Art Review of Coupler’s Live Score of “Dragnet Girl”

Work: "Dragnet Girl (Live Score)”

Artist: Coupler

Genre: Ambient, Electronic


Coupler, the Nashville-meets-Chicago trio, have combined vintage silent film with modern ambient electronic sounds. I caught their live score of “Dragnet Girl” for the 2019 Big Ears Festival at the Knoxville Museum of Arts and was immediately captivated.

Yasujirō Ozu’s 1920’s take on the American Crime genre is stylistically complex in it’s simplicity. Hard angles will frame a muted conversation and have you captured between two character’s lurid glances while the prolonged soft focus on a brightly lit object (in this snippet, a tea kettle) will have you fascinated by said object’s use in the story’s movement. Coupler’s score dynamically ushers you through each scene setting up intrigue, encouraging you to elation, conveying you gently between suspicion and dread. Below is a snippet from one of my favorite moments of that performance.

I later found out that this project was originally commissioned by Nashville’s Belcourt Theater and has since been seen and heard at various cinematheques and arthouses nationwide. I Included the Belcourt’s trailer at the bottom of this post to showcase another snippet of Coupler’s auditory landscape. If Ryan Norris, Rodrigo Avendaño, and Rollum Haas (Coupler) decide to end their score’s current voyage at the Belcourt, I will be back for a second round.