Alienation and obsolescence on Super 8 — Gardens & Villa announce their new LP Music For Dogs with an arresting mini-doc that asks if we’ve lost our soul to the machines.

“Have we forgotten how to feel,” asks the narrator in Gardens & Villa’s moody new short doc Maximize. Shot beautifully on 35mm and Super 8, it presents Los Angeles as if viewed through the eyes of 1920s avant-garde provocateurs Dziga Vertov and Sergei Eisenstein, giving an insight into the ideas, doubts and reflections swirling around the bands’ heads as they wrote and recorded their new LP, Music For Dogs.

Gardens & Villa’s move from sun-dappled California college town Santa Barbara to a hulking warehouse in East LA has clearly had an effect, taking the synth-driven four-piece to a darker and more introspective place. Where previous records riffed on New Age and Eastern Religion, songwriters Chris Lynch and Adam Rasmussen are now exploring technological alienation, false hopes and obsolescence. “Are machines making me less me, or am I more because of machines,” ponders Maximize’s narrator. “Some day all will be rendered obsolete.”

To document the process of making Music For Dogs, the band brought director David Del Sur and cinematographer SL Perlin on side. “We were not concerned with answering any questions since their answers live on the record,” Del Sur explains. “Our job was to merely convey the mental and physical environment in which the music was created in thus setting up the world that record lives in.”

Ahead of Music For Dogs’ release on August 21 via Secretly Canadian (War on Drugs, SUUNS, Here We Go Magic), Maximize is an arresting opening salvo. Nodding its head to French artist Chris Marker’s science fiction featurette La Jetée, it stakes Gardens & Villa’s grand ambitions, while lifting the lid on their non-linear and contemplative mental universe.

“Our home, our studio, and all of our Los Angeles haunts were captured and explained with a sharpness boarding on clairvoyance,” Adam explains. “The process of writing and recording Music For Dogs is encapsulated brilliantly in this short documentary, Maximize. We hope hope you enjoy this window into our madness and love.”

Music For Dogs from Gardens & Villa is out August 21 on Secretly Canadian.