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We Don’t Care About Music Anyway (2011): The Rituals of Decay

We Don’t Care About Music Anyway (Cedric Dupire and Gaspard Kuentz, 2011)

One of the bands (I do not know which) set up and performed for the film on a beach; this lobby card is a wide-angle shot of their equipment, with no humans in sight.

This may be my favorite lobby card of all time.
photo credit: simonhutchinson.com

I stopped watching We Don’t Care About Music Anyway halfway through to make an orgasmic post on facebook about how everyone I knew needed to go watch this movie right then and there, drop everything that they were doing and just go watch, subscribe to Netflix Instant if they didn’t already have it just so they could see this movie. I do not believe it is the best noise documentary I have ever seen (Tom Hovinbøle’s jaw-dropping Nor Noise is the other contender; both are must-see-immediately movies), but it’s nibbling at the edges. The reason for this is something I will go into detail about later, but a short summary for the tl;dr crowd: this is not documentary filmmaking the way you think it is; there are portions that are obviously staged. But there is a very studied feel to the movie’s artificiality that, I assume, was conceived in order to fit in with the performance footage (this makes sense given that much of noise performance is also studied artificiality; watching most noise kids who aren’t doing some sort of theatrics is ridiculously boring, and I should know, because I’m one of the boring ones), and that takes this movie from the level of “okay, this is a pretty good noise doc” to “whoa, stratosphere”. Though I will warn you there are those who are turned off by the artificiality. Don’t be that guy.

 

A metal grinder meets a cello in a still from the film.

Sometimes you need to think outside the box where your cello is concerned.
photo credit: jaspersharp.com

We Don’t Care About Music Anyway is an impressionist chronicle of the experimental music scene in Japan circa 2008. While there are some notables missing (no Masami Akita or Keiji Haino?), Dupire and Kuentz examine a cross-section of the Japanese experimental music scene, from the world-famous (Ôtomo Yoshihide) to the obscure (Ken Takehisa of the Spectacrews), and combine performance footage, long, studied shots of Tokyo, usually focusing on destruction or demolition (presumably as an indicator of the inspirations of the musicians therein), and staged shots of the participants in the film holding a roundtable about the state of music in Japan at that time.

Otomo Yoshihide turntables it up in a still from the film.

The name’s McDaniels
Not McDonald’s
These rhymes are Daryl’s
The burgers are Ronald’s
photo credit: hanoiograpevine.com

 

Given something that simple, much of its appeal is going to be based on presentation; you can make something like this deadly boring, or you can make it interesting. You can probably guess, given that the film showed up on my list of the twenty-five best movies I saw in 2013, which side Dupire and Kuentz went for. Take a half-dozen musicians who are thinking so far outside the box that they can’t even see the box anymore, put them on stages (or beaches!) and let us see what they do, let them talk about it, and show their inspirations? Okay, I take it back; this would probably be very tough to mess up. Dupire and Kuentz’ end result, though, is pure magic. Live performances in abandoned buildings? More people should do this. **** ½ 

 


Trailer.

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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