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April 09, 1996 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-04-09

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WCBN offers free tunes ...
WCBN-FM is hosting a free night of local music tonight from 9 to 11
o'clock at Amer's Cafe in the Michigan Union. 4AD-style Velour 100
and Detroit space-rockers Windy and Carl will play the gala event.
Come out and support WCBN and the local music scene,

April 9,1996

*Lawrence's 'Thin Line' falls flat

By Bryan Lark
Daily Arts Writer
From the first scene of"A Thin Line
Between Love And Hate," which mir-
rors the opening of the classic "Sunset
Boulevard," we can tell that the ensuing
film will not be a thoroughly original
The sequence, depicting the protago-
ist floating face-down in a pool and
eginning to tell the story of how he got
there, provides an homage to cinematic
genius -but does not further the cause
of "Thin Line."
Although the humor seems recycled
from "Def Comedy Jam" and the ma-
jority of the performances weak, the
film is not wholly old and tired.
"Thin Line" marks the directorial
debut of newborn renaissance man
*Martin Lawrence, who also co-wrote
and produced the film. Taking time out
from his hit sit-corn, Lawrence directs
"Thin Line" responsibly but generi-
cally, and makes the film an amusing
ride that is unexpectedly suspenseful.
It is the story of womanizing club
manager Darnell Wright and his friends,
as they talk about their trials with women
and the merits of never saying "I love
you." From its description, the film
may sound like the flipside of "Waiting
*o Exhale," told from the perspective
of the player, not the jilted woman.
However, this movie focuses on
Darnell's relationships, features Bobby

A Thin Line
Between Love
and Hate
Directed by Martin
Lawrence; with Martin
Lawrence and
Lynn Whitfield
At Showcase
Brown instead of Whitney Houston and
is nowhere near as insightful or enter-
As Darnell smooth-talks his way
through life using every ounce of his
big-eared charm, he is beside himself
when he encounters the stunning Brandi
Web (Lynn Whitfield).
Brandi seems to be the perfect woman
for Darnell - beautiful, wealthy, suc-
cessful and independent. What Darnell
does not realize is that under that cool,
distant facade lies an obsessive, emo-
tional wreck.
Though she initially rejects his ad-
vances, Darnell is determined to win
Brandi's affections, betting his best
friend Tee (Bobby "Mr. Houston"
Brown) that if he gets Brandi, then Tee
must always greet him with a cry of

"You're The Man!"
During his attempts to woo Brandi,
Darnell is reunited with his childhood
friend Mia (Regina King) who has re-
turned from the Air Force as an atten-
tion-grabbing woman in her own right.
Darnell juggles the two women in his
life, trying everything he can to get
close to Brandi while having casual
relations with the down-to-earth Mia.
To consummate his relationship with
Brandi and win the bet, Darnell becomes
desperate and is forced to use the final
weapon in his arsenal of lust. In the throes
of seduction, he utters the three words that
damn him -"I love you."
Before you can sing the first verse of
"Let's Get It On," Darnell has achieved
his goal and is finally physical with
Brandi. But in the heatofpassion, Brandi
tells Darnell a little secret -she killed
her abusive husband.
As their relationship grows, Brandi
begins a slow downward spiral into
depression and psychosis. After a short
period of Brandi's protectiveness of
him, Darnell realizes that it is Mia that
he truly loves and gets rid of Brandi like
she's last week's cottage cheese.
In classic, unsurprising Hollywood
fashion, Brandi does not accept his re-
jection and turns her dejection into vio-
lent manifestations of malice.
While Brandi apparently goes com-
pletely insane and destroys his life in
creative ways - with charges of domes-

"Ear wax. I see tons of ear wax."
tic violence and vandalism - Darnell
learns how deep his love for Mia is and
vows never to use the I-word unless he
means it. (This is the moral of this story,
just in case it was not blatant enough.)
As "Thin Line" creeps toward a cli-
max, Brandi becomes out of control
and Darnell knows that he must stop her
for Mia's sake.
Ultimately, the mix of bawdy scato-

logical humor for which Martin
Lawrence is famous and the mass-
produced plot of an erotic thrillergives
us the feeling that we have seen this
entire movie before.
What makes this film worthwhile is
the tour-de-force performance of Lynn
Whitfield, who has been neglected by
the film industry since her award-win-
ning portrayal of the title character in

