September 16 2021

Political thriller Je Suis Karl, produced by German director Christian Schwochow, has a strong Czech connection. The soundtrack has been created by Czech musician and composer Tomáš Dvořák, a.k.a. Floex, who joined forces with British composer and pianist Tom Hodge. The soundtrack for Je Suis Karl has just been released today.

"In this project, Tom and I built on music that we wrote together three years ago for the album A Portrait Of John Doe. While this was the first feature film for me, Tom has extensive experience with composing music for movies and series," commented Dvořák.

Co-produced by the Czech company Negativ and filmed in part in the Czech Republic, the movie features characters played by Czech actresses Anna Fialová and Elizaveta Maximová. The picture makes use of the story of a young German girl, Maxi, and her family to draw attention to rising extremism among right-wing nationalists. Je Suis Karl was premiered during this year's Berlinale film festival in the Berlinale Special section.

At the director's initiative, music for Je Suis Karl was composed based on the script before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Christian Schwochow asked for a demo, but when Tom and I set to work in Prague, we came up with a huge amount of inspired stuff within a short time, and the music became the foundation of the soundtrack. Because of the pandemic, the music itself was created on a long-distance basis. It was a game of ping-pong of sorts," Dvořák added. The soundtrack for Je Suis Karl features a unique timbre, far from the traditional symphonic sound. Instead, the sonic design relies on a fusion of dark, discordant, dirty sounds that present the symphony orchestra in a novel fashion.

Floex and Hodge created a database of loops, sounds, soundscapes, and sonic experiments with no specific compositional context. In composing music for individual scenes, they used this musical database, remixed themes and versions of compositions, and worked with vintage equipment, such as the Yamaha MT4X cassette player. Considering the large quantity of music recorded, the album contains 14 compositions from the movie itself, plus bonus tracks that did not make it into the film.

The Je Suis Karl Soundtrack is released on a black 180-gram LP and in digital format by the Czech label Minority Records. The film will appear in cinemas starting on January 13, 2022.

Je Suis Karl Soundtrack is available at online digital and streaming services:

August 26 2021

The 26th of August belongs to Zátopek, both on celluloid and on vinyl, as David Ondříček’s eponymous biopic is premiered in Czech cinemas and the accompanying soundtrack Zátopek by composer, singer, pianist, producer and two-time Anděl Award winner Beata Hlavenková hits the stores.
The soundtrack to Zátopek features both the grandeur of an orchestral tapestry and the intimacy of Hlavenková’s piano-playing. Guest stars who were invited to participate in the recording of the album include trumpeter Oskar Török and bassist Rasťo Uhrík.

The 14 tracks owe their final sound to the various characters’ leitmotifs, running motifs at certain tempos - BPM - based on the average speed of Zátopek on the running tracks, allusions to folk melodies, processed effects, raw piano, orchestra, voice, samples and combinations of them all.

The story as told by the LP follows a slightly different sequence than on the silver screen. Motifs have been shortened, expanded or merged so as to ensure that the soundtrack works independently as a whole.

All of the demo tracks were created at the Czechmate studio of Beata Hlavenková, who recorded the orchestral part with the sCore Orchestra under the baton of conductor Michaela Rosza Růžičková at the music studio of Czech TV; the final mix was created by sound engineer Michal Pekárek and the album was mastered by Matouš Godík.

“Working on the album was a very beautiful task – demanding, but all the more exciting. I enjoyed touching on the folk songs that were popular with Emil and Dana, I enjoyed working musically with his running pace, I enjoyed looking for a musical expression that would befit this exceptional film – and I enjoyed the thought of sending out into the world at least a fractional sample of our musical heritage, just as Zátopek and his achievements represent us in the world. I enjoyed working with sounds, piano, sound design, orchestra, trio and combining everything together. I think that courage is the common thread for the entire plot and the characters, as well as for the creators of this film,” says Beata Hlavenková.

The Zátopek Soundtrack is released digitally and on LP. Limited edition includes a 180-gram deep-red vinyl and 16-page story booklet with large-scale photographs from the film. The album cover was designed by Aleš Najbrt and Jakub Spurný from Studio Najbrt.

Zátopek Soundtrack is available at online digital and streaming services: