Let me be clear about something: Cinema Cinema is not for the average music listener.
Allow me to repeat that, because it bears repeating: this band is NOT for your everyday music buff, or even casual punk fans for that matter.
Though there are hookier tracks such as “Run Until You’re Out” and parts of “Exotic Blood,” much of Cinema’s monstrous creation, aptly titled Man Bites Dog, will undoubtedly come off to many as a violent and nauseating mess, a sonic assault of feedback, time-changes, abstract, often unintelligible lyrics, and sudden saxophone screeches. Dear reader, do not attempt to enjoy this recording without a proper comprehension of music’s more abstract corners. Those few who grasp this, though, will see how these abstract art punks have created an obtuse work of maddening brilliance!
Beyond the madness is a smart band that knows its obscure roots. Knowledgeable audiences will undoubtedly hear the influences of John Zorn’s Naked City project—recognizable to some for their contribution to the horror cult classic film Funny Games.
Those screeching horns peppered throughout the album’s pay blatant homage to the jazz-hybrid experimentation found in Zorn’s compositions such as “Bonehead,” among others. Like Cinema, Zorn’s atonal sonic assaults seem intended only to bleed one’s ears. Yet upon closer inspection, both showcase a deeper understanding of music’s roots albeit while embracing the urge to spitefully put those roots through a garbage disposal. In both Cinema and Zorn the artful embrace of such double thinking is, indeed, both confounding and mesmerizing to endure as a listener.
The album also harks back to peak Dadaism’s weirdo anti-musicians making outlandish, barely musical sounds. In many ways, Dadaism (and in a sense all avant-garde art) was the ultimate push against the sleek polished nothingness of capitalist society. Instead of crafting works easily mass produced and even easier consumed by the public, it chose to be difficult, uncomfortable, rejecting the guidelines of what should or shouldn’t be done—meaning what is or isn’t marketable. From this standpoint, avant-garde musicians were among the first the adopt anti-bourgeois protest in their compositions long before punk rock claimed it for their own.
It is only right that the two genres should converge at this time in history.
Today, when consumerism, capitalism, and all traditional aspects of materialistic success seem to be hell bent toward their own implosion, it is only fitting that we see a revival of musical forms which reflect the public’s growing aversion all things peddling an “American dream.” Cinema Cinema offers exactly that. We receive no regurgitation of shiny consumables with this band.
Instead, we are given a harsh wakeup call: the world is in an absurd place right now.
How absurd, you ask?
Just close your eyes, and push play.