Cinema Noir hail from Palermo, Sicily in Southern Italy. Fernweh is an album they released on Nostress Netlabel which has all their artists’ albums for free download. Of course, this brings about the question of quality but, I assure you, there are so many gems in their catalog and Cinema Noir’s Fernweh is one of them. They are an instrumental band that plays between the borders of the post-rock, ambient, and shoegaze genres. Cinema Noir is a five piece and is made up of Alex Valenti (guitar), Leonardo Vetrano (guitar), Simone Alvich (guitar and orchestral scoring) Giuseppe D’Angelo (bass and electronics, and Andrea Chentrens (drums). The EP is six tracks long with one remix among them.
“Plancton” starts Fernweh off in an impressive manner. Echoing, warm synth fills the speakers with the beat like a heart underneath. Textured fuzz fills out the spaces in the composition along with some feedback and spacey sonics. The track works as a brief introduction to what is to come, with this avant-garde feel which channels the likes of The Album Leaf or Signal Hill. “Fernweh” is the longest piece on the disc and it begins with bright organs and also includes wonderful fuzzed out textures. Drums and bass work their way into this track. Clapping is in the mix between the cracks and crevices of the melody. At 1:39 voices sing “la la la la” and then the guitars erupt into a wall of sound. The tempo in the arrangement ebbs and flows while the guitars playing harmonies, answering one another in turn. Eventually, everything drops away except the drums and then, again, that eruptive release that comes with the band joining. This time, organs sit among the walls, dancing brightly within the mix. The song ends as the drummer, alone, plays it out to silence.
“Parrots and Palms” begins with a melody played on a synth that is eventually answered with a guitar playing its foil. Bright, spacey sounds sit between the two and, eventually, the bass and drum join in bringing a driving force into the mix. At about 3:19, the drums get sparse and the guitar fuzzes out and cries amidst the sounds of swirling clanks and bleeps. There is a mixture of the organic with the manufactured as Café Noire builds a sort of epic soundscape throughout. The clicking sounds, perhaps, like insects. Given the title, I picture the wonders of a rain forest. “Persepolis” begins with a mixture of sampled voices singing “working on Persepolis” used as an instrument to convey a melody. The band throws up a giant wall of sound with a pounding, post-rock vibe and then gives the listener a breather. This ebb and flow continues throughout the track. The members of Café Noire are great composers and know how to utilize hills and valleys in their work.
The fifth piece on the disc is a remix of “Fernweh” called the “Fernweh (Veivecura Remix)”. There are vocals in this version of the song. The track not only has vocals, but it is a much shorter version of the song that takes the loudest parts and utilizes them more readily in a more compact composition. It’s quite a beautiful way to experience the composition and it works very well. “Miles Davis” is the final track on the EP and it begins with fuzzed out drones which build and then a sampled voice breaks into the speakers as other synths join. I’m presupposing that the voice is “Miles Davis” who speaks out like a ghost amid the synths. Perhaps this is a nod to Davis’ contribution and influence on the creation of the ambient genre. Bitches Brew comes to mind. Eventually, what sounds like electronic percussion enters and the layers of synth continue to grow and morph.
Fernweh is Cinema Noir’s third disc and it is a wonderfully complex set of compositions. Moving from post-rock, to ambient, to shoegaze is a constant on the album but it never feels disjointed or like there are disconnects. The album is coherent, masterfully composed, and carefully expressed. Highly recommended!
Download Fernweh for free here!