Here's my review/thoughts on IDOW: Hardcore Edition

Discussions and information relating to the upcoming Modular Synthesizer Documentary.

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Post by qu.one » Tue Sep 03, 2013 6:55 pm

Tombola wrote:can't believe the amount of complaining and whining they've had to put up with.
It's not that when they are asking for feedback.

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Post by s o l v e n t » Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:19 pm

I posted this thread so that there was a unified place for people to express their opinions with each other, instead of it ending up in various other threads. Additionally, a big reason that I started the thread so that it would be titled "IDOW: Hardcore Edition" instead of I Dream Of Wires, as per the note that came with the DVD/BRD.

I'm reading it, sure. And I don't want to discourage people expressing their opinions, positive or negative. But we didn't ask for feedback, so better to write the review for other MW members than think of it as offering advice for the filmmakers.

I don't believe that the director Robert has even read this thread, nor have I discussed with him any of the critiques that have come up. No plans to do so, either!
qu.one wrote:
Tombola wrote:can't believe the amount of complaining and whining they've had to put up with.
It's not that when they are asking for feedback.

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Post by emdot_ambient » Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:31 pm

thesnow wrote:
tachyons+ wrote:What about the guy who was like 98% of people who buy my stuff are Pro's and .3% who buy the other stuff are amateurs, knob-twiddlers.

What a pompous ass. Ha~!

PS: Pro's usually can not create creative unique music.
They are too busy being pro.
what are you talking about he was talking about both of his formats and informing that the people that buy his 5U format modules usually tend to be professional musicians or engineers in the field (nothing wrong with that) and the people that buy his euro format modules usually tend not to be. so what is your problem with that?
Yep. People like Robert Rich built their modulars around his 5U systems. Why? Mainly because their build quality was so exacting. Expensive switches, near audiophile component choices, etc.

And now he's moved into Eurorack because that's really where sales are. His percentages might have been hyperbole, but he's largely just talking truth. And so what? If he was that big of a large format purist, he never would have touched Eurorack format.

He also came up with a brilliant phrase: TTH (Turn Till Happy). Admit it, we've all been there. :hihi:

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Post by noobyscooby » Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:40 pm

I think the comment was a bit off. There are plenty of 5U/MOTM knob twiddlers and many professional musicians using eurorack.

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Post by s o l v e n t » Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:06 pm

Personally I really enjoyed Paul Schreiber's perspective, coming at things from a totally different angle and background than most manufacturers, especially amongst the eurorack guys; speaking as a pure engineer. Somewhat baffling coming from a music instrument designer, but intriguing. Ultimately the awesomeness of his instruments speak for themselves IMO.

I'm a professional musician and a eurorack user, and not the least bit offended by his statements about the eurorack market. It's totally exaggerated and paints a poor generalization of eurorack users, but there is some truth to it as well. Plus it's hilarious. For me it's the same as a lot of the 5U guys getting riled up about Barbour's comments that they're stuck in the 70s. Also an unfair generalization, and also hilarious.

Maybe I should start a thread for discussion/debates about what people in the film said/did/etc, since it's not really an "opinion" about the film itself...?

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Post by kuxaan-sum » Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:40 pm

Got through part 1 and a portion of part 2.
So far I am liking 2 a bit more, but 1 was very well thought out and informational.
2 has been a little random (I like that...kind of reminds me of some of my cases) but more exciting in the sense of the resurgence.

I hope to watch remainder tomorrow evening.

Good job Solvent!!
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Post by emdot_ambient » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:39 am

s o l v e n t wrote:...For me it's the same as a lot of the 5U guys getting riled up about Barbour's comments that they're stuck in the 70s. Also an unfair generalization, and also hilarious.
And at least partly true, too. This coming from an old guy who prefers 5U and who is stuck in the 70s. "Modular synth" to me means one thing: Klaus Schulze. And I wasn't offended, nor disappointed that Schulze's name never came up in the film.

But I do agree with the guy who said he has nothing against Eurorack, only he finds some of it to be really ugly.

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Post by sys700 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:56 am

Awesome documentary!

