Published Apr 30, 2010The Tokyo avant-garde music scene has always been remarkably ahead of the times, from the deconstructionist punk of the Boredoms to the free-form noise of Masami Akita. We Don't Care About Music Anyway... looks at where Japan is now in terms of avant inventions, and the biggest surprise is how much has stayed the same.
The musicians featured continue in the abrasive neo-classical avantism that has become the signature of alternative Japanese music over the last 30 years. Crunchy, distorted turntablism with full blast amps fit seamlessly alongside screeching cello manipulations, anchored by a love for creating undiscovered sounds, along with the utilization of contact mics.
The only dialogue in the film stems from a roundtable discussion from the musicians performing, discussing their aesthetic approaches, or lack thereof. The musicians are credited during the title sequence, but not during the performances. This way, the audience gets to know their faces, personalities and musical styles in a dissociative, but inviting manner.
While the film is beautifully constructed by French directors Cedric Dupire and Gaspard Kuentz, the music performed is often incredibly abrasive. Screeching atonality gives birth to scenes depicting Tokyo's accelerated cultural and physical degeneration. While sometimes ferocious in tone, the vibe is one of play. In particular, a scene of intense, top-volume guitar feedback on a garbage-laden beach slowly warms as a pop melody is introduced and the lithe female guitarist strips to a bikini.
Literally electrifying, another scene shows one artist powering the lights of his performance space with the amplification of a heartbeat through a stethoscope. The Dadaism of prior generations is still infused in the extremely noisy delivery of the artists; We Don't Care shows how new permutations of the form continue to erupt.
The absolutism of the music reflects the disconnect of the culture, and the music feels strangely universal. Simultaneously, this is the sound of junkyards and shopping malls worldwide. (Studio Shaiprod)