The big screen premiere of the I Dream of Wires documentary theatrical cut has been announced for Moogfest, taking place April 23rd-27th in Asheville, North Carolina. Interview subjects include musicians and producers Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), Gary Numan, Vince Clarke (Erasure), Morton Subotnick, Chris Carter (Throbbing Gristle), Daniel Miller, Carl Craig, Flood, Cevin Key (Skinny Puppy), James Holden, Factory Floor, Legowelt, Clark, Richard Devine, Xeno and Oaklander, John Foxx and Bernie Krause, as well as manufacturers and modular industry leaders Doepfer, Modcan, Make Noise, Intellijel, Metasonix, Synthesis Technology/MOTM, Muffwiggler Mike, and Andreas Schneider. An alternate/extended 4 hour cut, I Dream of Wires: Hardcore Edition is 4 hours in length, is available now on dvd and bluray. The film is an independent documentary epic exploring the history, demise and resurgence of the ultimate electronic music machine, the modular synthesizer. Addtional screenings are being confirmed, with Boston’s Together Festival on deck for the second theatrical stop for the shorter cut of the film.
Both an interview subject and producer of the film itself, Solvent (Ghostly International, Morr Music) provides the soundtrack New Ways: Music from the Documentary I Dream Of Wires out now on Suction Records. His analog score provides an appropriate canvas for the film’s various personalities, revealing Solvent’s true love for the material at hand. About the Solvent album, NPR says “Taken by itself, the soundtrack is exploratory and wide-eyed, but most of all playful. And if Kanye West still has that industrial Yeezus itch to scratch anytime soon, he should consider sampling “Burn the Tables.”
Revisit the 12-minute clip featuring Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Alessandro Cortini here. A trailer for the film can be seen here.
I Dream of Wires: Hardcore Edition includes a lengthy historical primer, exploring the early development of modular synthesizers from pioneering companies Moog Music Inc. and Buchla and Associates, right through to the near-extinction of these instruments, brought on by the introduction of portable, digital synthesizers in the ’80s. From there, the rebirth of the modular synthesizer is retraced, leading into the phenomenal resurgence of the modular synthesizer. Along the way is some in-depth exploration of the passions, obsessions and dreams of people who have dedicated part of their lives to this esoteric electronic music machine. What started out as a “vintage-revival scene” in the ’90s has grown into an underground phenomena with a growing market of modular obsessives craving ever more wild and innovative sounds and interfaces. Today, the modular synthesizer is no longer an esoteric curiosity or even a mere music instrument — it is an essential tool for radical new sounds and a bona fide subculture.
For the soundtrack, the album title is not only a continuation of I Dream Of Wires‘ nod to Numan. New Ways also pertains to Solvent’s all-new modular synthesizer toolkit, introducing many new forms of synthesis to his arsenal of electronic sound. In many ways, the modular synthesizer caused an artistic reset, bringing Solvent’s sound full-circle; As on his late-90s Suction Records albums, New Ways doesn’t revel in the classicist synthpop motifs or vocoder-pop of Solvent’s Ghostly catalog, but instead on focusses on making strange sounds sing. New Ways is Solvent’s return to instrumental, headphone electronica.
Before he came on board as producer, Solvent was commissioned by I Dream Of Wires‘ director to create an original soundtrack for the film. At the time, Solvent’s relationship with modular synthesizers was conflicted. Of course, he had long been lured by these elusive, esoteric machines, but was also weary; He wondered if these instruments would be a step away from music making, towards a lifetime of expensive, obsessive tinkering. So many electronic musicians have fallen into the modular “black hole,” never to be heard from again. But, Solvent took on the soundtrack LP as a challenge; determined to expand his synthesis palette with the new possibilities of modular, but with a firm focus on completing a body of work.
The result is New Ways, heard prominently throughout the film, and created, programmed and composed entirely on modular synthesizer systems. Through some generous loans, Solvent was given access to several large-format modulars during the course of the album, including a classic vintage Moog System 15. But the real revelation came from his own newly-acquired, contemporary Eurorack system; for the first time in many years, Solvent found himself thinking outside the “vintage synth” box.
New Ways: Music from the Documentary I Dream of Wires
Out now on Suction Records
I Dream of Wires – Theatrical Cut
International Premiere at Moogfest 2014
I Dream of Wires – Hardcore Edition
‘New Ways’ Tracklist:
Themogene (I Dream Of Wires theme)
Burn The Tables
LPGs over Hawaii
Transfer Function (reprise)