Bee vs. Moth, the striking avant rock/jazz ensemble based in Austin, may be feeling a little bit of serendipity in the air. They will provide a live score during the screening of Ernst Lubitsch's 1919 silent comedy "The Oyster Princess" Thursday at noon at the Alamo Ritz and everyone they mention the project to, immediately responds "like 'The Artist'?"
With "The Artist" winning the bets picture Oscar and "Hugo" celebrating the early silent film work of George Melies, Bee Vs. Moth may be striking at the right time.
"They made the selection in late October and we did some marathon scoring sessions in November, December and January," the group's bassist Phil Moody said after a Bee vs. Moth showcase Tuesday night. "We've broken everything into song length. There's some improvisation and some solos - some jazz jokes - and some group improvisation, but we keep those parts short."
Bee vs. Moth was tapped to do the score after their performance last year to accompany Buster Keaton's "The Cameraman." They will be performing with the Lubitsch film in Houston and Dallas as well, though future dates in this arena look iffy. You get into rights issues," Moody notes.
"Everyone's been interested in this project," Moody says, referring to fan and friend inquiries. "I'm hoping it stirs up people's interest in film history."
Together for 10 years, Bee vs. Moth will next issued a limited edition seven-inch of one of the songs from the new film score. The quintet of guitar, sax, trumpet, drums and bass intends to record their third album later this year, one song at a time rather than through the lengthy sessions they did on their previous releases. "When you do a month straight," he says, "you get really fatigued. We'll record a song at a time until we have an album."