That second delivers a wash of affected person quiet and humanity after 80 minutes of brisk drama. “Add” has parts of the darkly speculative sequence “Black Mirror” and the comparatively hopeful “Years and Years,” however its preoccupations are as timeless as they’re the best style fiction.
Not that “importing” is totally fictional. It’s our future and current: an already stated ambition to add consciousness to a decentralized blockchain, prefigured by the traces of ourselves we already deposit all through the web — our photographs and internal ideas slowly constructing what the clinic of “Add” (shot on the modernist Zonnestraal sanitarium within the Netherlands) would name a Thoughts File for our digital afterlife.
How that file is created is detailed in filmed sequences starring Ashley Zukerman (“Succession”) as a stereotypical Silicon Valley sort, hubristically enthusiastic and bored with ready for presidency regulation, and Katja Herbers (“Evil”), as an empathetic psychiatrist who additionally has a streak of overconfidence. The know-how is out there solely to a privileged few, the type of people that would fly to house recreationally. Or, right here, purchase everlasting life at the price of loss of life — to keep away from the issues, each moral and ecological, of a number of uploads.
For these scenes, van der Aa writes much less of an opera rating and extra of a soundtrack, uneasy but excited, with jittery strings, chaotic percussion and electronics that warp into crackling white noise — all performed, with propulsive momentum, by Ensemble Musikfabrik, below Otto Tausk’s dedicated and commanding baton. Van der Aa’s music takes on a special model, although, for scenes that includes the work’s two singing roles: the unnamed father and daughter.
We meet them — the baritone Roderick Williams, delicate and ever sympathetic, and the soprano Julia Bullock, silvery on the prime of her vary, equally comfortable in pop directness and plush lyricism — after he has been uploaded, with out her data. Their interactions have the naturally rhythmic vocal writing of Janacek or Debussy. Left alone, she tends to be accompanied by extra conventional sounds, similar to a piano or strings, whereas the daddy’s musical vocabulary is firmly, irreversibly digital.