It’s safe to say that Jim Jarmusch’s films would not have looked the way they do without Dutch cinematographer Robby Müller, who passed away in 2018, age 78. He worked with Jarmusch on such indie classics as Paris, Texas, Mystery Train, Ghost Dog, and Coffee & Cigarettes—but was also behind the aesthetic of the likes of Repo Man, Barfly and the Oscar winning Lars Von Trier film Breaking the Waves.
Another Dutch cinematographer, Claire Pijman, has just made a documentary in 2018 about Müller called Living The Light; and a new “inspired by” soundtrack, appropriately, has been recorded by Jim Jarmusch & Carter Logan’s project SQÜRL—to be released under the pithy title, Some Music for Robby Müller, out January 31 via Sacred Bones Records. In the meantime, we have the first track, the haunted, evocative and yes, very cinematic “Magic Hour.”
“It’s inspired by the fleeting periods of the day occurring just before sunrise and just after sunset,” Logan explains. “The light shifts continually, soft and warm, yellow, gold, sometimes pink, and the sky turns to a very particular and deep shade of blue, but only for a few minutes. Robby always loved filming during these brief ‘magical’ moments while the diffuse light continually evolves and eventually slips away.
Jarmusch tells of first meeting Müller at a bar on a boat in Rotterdam, during the city’s film festival (this year’s edition opens this Wednesday, January 22).
“Robby became my close friend, my collaborator and my teacher too. From him I learned about the emotional qualities of light, about telling stories with a camera, about artistic intuition, collaboration, and integrity.”
The soundtrack, obviously then was a deeply personal undertaking for the director, who enthuses that the music was inspired by Müller’s “perceptions, his wonderful presence, his mind, his heart and his twinkling, mischievous eyes—through which he communicated, and with which he surveyed the same illusive world still vibrating around us.”