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21.09.2022

Jean-Luc Godard: Mixed by Soundwalk Collective

Soundtrack Experimental New Wave

The arts lost a giant last week when film director Jean-Luc Godard, the pioneer of French new wave cinema, died aged 91. Godard’s impact on cinema is hard to distill and even harder to overstate. He helped usher in an age of experimentation and destruction of form which – in many cases – played with sound to disrupt norms and challenge tradition. 

In 2018, NYC-via-Berlin collective Soundwalk Collective were invited to trawl through Godard’s personal collection of “shot film, reel-to-reels and historical ephemera” to create a revelatory archive record entitled What We Leave Behind.

Now, four years later, we invited Soundwalk Collective to create a tribute mix dedicated to the director they got to know through the tapes. Our brief was wide open and the results are compelling with fragments of the tapes restitched alongside compositions and remixes including unreleased reworks by Ricardo Villalobos.

Speaking about this new mix via email, Soundwalk’s Stephan Crasneanscki recounted the creative journey he has been on with Godard. “Jean-Luc Godard’s longtime sound engineer, Francois Musy and I drove for 10 hours, from Switzerland, where Godard lives, to Cantal, in France, where the warehouse with his archive is,” he explains. “The idea was to create a sound composition from the recordings in the archive for Deutschlandradio and Radio France Culture. Once in the warehouse, in front of that endless series of boxes full of books, tapes, notes, cut-outs, the full map of his thinking, I felt that all this fragmented material will be the genesis of our sound composition. This is how the idea of What We Leave Behind came about.” 

“Sound is its own entity and should be used this way. Each sound has its own value, its own colour. The sound of wind rippling through the leaves, a far-off airplane covering a voice, a ringing telephone, a slamming door,” he continues. “Listening to the tapes in Godard’s archive, you could feel this. Some had to be played back on a Studer J37, the same tape recorder used on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” 

“Many were full of fragments that didn’t make the final cut, that were never meant to be heard and that now, through this new sound composition, were resurrected. The edits and cuts, the microphone checks, before and after every clap, everything that was left behind, was now a reflection, rather than an omission. They speak to the passing of time. They are timestamps. The question is, when do we stop, when is a story finished, when do we need to stop? In one of the boxes I found some pages of Paul Klee that Godard has underlined in red: ‘Art plays an unknowing game with the ultimate things and yet reaches them nonetheless! Art does not give the visible but, instead, makes visible’”. RIP Jean-Luc. 


See Tracklist
Sound Archives of Jean-Luc Godard, on-set recordings, placed throughout the whole mix
Soundwalk Collective – Champ Contrechamp
Jean-Luc Godard Archives – Ricardo Villalobos Reworks [unreleased]
Soundwalk Collective – L’impossible Du Possible
Soundwalk Collective – Que La Poésie Soit d'Abord Résistance
Soundwalk Collective – La Philosophie (Ricardo Villalobos Rework) [unreleased]
Soundwalk Collective – Death Is The Enemy (Petre Inspirescu Remix)
Soundwalk Collective - Sarah

Jean-Luc Godard: Mixed by Soundwalk Collective

Jean-Luc Godard: Mixed by Soundwalk Collective

The arts lost a giant last week when film director Jean-Luc Godard, the pioneer of French new wave cinema, died aged 91. Godard’s impact on cinema is hard to distill and even harder to overstate. He helped usher in an age of experimentation and destruction of form which – in many cases – played with sound to disrupt norms and challenge tradition. 

In 2018, NYC-via-Berlin collective Soundwalk Collective were invited to trawl through Godard’s personal collection of “shot film, reel-to-reels and historical ephemera” to create a revelatory archive record entitled What We Leave Behind.

Now, four years later, we invited Soundwalk Collective to create a tribute mix dedicated to the director they got to know through the tapes. Our brief was wide open and the results are compelling with fragments of the tapes restitched alongside compositions and remixes including unreleased reworks by Ricardo Villalobos.

Speaking about this new mix via email, Soundwalk’s Stephan Crasneanscki recounted the creative journey he has been on with Godard. “Jean-Luc Godard’s longtime sound engineer, Francois Musy and I drove for 10 hours, from Switzerland, where Godard lives, to Cantal, in France, where the warehouse with his archive is,” he explains. “The idea was to create a sound composition from the recordings in the archive for Deutschlandradio and Radio France Culture. Once in the warehouse, in front of that endless series of boxes full of books, tapes, notes, cut-outs, the full map of his thinking, I felt that all this fragmented material will be the genesis of our sound composition. This is how the idea of What We Leave Behind came about.” 

“Sound is its own entity and should be used this way. Each sound has its own value, its own colour. The sound of wind rippling through the leaves, a far-off airplane covering a voice, a ringing telephone, a slamming door,” he continues. “Listening to the tapes in Godard’s archive, you could feel this. Some had to be played back on a Studer J37, the same tape recorder used on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” 

“Many were full of fragments that didn’t make the final cut, that were never meant to be heard and that now, through this new sound composition, were resurrected. The edits and cuts, the microphone checks, before and after every clap, everything that was left behind, was now a reflection, rather than an omission. They speak to the passing of time. They are timestamps. The question is, when do we stop, when is a story finished, when do we need to stop? In one of the boxes I found some pages of Paul Klee that Godard has underlined in red: ‘Art plays an unknowing game with the ultimate things and yet reaches them nonetheless! Art does not give the visible but, instead, makes visible’”. RIP Jean-Luc. 

See Tracklist
Sound Archives of Jean-Luc Godard, on-set recordings, placed throughout the whole mix
Soundwalk Collective – Champ Contrechamp
Jean-Luc Godard Archives – Ricardo Villalobos Reworks [unreleased]
Soundwalk Collective – L’impossible Du Possible
Soundwalk Collective – Que La Poésie Soit d'Abord Résistance
Soundwalk Collective – La Philosophie (Ricardo Villalobos Rework) [unreleased]
Soundwalk Collective – Death Is The Enemy (Petre Inspirescu Remix)
Soundwalk Collective - Sarah
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