Review: Michel van der Aa’s ‘Upload’ Asks Old Questions With New Technology

That instant provides a wash of affected person silent and humanity immediately after 80 minutes of brisk drama. “Upload” has things of the darkly speculative series “Black Mirror” and the comparatively hopeful “Years and Many years,” but its preoccupations are as timeless as they are the finest genre fiction.

Not that “uploading” is absolutely fictional. It is our long run and existing: an previously mentioned ambition to add consciousness to a decentralized blockchain, prefigured by the traces of ourselves we already deposit during the online — our photographs and internal views slowly and gradually developing what the clinic of “Upload” (shot at the modernist Zonnestraal sanitarium in the Netherlands) would connect with a Thoughts File for our digital afterlife.

How that file is produced is in depth in filmed sequences starring Ashley Zukerman (“Succession”) as a stereotypical Silicon Valley type, hubristically enthusiastic and uninterested in ready for government regulation, and Katja Herbers (“Evil”), as an empathetic psychiatrist who also has a streak of overconfidence. The know-how is obtainable only to a privileged couple, the kind of people today who would fly to house recreationally. Or, below, purchase eternal life at the price tag of dying — to stay clear of the difficulties, each ethical and ecological, of several uploads.

For these scenes, van der Aa writes fewer of an opera rating and extra of a soundtrack, uneasy yet psyched, with jittery strings, chaotic percussion and electronics that warp into crackling white noise — all played, with propulsive momentum, by Ensemble Musikfabrik, under Otto Tausk’s fully commited and commanding baton. Van der Aa’s new music takes on a different fashion, while, for scenes showcasing the work’s two singing roles: the unnamed father and daughter.

We fulfill them — the baritone Roderick Williams, delicate and ever sympathetic, and the soprano Julia Bullock, silvery at the top rated of her variety, similarly at simplicity in pop directness and lush lyricism — soon after he has been uploaded, with no her understanding. Their interactions have the normally rhythmic vocal producing of Janacek or Debussy. Still left by yourself, she tends to be accompanied by far more traditional appears, these kinds of as a piano or strings, when the father’s musical vocabulary is firmly, irreversibly digital.