TUNE Fanfarlo - Cell Song
“Out of nothing, making something like yourself”
We're better off together. This is the conclusion a few cells one day reached. And so they cooperated, and they grew dependent on one another, so that one day they couldn't even survive on their own.
We like to think of ourselves as being individual: one, singular. But in fact we are a whole galaxy of cells, billions clinging together forming an unspoken pact. Or, as Fanfarlo put it in Cell Song, a song devoted to the contradiction of how the body is both one and many: “We have a contract, yes we have each other's backs / We made a promise but one day we'll fall apart”. You could think of the body as an evolutionary love story.
There is a strange beauty to how our mind perhaps really came about as a practical solution to what are the problems of such a complicated heap of life: the need to remember, understand and communicate. A parliament for the billions to work out their differences.
Maybe we are just lucky to have this consciousness-machine. For now, the universe has a way of looking at itself, when we look at each other. But one day, evolution could decide that it no longer needs this fraught and cumbersome super-computer, that it needs to downsize in the brain department. “Until the world gets tired of looking at itself / We have a place, a fighting chance”, sings Simon Balthazar in a track that echoes the '60s eccentric girl-groups of Shadow Morton, the '70s blue-eyed soul of Dexys and Bowie, and '80s Scottish indie heroes Orange Juice.
It's a strange pop song, because of its subject matter but also because of its many nooks and crannies – where an erratic muted trumpet or a tape delay spinning out of control will suddenly appear; the song sometimes threatening to fall apart, only to then rush headlong into another chorus swathed in harmonies and drunken synth strings, re-affirming that this – our body – is one hell of a strange arrangement, but hey – it works.
Cell Song, taken from the album Let's Go Extinct, is released on 28th April on the band's own label New World Records. It is accompanied by the song Painting With Life, which in this instrumental version takes on an exciting parallel life, showcasing the band's powerful, idiosyncratic orchestration. There is also a suitably wonder-full, sprawling, surreal video featuring an impressive feat of stop-motion carried out by the prodigiously talented Ewan Jones on a staggering amount of individual ink-jet printed sheets of paper. [link to video]