"The Josephine Baker Story." Whitfield
utilizes each bit of rage and emotion to
convey Brandi's malicious tendencies,
earning her place beside Sharon Stone
as one of the greatest femme fatales of
all time.
There may be "A Thin Line Between
Love and Hate," but there is definitely,
a large gap between this film and come-
dic-thri11er perfection.

rare music
By Nikhil Chawla
For the Daily
* The Indian cousin of the violin, the
sarangi, will be showcased in a per-
formance by Ms. Aruna Kalle tonight
at Rackham Auditorium. A heavy-
bodied instrument characteristic of
the north of India, the sarangi consists
of a thick-waisted body and broad
neck. It is held by the performer in a
vertical position, much as the viola de
Gamba is played in the western clas-
ical tradition.
Unlike its western counterparts, how-
ever, the sarangi has as many as 40
strings vibrating under three playing
strings. This unique configuration pro-
vides the listener with a sound that
closely resembles the richness of the
human voice. The great violinist Yehudi
Menuhin, long a proponent and per-
former of Indian classical music, says
that the sarangi
"most poignantly
nd most reveal- ARUNA
ingly expresses the Where: Rackhan
very soul of Indian When: Tonight at
feeling and Admission is freE
To date, there
are no accounts of the origin of the
sarangi. Legend has it that a weary
traveling physician was walking
through a forest. When he lay down to
rest under a tree, he heard a beautiful
O elody of notes. Searching for the
origin of the music, the physician came
upon the dried up hide of a dead mon-
key stretched over the branches of a
tree. As the gentle winds caressed the
hide, the beautiful sounds were pro-
Born in Bombay, Aruna Kalle is
the result of five generations of vo-
calists and instrumentalists. She is
the daughter of the renowned sarangi
&maestro Ram Narayan, who is cred-

Dayton's Brainiac plays cracked machine punk

Sarangi master Aruna Kalle brings her
special sound and talented playing to
Rackham Auditorium In a special
concert this evening.

By Heather Phares
Daily Arts Writer
"We're not trying to be weird," in-
sisted Brainiac guitarist John Schmersal
in a recent interview with The Michi-
gan Daily. Yet somehow, they are any-
way, at least to most listeners. The
Dayton, Ohio, quartet cranks out some
of the most schizophrenic, frantic, dis-
torted music you're likely to hear with
your current pair of ears.
Their three albums, "Smack Baby
Bunny," "Bonzai Superstar" and their
latest, "Hissing Prigs in Static Cou-
ture," stretch the boundaries of music,
incorporating samples, keyboards and
processed sounds and vocals in a way
that's, well, iconoclastic. Just don't use
the "w' word" around Schmersal to
describe Brainiac's sound.
"It's not weird to me at all," he con-
tinued. "It's not weird to me to sample
a Morse code training record. I like to
listen to stuff like that. We want to be
original, we don't want to be typical. It
makes me feel weird when people say,
'Your music is most annoying,' or that
we're a parody band, that we sound like
Ween. It makes me feel like they're
missing the point, because Ween's
music is mostly funny and Brainiac
likes to express all emotions."

That "weird" label persists, however,
even among the band's fans. When
asked why the band's name is nearly
synonymous with the unusual,
Schmersal replied, "I guess it depends
on what kind of music you like to listen

to. People listen to
the radio a bit too
much, maybe.
(Brainiac) is new,
and sometimes it
takes a while for
new things to be-
come listenable to
Yet Brainiac
manages to make
even the most daring

Where: The Shelter
When: Tonight at 8 o'clock.
Call (313) 961-MELT for
more information.

