The music on Cantina Tapes was put together to accompany some of Vittorio Demarin’s short animated films, but none of it sounds like a conventional soundtrack. There’s nothing you can identify as ‘the approach of the villain’, or ‘our hero in contemplation’, or ‘the dramatic denouement’. Nothing builds or climaxes. Instead, each track is a sprawl of different noises and sound effects: a kitten, a piano, an engine revving, a chime, voices speaking Chinese, a clock, a camera, a passage that sounds like Phillip Glass, each one tumbling and seeping into the next until the whole thing wriggles like a heap of restless puppies. If it took itself seriously, then it would seem disturbed and hysterical, but Cantina Tapes has a goofy heart. It would rather mug than frown. Demarin describes himself “filming old and broken toys, rubbish and dirt”, but the imaginary movie this music suggests is one of small animated men engaged in a frantic chase to nowhere in particular, tripping over their feet through weird landscapes—a rubbery piece of Surrealist Italian slapstick.
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// Notes from the Road
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