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Post by shaft9000 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:26 am

Synth Sandwich
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Post by FlameTop » Wed Sep 04, 2013 5:35 pm

Just finished watching it this evening. I must say the thing that impressed me the most was the excellent balance of the content. We all know the modular scene is a mix of disparate personalities, technologies and ideals. Thats what makes the modular scene and muffs so vibrant. I found the balance of art vs tech vs history vs future in the movie spot on. Really very well put together. Well done! Bravo!
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Post by Bryan B » Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:02 pm

I sat and watched the film last weekend and loved it all start to finish! My fiance watched the last half hour no complaints (which means it was interesting even to someone who isn't into synthesizers). She was even asking me questions afterward, nice job. My 9-year old step daughter to be was even glued to the TV during some parts of it (although some of the language wasn't quite appropriate, I lucked out as far as her timing).

I was waiting for some of the parts I had accidentally read about in some reviews and was happy to find them far less controversial than I had expected. The whole SMT section applies to more formats than Euro and will affect all formats in some form or another in the near future. I didn't interpret that section as saying Euro is the only format with a future.

I think the most amazing thing with being on this forum (and going to synth meets) is that it humanizes the whole culture while also connecting it. This movie continues that concept. When you see interviews with all of the artists, collectors and manufacturers; it really brings everyone closer together and removes a layer of mystery. How could you not view the people in this film as human and worth some level of respect (as opposed to stores or corporations with no name, face or personality)? I feel like I now have a more complex picture of at least some of what is going on thanks to this film.

The film had a general optimism toward the growing popularity of modular synthesizers, which I agree with and wholeheartedly support.

Thank you to everyone who made, were interviewed or even pledged money to make this film happen. I feel like you all really did something awesome!

Lastly, I want to thank you for listening (to a bunch of us) and releasing this in the Blu-Ray format! I loved watching it on my 55" TV in all of it's HD nerdery! I honestly wouldn't have enjoyed the level of detail as much in a DVD format, the amazing content would have more than made up for it anyway.
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Post by BadBadger » Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:19 pm

emdot_ambient wrote:But I do agree with the guy who said he has nothing against Eurorack, only he finds some of it to be really ugly.
I'm in complete agreement. Though I'm only now fixin' to begin to prepare to commence to get started putting my first Eurorack together, I'm at once pleased and turned off with the variety of artwork on some of the modules I've discovered in my research.

I absolutely appreciate the need to stand out in the crowd and to express one's uniqueness. Some of the art is not only clever, but brilliant—reflecting the imagination and ingenuity of these electronic wizards. Still, at times the art only seems to make things even more confusing than they already are. It's bad enough that we have to translate the different names/labels different designers give the exact same functions, but now we have to have masters degrees in art appreciation just to know what fucking jack to plug this clock signal into? Here's an idea—include a blank panel and I'll have my four-year-old niece draw what she thinks an EG out should look like on the damn thing. Then I'll take the original and stick it on my fridge. :mrgreen:

Does that make me a fuddy-duddy? Fuckin-A, you whippersnappers! :youkids:




But, back to why we're here. While to some it may seem inexcusable that Jason and Robert had the unmitigated gall to go off on their own and create a movie about an arcane subject that only a small and passionate group of people can deeply appreciate, without consulting us on the script and cast, I couldn't be more pleased!

I will watch all four hours many times, still learn new things, and enjoy being informed and entertained by the eclectic group that they were able to interview. Not to mention how many times I will probably freeze the disc to drool over the amazing collections of hardware. I wish I had the time, money, and passion to produce such an unusual, well-shot, and way overdue documentary. Frankly, I'm in awe of their tenacity, spirit, and risk-taking.

I hope this film is a huge success for these guys. And I'm sure the shorter, theatrical version will be far more interesting and entertaining to the general public, to the point that IDOW may be seen as an educational turning point. Maybe I won't hear that "Oh! Is that a mooooog?" so much anymore.

To this day, my mom has no fucking idea why her son has been so fascinated by all this weird shit. But when IDOW is released, and I ask her to watch it, I imagine she will find herself a big step closer to finally understanding.

And if Jason and Robert don't end up shitting in high cotton, they can still take pride in knowing that a world (albeit small) of nerds will always be ready to shake their hands, and buy them a beer. :beer:

Come to Atlanta, boys. I can't put you up in the Ritz-Carlton, but breakfast at the Waffle House is on me! :tu:

"This one goes to eleven!"

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Post by KnobHell » Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:03 pm

I just finished watching IDOW tonight. I really loved the film!!

Though if I hear the words "euro rack" any time soon I think I will vomit.

I can appreciate that ER is popular and offers an amazing number of options. But it's just a freaking panel format for petes sake! You can put any electronics behind any format. I think is was a bit unfair to associate electronics with format. Behind some of my modules are uC's...

