Heart uses strings, percussion, and keyboard in the performance. The music is dark and disconcerting, weaving through the film's twisting narrative in a way that blends seamlessly into the mysterious nature of the plot. Preview the first track from the release below.

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