Local Record Review: 'Black Widow' by Alex Cima

Categories: Beat Blvd.

Alex Cima
Black Widow


Okay, so we didn't expect this in the mail. But that's a good thing, because why deal with the same thing over and over again? So suffice to say we're as surprised as you are that on the day Coachella fully kicks into gear after an initial run-up of separate area shows and all, and proceeds to eat our lives for some time to come, we're listening to a demi-techno project from Alex Cima, a former faculty member in the music department from Fullerton College who has a general resume as long as our arms put together.

It might be the fact that Cima's had that long and varied of a career in different areas that means Black Widow feels a little out of time -- if it had been released in 1992 it wouldn't have been surprising at all. There were a lot of musicians in the whole SoCal area that were trying to square 80s club funk with what "Energy Flash," MARS-FM and rave in general were pointing towards as a next step. Overall this sounds like an extension of that -- the first time something definitely sounds from this decade would be the appropriately titled "Dubber," and yes, the bass drops are there.

But otherwise listening to something like "Dreams" partially puts one in mind of early 808 State numbers, while songs such as "Club Monk" loos back a little towards dance moves before that, the era when Underworld hadn't really reinvented themselves yet. It's a pleasant listen, a bit of a TV soundtrack that never was, and it's hard to get the image of chase scenes from the original Miami Vice mixed with something like, say, Kathryn Bigelow's sort-of cyberpunk movie Strange Days out out of one's head. Even the wobbly spoken word sentiments on "Love Happy" seem both distant and strangely familiar.

Black Widow can be purchased on iTunes.

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Alex Cima
Alex Cima

Dear Ned:

Thank you for taking the time to review my CD "Black Widow".

I would take issue with a couple of items. First the vast majority of the sound banks and synthesizers used in Black Widow were not around anywhere near 1992, and the arrangements of the titles are thicker and more cinematic than the standard generic techno tune you may have heard back then.

Also, "Club Monk" is the cut that makes me dance the most, that was the idea.

Thanks again.


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