Loved the music, the people, the entire concept. It was great to see the faces of many of you other there in muffs land.

Bravo! :yay:
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Post by kuxaan-sum » Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:22 pm

The Buchla reference from Eric:
Does this mean Metasonix is contemplating the release of an iShit module?
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Post by hexenexeh » Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:44 pm

As someone who was familiar with the older gear but inactive for a few years before being drawn back in, it's a good primer on where the eurorack and new school stuff is coming from, the people behind it.
For instance - "whoa, is that Paul Barker?"

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Post by ignatius » Thu Sep 05, 2013 2:57 pm

finally had a block of time this morning to watch IDOW hardcore edition. it goes well w/eating chicken and waffles (comfort food) on the basement couch.

really awesome. fun. inspiring and just super well done. editing is great. it sounds awesome. looks awesome.

thanks to everyone who took part in it and made time to be interviewed and provide content...

and thanks to IDOW for going all in and making the longer cut for us addicted peoples. :tu:

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Post by clarke68 » Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:06 pm

Just watched (most of) it last night.

Totally awesome...loved it. Loved it!!! Even more than I thought I would. There are some minor niggles here and there, things that could be more professional or whatever (things that probably would have gotten addressed if more than two people had made the film) but I expected (and would have forgiven) much worse.

Part 1 is excellent...ready for the BBC, IMO. Narration is top notch...I would have been impressed if I didn't know who it was, knowing it was Navs it blows me away. Does he do a lot of voice work? He certainly could.

The overall story of Moog & Buchla is one I already know, so it didn't blow my mind but I thought it was covered well. That said, hearing Morton Subotnick talk about "Switched on Bach" is worth the price of the DVD all by itself. :hihi:

I thought EMS got short shrift (at least early on)...seemingly dismissed by Wendy Carlos' comments, but I happen to know the back story on that and it would have taken a herculean amount of research to find it (short version: the VCS3 & Synthi oscillators actually track very well, but not many people know how to properly calibrate them...consequently the sales rep who showed it to Carlos didn't have it set up properly).

We're all fans of some musicians that we would have liked to see included, but I think the list of people who appear on camera is pretty impressive. I really liked Daniel Miller's contributions to the BBC synth pop documentary, and his comments in here are priceless (as was the inclusion of "Warm Leatherette"!).


Part 2 is...hardcore. 8_) Obviously not for everybody, but it wasn't meant to be. It was made, essentially, for me (okay, for us)...and I freaking love it. I completely understand everyone's comments but here's the thing: it's impossible to accurately describe/explain/represent any kind of cultural phenomenon while it's happening. Most documentaries are like Part 1...they (and everyone in them) has the insight/clarity that comes from hindsight. They saw what happened, saw how it influenced what happened later on, and have had some time (usually years) to process it. No one in 1965 could have explained the difference between east coast & west coast synthesis...they didn't even have the terms.

Usually, anyone who comes along who "speaks for a generation", "has their finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist", or whatever has an agenda. They have some perspective that they're pushing, usually at the expense (or at least the exclusion) of some other point(s) of view. The modular synth resurgence is happening right now (I don't think it's peaked yet) and IDOW HE does a good job impartially covering the scene. Things were left out because of the physical realities of things...there wasn't time to cover everything, and even if there was it wouldn't all fit on the DVD.

I was happy that it features more DIY than I expected. Lori Napoleon's project of making an old phone switchboard into a synth isn't typical sdiy (which makes it even cooler) but to hear her mention Ken Stone and unbox a Bi-N-Tic kit from Elby in a movie is just awesome. Awesome! And, she was a great tie in to the Dewanatron guys, who have been a big personal inspiration for a long time. The big takeaway, of course, is that everyone who makes modular gear is a DIYer. Don Buchla & Bob Moog are/were DIYers, as are Tony Rolando & Danjel van Tijn...they're just more talented/driven than most of us. Sheesh, you need a little comfortability with electronics just to plug a euro module in to the darn power supply. It may be popular, but this stuff isn't going to be ready for the Walmart crowd any time soon.

