Anemic Cinema (named after the eponymous short film by dadaist Marcel Duchamp), is an instrumental quartet led by Ghent-based guitarist/composer Artan Buleshkaj. The band features (besides Buleshkaj on baritone guitar) some of Belgium’s most adventurous young improvisers: Rob Banken (alto saxophone, clarinet), Steven Delannoye (tenor saxophone, bass clarinet) and Matthias de Waele (drums).

Combining jagged sonorities and riff-based passages from heavy metal (bands like Tyft, Zeus!, Meshuggah, … come to mind), metric structures and (freely) improvised sections inspired by (avant-)jazz, and harmonies reminiscent of modern classical composers such as Olivier Messiaen, Anton Webern, … the band creates an eerie atmosphere featuring intensely nervous and volatile passages that coexist with moments of disquieting reverie, combating monotony but also amplifying both ends of the musical spectrum.

The omission of a conventional bass instrument allows other instruments to assume this role (or not). This creates certain compositional/improvisational challenges which in turn bear new, exciting avenues of musical conception with ample room for freedom within clearly marked boundaries. This all results in a listening experience equal parts visceral, hard-hitting and unpredictable.

A self-titled EP (el NEGOCITO Records) released in 2021 already proved this was no fluke. Buleshkaj took a rather original approach, disbanding with the bass and incorporating two reed instruments and drums. This peculiar line-up not only breaks with traditional instrumentation, but also creates new opportunities to approach the music from different angles. Moreover, the color palette of the clarinets and saxophones not only enables the band to experiment with tone color, but also to incorporate ideas and sounds from chamber music, modern classical and other sources. 

After that, it was time to release a first full album. In February 2023, “ICONOCLASTS” saw daylight on Ramble Records. This record was amply praised in both printed and online press.

Artan Buleshkaj (BE) – baritone guitar
Rob Banken (BE) – alto saxophone, clarinet
Steven Delannoye (BE) – tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Matthias De Waele (BE) – drums

Manchesterstraat 49A/f, 9000 Ghent
Jens Tytgat 

Sydney, Australia