The life of an Online Fanzine Editor can be hard at times. You have record labels, bands, and promotional companies emailing you to ask where the latest review is, which can be annoying sometimes. And then you meet someone online who seems enthusiastic and really wants to write, so you send him some CDs (all the way to Manchester, UK in this instance), and then he decides he is too busy with schoolwork to really write anyway... Actually, we have had three writers take CDs and then decide not to write for us, but in this case the guy in Manchester was considerate enough to mail the unreviewed CDs back, a fact for which i am very grateful.
I offer this as an excuse for finally submitting a review
of this CD, which we received back in 2004. You see, really,
it spent most of last year in the UK, and i only just got it
back. I am glad i did, because this is a solid, interesting
record. Unfortunately, i have review notes from two periods
separated by about 6 months, so if the rest of this review
seems to jump around a bit, that is why.
Cinemasophia was, at the time of this recording, a one man
project of Landis Wine. Previous releases by this gentleman
were released under the name Josephine the Singer, and i do
not know what prompted the name change. I also see on his
Mr. Wine has fleshed the band out with a full lineup, a fact
which would undoubtedly make these already interesting songs
come across even better in concert. Anyway, the songs are
mostly pretty strong, so let me discuss each briefly.
The album begins with Humming & Entropy (a great name,
BTW). This tune starts off lo-fi with earnest vocals, but then,
suddenly, the drums kick in, there is bass, and the guitar
stomps on an overdrive pedal. It rocks along nicely in a manner
reminiscent of Explosions in the Sky. Towards the end, it shifts
again and becomes moody and quiet, almost like The Church,
as a strange vocal sample plays over echoed guitar and jazzy
drumming. A strange, but nice, song.
+ Chasm starts
with a reverbing keyboard bit and subtle vocals. Eventually bass joins
in accompanied by weird electronic sounds. This reminds of the recent work
of Hood, and in general is pretty nice.
Water (Mouth) is the most
generic tune here. It has a nice martial drum beat and some pleasant
strummed guitars, but never really does anything for me.
However, the next track, Army Coats, is simply wonderful.
Wine turns in his best guitarwork here, and it gets really
noisy in the middle of the song while still maintaining a good
sense of melody. I also like that the drumming sounds positively
epileptic on the noisy choruses. A really epic tune, and very
It's back to the Hood-style IDM rock on The Glass Parts.
Weird clicking noises and some different (for him) singing
drive the tune along. It's pretty catchy, but i still think
that Hood do this type of stuff better.
with an intense peal of distortion that lingers for a little while
before fading into a pleasant little pop tune. This reminds me
of the electro guitar pop of Tex La Homa, and gets really dubby
in the middle with lots of echo on the drums. This is a good and
For An starts
off as a nice pop tune, then at the end gets extremely glitchy,
as in the entire song is consumed by software noises... Not bad.
Finally, Mr. Wine ends the album with Oscintillatorium.
This tune fades in with static and bleeping noise, then his
voice comes in. He sounds raw here, exposed. It's almost painful
to listen to, as if this song is really emotional for him.
I also think that the really sparse backing music draws attention
to the relative weakness of his voice. That is, Mr. Wine is
not the worst singer i have heard, but i think that he needs
some instrumentation to back him up. Anyway, eventually keyboard
bloops join in, and one thinks this will become a catchy electro
pop tune. One would be wrong, as he next starts playing jam
rock guitar. This whole thing goes on for 13 minutes like this...
I am sure that it seemed like a good idea when he was really
stoned, but to be honest i get bored after just a few minutes
and turn the album off.
Overall though, there are some very
interesting things going on here. I am very glad that our
would-be writer in Manchester mailed this CD back to me, as
i think that its high points exceed its weaknesses. I would
be really interested to hear what Cinemasophia becomes now
that Mr. Wine has a band backing him up.