Sounding re-
ally cool doesn't
cost the group
much. Years of
hanging around
the Dayton area's
pawnshops gar-
nered the group
almost all of their
instruments, par-
ticularly when
out. Schmersal ex-

sound cool.
"I think the most interesting effect
we've used on a song was an electric
fan.-.. Again, it's not an effect where
you can tell, 'Oh, he's singing through
a fan.' It just sounds really cool."

sonic adventures

they were starting


ited with making the sarangi a solo
instrument when it was primarily be-
ing used to accompany vocalists. He
also brought about changes in tradi-
tional bowings and fingerings in or-
der to suit the novel style of music for
the sarangi.
Kalle began her studies with her
father at the relatively late age of 18,
although critics say that she has ab-
sorbed much of her father's graceful-
ness and fine
. E technique. She
made fast
\uditorium progress special-
7:30. izing in solo
sarangi and has
played in numer-
ous concerts in
India and several other countries.
Kalle now lives in Toronto, where she
performs and where she is a faculty
member at York University and the
University of Toronto.
Among her other accomplishments,
Aruna Kalle has played in the
soundtrack of Atom Egoyan's 1995
film, "Exotica." She also composed and
performed the soundtrack for Leila
Sujir's film, "Dreams of the Night
Apart from being one of only a hand-
ful of solo sarangi players in the world,
Kalle holds the distinction of being the
first and only woman to perform the

enjoyable, even poppy. Once accustomed
to the psychotic vocals of singer Timmy
Taylor and the sonic soup of samples,
keyboards and angular guitar riffs,
Brainiac's sound becomes addictive.
"Hissing Prigs in Static Couture"particu-
larly encapsulates the band's distinctive
mix of punk and avant garde noise.
Noises of all kinds fascinate
Schmersal: "Basically, if you can't tell
how a sound is produced, it's impres-
sive," he said. "I like to use things that
when you mix them with other sounds,
you can't tell what they are, but they

plained Brainiac's low-cost experimen-
talism: "For one thing, we don't have a
lot of money. That's why we used a lot
of Moog and Moog-type synthesizers
for a while, because in the Dayton area
they were really cheap."
"Hissing Prigs" shows that Brainiac
is moving even farther away from any
type of easily classifiable sound. Songs
like"Pussyfootin"' and "Vincent Come
on Down" sound like typical (if there is
such a thing) Brainiac rave-ups, with
loud vocals and louder keyboards and
guitars. But tracks like "Indian Poker
Part 3" show the group exploring qui-
eter sonic territory. For the third time,
the group worked with Eli Janney of
Girls Against Boys as their producer, a
partnership that's resulting in ever-
stronger music from Brainiac.
Schmersal said of the band's new al-
bum, "it was pretty planned out. Some of
the songs started out as live songs, some
of them were beefed-up home recordings
and some were originally home record-
ings that were redone in the studio. Eli is

a great person to work with. We've been
learning a bit about studios and what we
wanttodo,butwestill don'tknowhowto,
use the studio well yet, so it's good to
have someone like Eli around."
While "Hissing Prigs" is in the
Brainiac non-tradition of crazed ex-
perimentalism, it also marks a turning
point in the band's sound, particularly
in how the band approaches songs in
their charged performances. Schmersal
said of their new songs, "Some of them
are really different, and some of them
can't translate live at all. They weren't
meant to translate. Some of them aren't
even songs; they're just like little inter-
missions between the songs that could
end up on a film soundtrack."
Even though the group's records
never fail to intrigue, the best way to
experience Brainiac is to see- one of
their incredible live shows. Their last
two shows in Ann Arbor electrified the
crowds, and tonight's gig at the Shelter
looks to be just as charismatic. Expect
lots of jumping, screaming and heck-
ling - from the band, that is. Live
Brainiac looks to provoke a reaction
from their audiences.
"We would like them to dance,"
Schmersal said. "But ifthey don't want
to, I guess that's OK. We like to put on
an energetic show, and when you're
jumping all over the place and you look
out on this still-lifepainting, it's kind of
weird. If people are hollering and
screaming that they love us, or ifthey're
badgering us, it's cool. There's nothing
more obnoxious than going to a city and'
having people just stand there." And
there's nothing more exciting than see,
ing and hearing this iconoclastic, enter-
taining, and (sorry, John) occasionally
weird band.


Brainiac's just wacky!


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