Cinema Cinema – CCXMD

Posted: 16 October 2019 in Albums
Tags: , , ,

Nefarious Industries – 1st November 2019

The one thing that’s been consistent about experimental noise-rock duo Cinema Cinema across their previous releases has been their capacity to confound expectation. Their freeform approach to rock has always made them hard to place in a fixed sense, although Sonic Youth and Live Skull are reasonable references against which to pitch their guitar-driven racket that’s been given to stray into expansive space rock workouts.

Each release has ventured into different stylistic territory, at least at points, and while 2017’s Man Bites Dog did bring some sax into the mix, they’ve predominantly maintained a no-wave rock focus – until now. With CCXMD they cut the cord that holds any ties to the conventions of rock to go all-out on the freeform, and this time it’s jazz. Not even jazz-rock, but a weirdy, off-the-wall, jazz oddity with swirling ambient currents. CCXMD is a genuine ‘wtf?’ release.

Where are the guitars? And words? There are practically no vocals, and the vocals there are, are mangled and so low in the mix they’re barely audible. There are guitars, but they’re practically absent on the first two tracks – short, semi-ambient fragments – and when they do finally appear on the third track, ‘Colours’, it’s more the sound of tuning up, accompanied by pan-pipes and with stuttering percussion that lollops and rolls and crashes chaotically without ever taking form. You’re on the edge of your seat waiting for something – you don’t even really know what – but you don’t get it. It’s hard to tell what you actually do get.

‘Cyclops’ threatens to settle into a rock-riff groove before veering into all kinds of chaos with parping sax trills and every shade of jazz mania mewling like demented cats here there and everywhere, and the album’s thirteen-minute centrepiece, ‘Ode to a Gowanus Flower’ is an exercise on patience-testing as they wander through evocations of Eastern mystery. It’s difficult to listen to because it’s difficult to place and even more difficult to settle in with. This isn’t because it’s a departure, this is simply by virtue of the fact that this is a challenging album it its own right. It’s deranged, messy, unpredictable, incoherent and all the jazz. But it’s ambitious, interesting, and sees Cinema Cinema really test both themselves and their fans. And that’s a good thing: remaining static is tantamount to being dead. And moreover, any band that finds its niche and sticks to it consigns itself to a trajectory of diminishing returns.

Cinema Cinema are following their creative urges and aren’t dictated by any perception of fan demands or dictates: they do what they do because they’re driven to do it, and certainly not because of any label or trend. And this is why Cinema Cinema are such an essential band, and why they’ll endure. They don’t give a fuck about what you’re into. They do their own thing. And that is art.

AA

Cinema Cinama

Comments
  1. […] “CINEMA CINEMA are following their creative urges and aren’t dictated by any perception of fan demands or dictates: they do what they do because they’re driven to do it, and certainly not because of any label or trend. And this is why CINEMA CINEMA are such an essential band, and why they’ll endure. They don’t give a fuck about what you’re into. They do their own thing. And that is art.” – Aural Aggravation […]

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