Political thriller Je Suis Karl, produced by German director Christian Schwochow (The Crown, Die Unsichtbare), 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 will be released on September 16, 2021.
“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 will be 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. The release of Floex’s two albums this year – Papetura and Je Suis Karl – will be celebrated in Kabinet Múz in Brno on October 14, 2021, and in MeetFactory in Prague on October 29, 2021.
Tomáš Dvořák, a.k.a. Floex, is a Czech clarinettist, composer, producer, and multimedia artist, the recipient of multiple Anděl Music Awards. His discography includes two long-play records, Pocustone and Zorya, soundtracks for the games Samorost 2, Machinarium, Samorost 3, Pilgrims, and Papetura, remix albums, and extended-play records. In 2018, he joined forces with Tom Hodge to release the album A Portrait Of John Doe.
British composer, pianist, and clarinettist Tom Hodge challenges the boundaries of contemporary experimental music. He composes music for film, series, documentaries, advertising, and ballet. His most recent projects include the soundtrack for Je Suis Karl and music for the movie The Mauritanian filmed by director Kevin Macdonald. He has released several solo albums, including Piano Interrupted and Second Moon of Winter, and has pursued a long-term collaborative partnership with musician Max Cooper.