Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Review: Lebowski - Cinematic (2010)

Lebowski - Cinematic

Lebowski (Poland):
marcin grzegorczyk - guitars
marcin łuczaj - synthesizers
marek żak - bass
krzysztof pakuła - drums

Going to the movies, in an album

Apparently, this album was made by film lovers. It is dedicated to 5 Polish cinematographers (whom I don’t know, so I can’t help you there). It’s called Cinematic and is being presented as a soundtrack to a non-existent movie. I can easily hear it.
In fact the movie that plays in my mind as I listen to it, is a drama. A drama set in a hustling bustling city, during a rainy winter day (perhaps this is due to the cover of the album). The movie focuses on several individuals as they go about their daily routine and plans. Each person has something on their mind, perhaps a problem or a load on their chest. Each song depicts how that person deals with his or her own private issue.
But if you prefer, you can read the band’s comments on each piece in the booklet (written in Polish and English) including notes on the album itself as a whole. In fact those are quite interesting and revealing of the band’s mindset and approach to the making of the album.

The album is instrumental but the band added vocals from movies. Those are well made combinations and match the ambiance of the tracks in which they’re placed in. they are mostly in Polish but there are also some in French and English.

The music is spacious, volumetric and contrasts softness and aggressiveness. The pace is for the most part, slow and ponderous. In fact there’s little variation in that facet but that is not that much of an issue since other aspects such as volume and intensity, mellowness and fierceness, exhibit dynamics. Moreover, the drumming is quite engaging and creative and provides the music the necessary shifts between a pensive state and a more agitated mood.
While the album is mostly unhurried, it doesn’t wait to get to the point. The tunes are fleshed out clearly and mostly as soon as the track starts, with each tune having a plain melody but one that is amplified in its effect by the instrumentation and sampling, i.e. the layering of each piece. These are what give the music its aforementioned spacey and rich feel.

One track I liked in particular was Encore. Like the name suggests it has a French disposition, French speech, accordion and coolness to it that reminds me of lounge/down-tempo music but with much more gusto to it as the electric guitar is “allowed” to roam freely throughout. I also liked the “world-music” feel of the second piece, 137 Sec. with its use of a dulcimer. I was also taken by the warm synths in Human Error and their interplay with the lead guitar.

This is a heavy album. Not in the sense of heavy music, but in terms of the atmosphere. It is a dense album, one that is very rewarding if one is willing to dedicate the time to listen to it properly and not just as background music. It is over an hour long album and thus can be cumbersome and too much for one sitting. But that is evidence of its qualities and weight, not its weakness. In fact what I suggest is to use your right as a listener and listen to it in two parts. Create of it a soundtrack of your own, by editing it in any way you feel appropriate.  

What I would love to hear from these talented guys is some variation in tempo, some faster and even angrier music; I think they could do wonders with more upbeat and energetic tunes to which they’ll apply their current treatment. So in essence, I’d love to hear from them an action drama soundtrack.

In summary, this is an album I wasn’t expecting to have that much of an impact on me, but it has succeeded in surprising and impressing me. While it may be a tad long, it contains lovely melodies, spacey vibe, a charming ambiance and a creative touch.
I look forward to their next film soundtrack.

Official website

Youtube Channel

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