Music for a film by Margarida Cardoso

1. At Sea I
2. Arrival
3. Dawn
4. Nostalgia
5. Father
6. Dark Forest
7. Inwards
8. Hands
9. At Sea II

cd/dl/stream, July 2024

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I'm so grateful that Frank Hoeve (Baldr Films) and Margarida Cardoso asked me to compose the score for the film Banzo. It's a very powerful film, beautifully shot and acted. The soundtrack holds up on it's own (I believe), but go see the movie if you get the chance.

1907. Afonso, a doctor, arrives at Principe Island to cure servants from a cocoa plantation “infected” with Banzo, nostalgia of the slaves, who are dying from starvation and suicide. The group is confined to the forest, where Afonso decides to heal them by trying to understand what is affecting their soul.

Click here for the trailer of Banzo.



Blink with your eyes and you have probably missed at least one new release by Rutger Zuydervelt (or his alter ego Machinefabriek). It’s virtually impossible to keep track, and it’s also unbelievable how he manages to come up with so many releases and maintain such high quality.
When he uses his own name and not his alias, it often concerns a score for a play, a dance production, or a movie. Such is the case with Banzo (Music For A Film By Margarida Cardoso).
Banzo is a movie about a group of workers on a tropical island, who are “plagued by a mysterious affliction called banzo, also known as slave nostalgia. Those affected feel an intense homesickness, fall into apathy, lose the strength to live, and eventually die.” (Read more in the synopsis).
Zuydervelt’s score effectively reflects the mysteriousness and the ‘oppressive atmosphere of the isolated tropical island’.
Even if the movie itself is over 2 hours long, the score presented here is only 35 minutes, divided into nine short pieces. The music is Zuydervelt at his darkest, and also most minimalist. It’s definitely ‘dark’ – but without the usual ‘dark ambient characteristics’. This album stands strong without having seen the movie it was created for, simply because its haunting atmosphere is a pleasure to listen to.

Vital Weekly

One of the most troublesome issues with writing reviews is the repetition of phrases, words and explanations. One such thing is about film soundtracks. Without the movie, is this music interesting enough to be reviewed by itself? The musician undoubtedly thinks the music stands by itself very well; otherwise, there’d be no release. I know very little about the world of art-house movies or ‘how to compose music for films’; all I know is ‘Banzo’ is a movie by Margarida Cardoso. IMDB provides this synopsis: “1907. Afonso starts life anew on a tropical island off the African coast as a plantation physician. He is tasked with treating servants “infected” by Banzo, profound homesickness fatal to many slaves who succumb to starvation or take their own lives. To prevent spreading, the group is sent to a secluded hill encircled by forest. Afonso tries to heal them, but understanding their spirits is a challenge stronger than any medical intervention.” On the CD, we find nine pieces, some relatively short, below the three-minute mark, which is something inherent in soundtrack releases, so, at least, is my experience. The overall tone of the music is introspective and dark, very sparse in the use of sounds and instruments. They might include a cello, wind instrument, electronics, or field recordings. I played this CD repeatedly, mainly because I was engaged in a few other tasks at the computer, but I also enjoyed the sparse presence of sound during my otherwise dull job. Additionally, the low volume, which I used to play this CD, helped me along with the appreciation. I would have preferred the shorter pieces to be a bit longer and had Zuydervelt explore them a bit more, as I believe there is some unused potential in them. This works much better in the longer ones, withones with the final piece, ‘At Sea II’, being the longest and most fully developed piece of music. As a standalone, this soundtrack works very well.