Songs with secrets

Jul 12, 2000 at 12:00 am
Let’s skip the film and go right to the sound track. It’s a catchy idea that could easily crash and become a one-joke wonder if this Dutch dance-pop duo weren’t smart enough to execute Music for Imaginary Films absolutely brilliantly. Arling and Cameron whisk the listener from blaxploitation to French B-films in "Le Flic et la Fille," from the tambourine-cuddled milquetoast, potato salad and lemonade vocals of "W.E.E.K.E.N.D." to the continually creeping, seething, transmogrifying Mancini-esque instrumental theme of "Milano Cool."

A & C possess a Japanese-pop aesthetic, wanting to use everything they like in their music, and they realize that film is the perfect postmodern vehicle for musical hybridizers. In this celebration of commercialization and cheese, attention to detail doesn’t start and stop at the music. This CD’s deluxe booklet contains fabulously well-designed faux film posters, set in the style of the time and complete with directors, actors, reviewers’ quotes of admiration and reel-’em-in slogans – such as "Many Arms Make Light Work" for Shiva’s Daughters, a film that rocks and rolls to electric sitar riffs with a taste of cardamom and curry. And a round of applause, please, for Steve Korver’s super-visionary liner notes to these nonexistent flicks. Who else could have cooked up a post-apocalyptic, short-lived TV show, "The Only Guy," with the last man on earth played by Fred MacMurray’s twin brother Martin? Unfortunately, Martin MacMurray died halfway through the season because of the long lost (and deadly) film technique of X-Ray-Rama. But the movie theme lives on as lonely one-man vocals dancing on a barren beach to a solitary ukulele and the splash of waves.

Somewhere between these danceable, diggable, believable sound tracks, posters and notes you’ll find that Arling and Cameron have inspired you to supply your own movie imagery, completing a perfect collaborative package.

Anita Schmaltz writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].