Friday, 9 April 2010

Minima: Music To Lose Your Marbles To

In the mood for a slice of classically mad German Expressionism the other night, I crept in an exaggeratedly menacing manner to the Gate Cinema in Notting Hill to watch The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari, having not seen it since I was forced to at university by a sadistic Film Studies lecturer who had no concept of what something like that might do to a hungover student.

The film itself, I don't really need to tell you, was great in its own Crackers Patel kind of way, apart from the confusing ending which, shamefully, I had to clear up with the help of Wikipedia.

What elevated it from a mildly pretentious night at the flicks to a near-religious experience was the live score by genius four-piece band Minima, who specialise in performing music alongside 1920s silents from Germany, the Soviet Union and the UK.

With an ethereal electric guitar, a silky cello, a driving rhythm section of drums and electric bass and a stack of effects pedals, these guys offer up an otherworldly and completely original sound that's the stuff of the Cocteau Twins' nightmares, transporting you into a surreal universe as weird and angular as anything happening on screen. I saw them playing along to Nosferatu last year, which was good enough, but the Caligari score is a masterpiece. If it were available on CD it would be just the kind of thing to listen to while going insane and plotting foul deeds.

From the cacophony of Alan's murder to the melancholy of his funeral via various should-be-classic themes for the main characters, Minima rock The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari like nobody else. I think they might have missed a trick by not punctuating the revelation of the identity of the asylum director, but the mounting menace they created as his murderous plans are discovered was spine-tinglingly hair-raising.

Minima are touring The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari around the south of England throughout April and May and The Incredible Suit urges you to check them out. They're also performing at a screening of Hitchcock's The Lodger at the East End Film Festival on April 24th, which you would have to be certifiably bonkers or dead to miss. See you there.

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  1. You must be dumb not to get Caligari's ending. Says all about your narrow mindedness really. But what could one expect from so called Film Student? Only sheer stupidity and ignorance.