MUSIC REVIEW | HETEROSEXUAL MUMMIES BY BRAIN MASTURBATION
I tend to linger over art that feels like it’s edging the limits of sanity. This time it was a track called Heterosexual Mummies from the Cypriot band Brain Masturbation that got me obsessed over it. What happened as soon as it started playing was that I stopped whatever it was that I was doing, found a blank spot on the wall to stare at, and bulged my eyes as if they could facilitate my listening.
The music of Brain Masturbation is itself a juxtaposition. While having an electronic sound mostly, it also incorporates singing that has a primal feeling to it. If I had to take a guess, I would say that their entire album, I saw Nothing, is about what happens after the end of the world. That is, when the earth becomes repopulated by new cave people who stumble upon relics of the civilisation that has perished and accidentally send themselves into space.
Specifically this track, Heterosexual Mummies, seems to be a collage of the band’s nostalgia for primitiveness and their extragalactic ambitions. It lets us in with this repetitive sound that seems menacing, as if it’s warning us that the spaceship we’re travelling on is on fire.
As the repetitive bass beeping continues, the background becomes flooded with a disturbingly catchy song that not long ago used to be very popular (Lean On). It feels as if we’ve wandered into this song but we are not quite ready to appreciate it as entertainment. Probably because of the beeping that remains as loud as before, unchanged, but now, instead of a warning, it seems like a guide.
Well, if the loud beeping is what’s guiding us, then we’re forced to come to the realisation that we’re the cave people. And the loud beeping is the sound of our primitive consciousness losing its shit because we’re not in our cave anymore.
All we can do is listen closely and follow. The catchy song stops and other sounds appear. Oh, hello electric guitar. Us cave people are shaking our heads a little bit. What was that, a harmonica? We can definitely hear some children’s toys in there. Us cave people are actually enjoying this. Yes, having fun makes us forget about wanting to know where we are. Having fun makes the beeping sound go away. Now there’s more percussion, more toys. Hell yeah.
And then the beeping returns. But this time it’s different, it’s faster and not as loud. Everything is slowly going quieter. And the track stops. We are left feeling puzzled and cheated because, just like some movie by Yiorgos Lanthimos, the track stops without having given us any answers, or any instructions on how we return to being civilised.