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The Asian ApertureWe Don't Care About Music Anyway (2009)
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, December 7, 2013    Share

In Japan where idols are getting younger by the day and pop stars are tailored to meet the vast amount of consumers via music corporations, it is a refreshing change to find musicians who are passionate about making music. Just walk into any given music store in Tokyo or watch some video clips from the artists that are on the Oricon chartís top ten list and you will hear how bland pop music has descended to. A lot of these groups and singers are just selling an image. Their songs are written for them and they blindly follow the commands of management. However, Tokyo is not all pop crap because a group of musicians who engage the audience with a unique mixture of noise and performance art get together in this interesting documentary that has no narration and instead relies on visuals and sounds.

Each one of these musicians is not into it for fame or fortune. Music is viewed as self-expression in free form. You couldnít write down notes for these songs; however the sounds remain in your head long after the latest pop song dissolves from memory. These musicians get together in a darken room somewhere in Tokyo to discuss music, techniques, and the best ways to shake up the audience.

One guy aggressively plays a cello and proceeds to take a sander to it for a beautiful display of sparks, live on stage. A vocalist, in true Merbow style, tapes a microphone to himself and blasts his heartbeat through a cranked up amp. His singing is interesting because he does not want to sing lyrics, he creates his own brand of noise just using his voice. In one live performance he placed a contact mike right up to his mouth and clicked his teeth together really hard and rapidly while simultaneously hitting his forehead so he could ďknock his skull.Ē The result is a chaotic rhythm that you canít reproduce from someone just sitting behind a computer and creating dance track garbage.

One guy hangs out all day in a junkyard. He has a cranked up guitar with various effect pedals and then he uses various objects that are just lying around to rub, pound, and slide against the guitar. The feedback is already ear piercing and when he rubs a large metal pole across the pickups his music happens.

There is also one female member of this experimental gang. A man pounds his fists onto his keyboard as a woman plays guitar while making goofy rock star faces, smiling constantly. She starts out wearing a silver jumpsuit and then takes this off, as she is playing guitar, to appear in a white bikini with black polka dots. Because they are playing on a deserted beach, the bikini fits right in with the surroundings. In fact most of the musicians interviewed said that they try to incorporate the local landscape with their noise performance.

The best part about this documentary is that you get a chance to hear and see artistic performers who are all driven to create and are unlikely to be household names due to the way music is sold and marketed. What was interesting to me is the fact that when the vocalist was performing only five people were sitting down in the audience and he still gave them his best.

The worst part was the lack of narration. No introductions are made and just from reading the subtitles it is hard to tell who is who. Also, the visuals were great for the performances but severely lacking for all other shots. A lot of the video was just random scenes of urban landscapes, tractors working in a junkyard, and a crane lifting up a beam. These images were distorted using various tricks like quick edits to make an inanimate object appear to dance. This style of creative editing didnít work for me at all. Also, objects were blurred and then went back to normal. I could see what the editor was trying to do but it didnít work at all.

I suggest watching the documentary with no intention of learning who the musicians are, ignoring the shoddy editing, and just concentrate on the intimate words of the musicians being interviewed and appreciate the performance footage.

I would recommend this for people who care about real music and have no desire to squander income on the latest boring pop icon.

3.5 out of 5 Recommended.

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2013 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2013 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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