I DREAM OF WIRES (Robert Fantinatto, Jason Amm). 93 minutes. Saturday (August 23) at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor West, 416-637-3123). See Indie & Rep Film.
When Robert Fantinatto and Jason Amm first started working on I Dream Of Wires, they assumed there would be a very small niche audience for a film about modular synthesis. But much to their surprise, the project's momentum generated enough buzz that they were able to fund it through a very successful Indiegogo campaign and strong pre-sales of the absurdly detailed, four-hour DVD "Hardcore Edition" of their documentary.
"When these synths came out in the late 60s, people had a hard enough time grasping electronic sounds at all," Amm explains.
"But I think people are ready now for these kinds of extreme sounds, because electronic music is so pervasive and dominates everything you hear on the radio, from hip-hop to techno."
Their main goal was to tell the story of why modular synthesizers fell out of favour in the 80s and 90s but have made a major comeback in recent years. However, they ended up with a larger narrative about technological developments and their impact on the history of electronic music.
"We didn't set out to get into all that other stuff, but just through the process of explaining where modulars went and why they're coming back, we ended up having to tell the whole story of synthesizers, which I think works in [the film's] favour."
DJ set at 8 pm by Solvent (Amm) precedes the 9:30 pm screening; live synth performance by Keith Fullerton Whitman and Q&A with directors follows.
What are they?
Before Moog was a household name, synthesizers were huge machines made up of many smaller modules that could be patched together into nearly infinite configurations. To make a sound, the user had to physically connect oscillators, filters and other signal processors with wires.
While modular synthesizers fell out of favour for many years due to their unwieldy size, cost and complexity, a new generation of small companies and DIY manufacturers have sparked a resurgence in their popularity, and EDM superstars like Deadmau5 have helped seduce a new generation of synth nerds with photos of his massive wall of modules and colourful wires.