A Cage Went in Search of a Bird

A Cage Went in Search of a Bird

Music Inspired by Franz Kafka

Somnimage

Okay, this just pisses me off. I have no problem with Franz Kafka — I was writing papers on him in high school, and I think he’s hugely important to world literature. And I have no problem with people doing albums “inspired” by Kafka, either. But when those albums betray no familiarity with or sympathy for Kafka… well, that’s when I reach for my revolver.

Look: just because a dude was kind of depressed and wrote some very gloomy things is no reason to crank out some of the unworthy shinola that masquerades for “music” on this album. The first track, Attrition’s “Metamorphosis,” isn’t so bad, with its Roma violin and random electronics. And La Funcion de Repulsa’s “El Escritorio de K” starts out okay, until that damned deep-voiced vocal thing starts. The only thing this track is good for is clearing the room after a party, or perhaps getting your roommates to throw your stuff out on the street.

It’s the same, then, for a lot of this disc. People who shouldn’t have synthesizers pretend to understand Kafka, when it’s clear they’ve never read his work. Yeah, he had a dark vision of humanity; in no way does that justify the wank of Halo Skycrash’s “Mortal Forecast” or Garden Of Dreams’ “Into the Deep (Caged Bird Mix).” Remora’s track, “Before The Law,” features the complete evisceration of my favorite Kafka parable — it’s just a rusty fucking gate, swinging, over and over, for approximately one million years. A curse on Remora, all Remora’s friends, Remora’s parents, everyone involved with Remora.

The best tracks here (“Solitary” by Chthonic Force, “The Dancer Eduardova” by Julien Tulip’s Licorice) actually use the words of Kafka himself. That at least means that there’s something of the Czech genius in them. But dammit, Kafka had a sense of humor and saw truly into the human heart. This CD tries to exhume his corpse and kick a few extra dollars out of him. It’s not fair.

I listened to this CD two weeks ago and soon after lapsed into an inexplicable depression that I’m not out of yet. You do the math.

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