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Short Scores: Raphael Vanoli

In Short Scores, Eye on Sound playfully pushes at the boundaries of film music. We asked a new generation of musicians and composers to create new mini film scores to accompany a short piece of film of their choice from Eye’s collection. Raphael Vanoli chose Boys Bathing - Venice (1898).

By Thijs Havens18 January 2023

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For Short Scores, Raphael Vanoli wrote a new soundtrack for Boys Bathing - Venice (1898), a fragment from Eye's collection.

Can you briefly introduce yourself?

I'm Raphael Vanoli, a guitarist and composer. I produce my own music and look for new sounds and forms, partly by new playing techniques on the electric guitar in combination with electronics. In addition to my two main projects – my solo project and my band KNALPOT with which I release records and perform a lot – I am active with a wide range of music projects: from electronic music to West African, from jazz to modern classical, pop to singer-songwriter. I often write and participate in modern dance and theater performances and increasingly produce music for film, which is my great love.

Why did you choose this specific film fragment?

It is a film clip where very little actually happens, except that kids bathe and jump in a canal in Venice. I like this simplicity and minimalism, it gives room to the imagination. The movements, the atmosphere, and the fact that this film is older than 100 years and was shot in Venice gave me a lot of ideas. It felt like a fragment that could go in many directions. It gave me a nostalgic feeling because I lived near the Mediterranean Sea at the age of these kids. Playing in the sun in the sea is endless fun and, as Albert Camus wrote, the ultimate symbol of joie de vivre and freedom.

What inspired you in making this score?

The layering and unpredictable rhythm of the movements of these boys and the splashing of the water really appealed to me. There is so much life, humor, fun, and coincidence in it, which inspired me to create a soundtrack that could be very rich with more or less random musical events, sound selection, rhythms... In short: music with many layers that express different emotions. Because the film is older than 100 years and was filmed in Venice, all kinds of memories of the romance and melodiousness of old Italian music surfaced.

How did you tackle the project?

I retreated to a house and brought a new setup of electronics with me, a combination of equipment that I had never used before. This is because I force myself to go in a new direction, to think differently. Everything was played on a Fender Stratocaster, which was sometimes prepared, and recorded with my laptop and sound card. With almost every track I ended up trying to stick to the first take, something I like to do to keep the music sounding fresh. I left all imperfections and beauty flaws because I felt that there was a better match with the old image quality and with the way things were filmed at the time. I had made four different drafts that went in very different directions. In the end, this one turned out to be the strongest, because of the melody and the contrasting layers.

All Short Scores to date

Every three weeks, we will add a new clip accompanied by fresh new music to the Short Scores collection, which will therefore keep growing.

Watch all Short Scores clips