Exposé Online banner

We Stood Like Kings — USSR 1926
(Kapitän Platte Kutter 031, 2015, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2015-12-13

USSR 1926 Cover art

This is my first encounter with Belgian band We Stood Like Kings. Apparently their first release, Berlin 1927, was intended to accompany the 1927 silent film Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt, and they performed it live with the movie all across Europe. For their second outing, they’ve chosen the 1926 Russian film A Sixth Part of the World, which is a kind of travelog documentary showing the various regions of the Soviet Union at the time. If you’ve ever listened to a band like Mogwai or Godspeed You Black Emperor and thought it would make good music for the cinema, We Stood Like Kings has brought that thought to fruition. Judith Hoorens’ piano is the dominant instrument, with cascading arpeggios and dramatic melodies, with the guitar of Steven van Isterdael next in line to carry the tunes. The rhythm section of Colin Delloye (bass) and Mathieu Waterkeyn (drums) provides both propulsion and dramatic emphasis. This brand of post-rock pulls in more features from classic progressive rock than most, with the changes between sections more sudden, relying less on the slow, steady build and more on quick contrasts. The piano is supplemented with a battery of modern electronic keyboards, creating a very full and – dare I say – cinematic scope. This is not music about flashy individual performances, but evocative sound and accompaniment of the images, though the music certainly works on its own. You can even try watching the movie online while the music plays. As befits the historical nature of the silent films, the music avoids overt stylistic references to rock ‘n’ roll and other anachronistic genres, resulting in something that sounds vaguely Romantic as interpreted by the instruments used. Other artists have tackled producing music for silent film, but We Stood Like Kings seem to be making a career of it, and as long as the results are as solid as this, I see no reason why they can’t keep it going. I’d like a little infusion of Stravinskian modernism to supplement the older sounds, but that’s nitpicking.


Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): We Stood Like Kings

More info
http://archive.org/details/DzigaVertovASixthPartOfTheWorld1926
http://wslk.bandcamp.com/album/ussr-1926

Latest news

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Pink Filth - Seventeen Bubblegum Smashes! – Um. This is not Pink Floyd, it is Pink Filth. The name is not only a clever pun to fool high school stoners into buying the album (if they could find it in any store on this planet) but it also is a...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues