Cineplexx, the creation of the industrious and tireless Sebastiàn Litmanovich, has just released his 11th album called Perfume on October 20th. It is an ambient and flowing, yet substantial album.
Admittedly, I’m learning something new every day at Inyourspeakers, and when I was assigned Perfume my heart quickened. A Spanish-language album, I thought? How could I review something I did not understand? However, we should all keep in mind when listening to music several genres may not be favorites, or even easily understood. Since music is universal, it speaks to all on levels we may have to analyze and unravel, but the harmonies, the themes, and the sounds should still move and be something we can digest and soak up no matter the language. Now, moving onto Cineplexx’s Perfume.
Sebastiàn Litmanovich, a Buenos Aires-cum-London talented musician and graphic artist (Tea Time Studio) has been around for quite some time now. He counts several artists, from A-V, as his influences; ABBA, The Beach Boys, BMX Bandits, Cerati, Flaming Lips, Magnetic Fields, Teenage Fan Club, The Ronnettes, The Vaselines and Velvet Underground. With so many different genres of music, Litmanovich delved into some pretty random and interesting projects, but it was in 1998 that Cineplexx was catapulted into the the speakers of lucky listeners today. It all began when Sebastiàn and his frequent collaborator and brother Martin picked up a 4-track and recorded scads of material. Their first LP, Posologia, was released in 1999, and from there, Cineplexx just kept getting stronger.
On this LP, Sebastiàn takes the audience on a lovely and luxurious ride. In an email to the man himself, I asked him what his thoughts were on Perfume and this is what he had to say; “Perfume is more about small fragments of [sic] everyday life, of relationships, [and] is my most romantic album at moments; it is mixed [with] a kind of subconscious psychedelic dream.” Sebastiàn goes on to say he would say it is lyrically a bit how he sees life, although the album is not necessarily autobiographical. He sings about love, and about stopping to think [about] the nonsense in everyday things. He is conveying in these tracks, “he wants you to observe and appreciate the simple and the beauty; there [need] be no drama [in life].”
While listening to Perfume, I understood what Sebastiàn means: the album starts off very dreamy and lush. The psych-pop and atmospheric sound is perfect for chilling near a body of water, relaxing with a book, taking a walk through the woods, riding your bike, or even just throwing it on and playing it for a party. You don’t need to speak or understand Spanish to know what Cineplexx is longingly singing to you in that echo-like reverb voice because he will draw you in. There are a couple of missteps on Perfume but the lack of precise and paramount creations are what make Cineplexx more distinct.
Sebastiàn told me the name of the album came from the song “Perfume” itself, which is a fanciful, appealing tune. He says, “I like the idea of the fragrance as a narcotic, as the appreciation of beauty in life, to stop and smell a flower for a second is a real statement, especially today! I also like the poetry in the idea the [scent] of perfume won’t last forever.” This is all beautiful and sweet, for “Perfume” the song is quite pleasing, but as I mentioned, the album has a few sluggish moments. On “Despertar,” which basically translates to “arouse, to stir up,” is ironically a heavy and lethargic track I felt weighed down an album of otherwise floaty and ambrosial pop songs. It would be an unfortunate turn of events had “Despertar” exist anywhere else on the album except last. While there are a couple of other set-backs, Perfume has a smooth-groove going.
On “Melody,” the hooks grab you immediately in this showy and upbeat pop song which Sebastiàn says was inspired by the 1971 Bee Gee film of the same name. As one of his favorite films as a child, he tells me, “I was always in love and this film is a great portrait of the excitement and desperation of the first love.” This is something we can all relate to, of course, and when one lets that music flow through one freely, then one can feel that excitement too. Sebastiàn goes on to say that “Melody” describes a bit of [this love] with phrases like, "let’s runaway together, I [have] escaped a bit early to come see you, etc. [In] the fantasy of the kid [world], everything is possible, in contrast to the adult world [where] almost nothing is possible."
I must note that Sebastiàn is quite the romantic, and it shows on Perfume, an album of brotherly relationships, heroes, romance, love and making sure to stop and just appreciate what life is giving to you. Available in digital format through Nuevahola Records and on CD with Molecula Records, Perfume from Cineplexx is a pleasing and satisfying whirl. Listeners will welcome the feeling of adoration sensed after Sebastiàn sings.
1. Cosas de la Vida Normal
2. No Da
3. Bicho Palo
6. Eterna Tibieza
7. Crawl o Mariposa
12. Este Final