Part of the Art, Design, & Architecture Series
Obsessiveness is next to godliness in I Dream of Wires, a documentary about the angelic, other-worldly modern modular synthesizer instrument and the people who worship at this easel of sound. Many of its practitioners are here: Pere Ubu, Gary Numan, Vince Clarke and Nine Inch Nails’ Alessandro Cortini and Trent Reznor then Acid House; there’s even a visit to Toronto’s own deadmau5 studio. The movie explains the technology’s early breakthroughs – mid-century engineers and computer geeks tinkering with transistors — before it diverges to follow the twin fates of the Moog and Buchla style. This plugs into the East Coast versus West Coast approach, venturing inside the onetime Manhattan Project headquarters and into sonic exploration’s role in the consciousness-opening Haight-Ashbury.
“The ambient, esoteric medium offers ground for many debates – digital versus analog, keyboards vs knobs, Moog vs Buchla and not least into the nature of music itself. Composer Morton Subotnick discusses his pioneering electronic “Silver Apples of the Moon” while other aficionados debate about more crowd-pleasing Switched-On Bach can rightfully even be called electronic music, and the later adaptation (or as the enthusiasts here decry, bastardization) for wider, general consumer by companies like Yamaha. The movie is an interesting, sometimes confusing tangle of opinions, arcane modules, sequencers, patch cords, voltage-control oscillators.” - National Post