Musique De Film Imagine
One of the more fascinating musical catalogues in recent times is that of the Brian Jonestown Massacre. For fairweather fans they’re still – and always? – the band that butted heads with a film director and paved the way for The Dandy Warhols’ fleeting takeover. But that’s only a fraction of their story and their worth, in fact it seems so trivial now (and yet I remember taking that bait – and here I am referencing it). Yes, the BJM had this dirty garage-rock sound for a time, but they also had – and have – a hypnotic world of swirling psychedelia at their feet (thanks to the guitar pedals and such). And every album is different – so many albums too.
So here’s one that’s different again. Very different. So much so as to potentially seem underwhelming until it’s correctly understood. For this – the title is a clue – is an imaginary film soundtrack, it’s also essentially an Anton Newcombe solo album; paean to the film-work of Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard – here Newcombe has built his own imaginary film score. It would work as the soundtrack to a 60s French film; that’s the obvious evocation. But when you know the scope of the album it’s easy (far easier) to fall to its sway.
Dramatic surges (L’Enfer) remind me of the score from recent documentary, Room 237 and from the mystifying (Le Souvenir) to tantalisingly brief ‘cues’ (Les trois cloches) we have an actual picture (of sound) being built before our eyes (well, ears).
So no Jesus and Mary Chain buzz-sawing here, no Nuggets-era magic, instead it’s an odd and eerie calmness – you imagine this might kick in before (or more likely after) a Brian Jonestown Massacre show; the house music to take you out. Though Le Sacre du Printemps has that rolling, loping, wonderful six-minute sprawl that could transport it from the imaginary crime noir in Newcombe’s head to the stage when BJM throttle back.
A wonderful record that shows the depth and breadth of Newcombe’s vision – the bountiful scope (and clearly he’s done his research here, this “fake” score feels authentic) adds yet another layer to the constantly unfurling sound of the Brian Jonestown Massacre.