Steven Severin performing 'The Seashell and the Clergyman'

Former Siouxsie and the Banshees bassist Steven Severin will embark on a rare but brief U.S. tour this month to perform his electronic scores to surrealist and avant-garde silent-era films in a half-dozen live performances along the West Coast and in New York City.

At four of the performances beginning Friday — in Olympia, Wash.; San Francisco; Los Angeles; and Brooklyn, NY — Severin will perform his Music for Silents program, based on the film-score album he released last fall, which includes his 32-minute score to Germaine Dulac’s 1928 avant-garde classic “The Seashell and the Clergyman.” Severin will perform on his laptop, backed by a projection of the film, and several other silent shorts.

In Los Angeles and Brooklyn, Severin — who also famously teamed up with The Cure’s Robert Smith for a one-off album by The Glove in 1983 — is scheduled to play two concerts each; at both of the other shows, he’ll perform his just-finished score to Jean Cocteau’s 1930 film “The Blood of a Poet.” (See full tour dates below.)

In an interview with the San Francisco Film Society, Severin discusses the techniques he uses to score old silent films, and explains how that’s differed from his longtime role playing bass with the Banshees:

“The past work opens a lot of doors for me, that’s for sure. But because the Banshees’ catalogue is so known and so distinct, I find I have to go to great lengths to describe what I do now, as it is very different. I can see the obvious progression in the work because it’s evolved over 30-plus years! Others less familiar with my career need more help in understanding that lineage. Playing live to old films is something that most people can understand, so that helps. If I couldn’t explain it that way, I think many people might be expecting me to have a band and get up and play bass. That’s the last thing I want or intend to do.”

Severin has been working on several pieces of music, as well, including Codex Astra, the first in a set of four EPs, as well as Music for Silents #2, featuring selections from the musician’s score for “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.”

See full Steven Severin tour dates after the jump…

Steven Severin’s Music for Silents tour dates:

Jan. 8: Capitol Theatre, Olympia, WA (“The Seashell and the Clergyman”)
Jan. 12: The Mezzanine, San Francisco, CA (“The Seashell and the Clergyman”)
Jan. 13: The Silent Movie Theater, Los Angeles, CA (“The Seashell and the Clergyman”)
Jan. 14: The Silent Movie Theater, Los Angeles, CA (“The Blood of a Poet”)
Jan. 16: Galapagos Art Space, Brooklyn, NY (“The Blood of a Poet”)
Jan. 17: Galapagos Art Space, Brooklyn, NY (“The Seashell and the Clergyman”)

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