Great music throughout! People always talk over the music in a documentary, so as much as I would have loved more straight performance footage, I get it. Actually, some straight up music would have been great bonus features (if there were room on the disc(s) for bonus features). Still looking forward to the soundtrack CD. :hyper: Will it just have Solvent's music, or is there any chance of squeezing some of the other movie music on there (e.g. the Allen Ravenstine/Robert Wheeler jam, stuff from the Mutek conference, etc. )

Of course in my opinion, the major gaffe/oversight is the fact that I was at the meet in Berkeley, and I don't appear in the film at all. My wife is grateful for this, however, because if they had shown even 1 second of the corner my sleeve cuff I would get the disc out and show everyone that came over the the house for the next 10 years.

All in all, a fantastic effort. I hope it does great things for Jason & Robert's careers, and I hope it screens somewhere near where I live so I can show up wearing my t-shirt and say stuff like, "oh yeah...I helped fund this. I knew them back where they were on Kickstarter."


s o l v e n t wrote:Personally I really enjoyed Paul Schreiber's perspective...I'm a professional musician and a eurorack user, and not the least bit offended by his statements about the eurorack market.
I'm not a professional musician, and I am a eurorack user...heck, I'm exactly who he was talking about...and I wasn't the least bit offended by his comment. In some ways, non-musicians are dream customers (look at all the people who buy pianos "so their kids can take lessons"): our money is just as good as the pros, but we'll never call up at 3am saying, "I'm on tour in Europe and my oscillators aren't tracking...help!"
BadBadger wrote:While to some it may seem inexcusable that Jason and Robert had the unmitigated gall to go off on their own and create a movie about an arcane subject that only a small and passionate group of people can deeply appreciate, without consulting us on the script and cast, I couldn't be more pleased!
Actually, they did consult us, we just gave them more feedback (and much of it contradictory) than anyone could possibly implement and still have a film made before the end of the decade.
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Post by ignatius » Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:17 pm

@clarke68 - agree about part 1. hearing candid comments from Subotnik about switched on bach is fucking great.

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Post by s o l v e n t » Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:27 pm

clarke68 wrote:Just watched (most of) it last night...
Very encouraging review clarke68, cheers for that! I really appreciate it that you have such a good sense of how monumental of an undertaking this was, and cut us some slack accordingly. You are spot on with your assessment that part1 was really so much easier to pull off, with history already written and decades of research, analysis and perspective at our disposal. Making sense out of all of material we managed to capture of what is going on now (*tonnes!*) - that was tough! Personally, I feel that even though pt2 isn't as smooth and cohesive of a watch, it actually contains most of my favorite moments and is more unique in the documentary realm than pt1.

To answer a couple of questions:

1. Navs *is* a professional narrator! We interviewed him for the film, then we went out to dinner with him afterwards. He mentioned his job and instantly I was like "!!!" - Robert & I had already discussed wanting a BBC style narrator with a British accent, and we hit the jackpot. What are the odds of finding a voice like that who even has a clue what it's all about, let alone someone who is totally immersed in this world. He nailed the narration on first attempt every time.

2. The soundtrack will be comprised entirely of the original music I created for IDOW. It's essentially a Solvent album. You hear most of it in the film, though a couple of tracks didn't make it on screen. Regarding the Ravenstine/Wheeler jams... info is scarce but they have been released! I have this pair of 12"s myself and they are very nice:

http://ubuprojex.net/wheelrave.html

thanks

Jason

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Post by BadBadger » Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:41 pm

clarke68 wrote:
BadBadger wrote:While to some it may seem inexcusable that Jason and Robert had the unmitigated gall to go off on their own and create a movie about an arcane subject that only a small and passionate group of people can deeply appreciate, without consulting us on the script and cast, I couldn't be more pleased!
Actually, they did consult us, we just gave them more feedback (and much of it contradictory) than anyone could possibly implement and still have a film made before the end of the decade.
Ahhh. Well before I was hanging here. Good to know! Of course, the point I was making was in response to the constant haranguing about who was and wasn't interviewed, etc.

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Post by mckenic » Thu Sep 05, 2013 7:14 pm

Just two words...

Thank you!

And another two...

More please!

I know its not a review but Imna use this chance to say - Thank you Jason and please pass on my thanks to Robert!

I LOVED every second of it, really enjoyed the Solvent soundtrack and loved the concert music. Wonderful stuff. I do hope you consider an 'academic' version when all the dust settles - I could imagine giving a course on modular synthesis and the 1st part would be PERFECT for getting students up to speed!

It is really funny but Metasonix mostly rubs me up the wrong way on Muffs. I dont care what he names his modules etc but the (apparent) attitude in what he posts is like fingernails on a chalkboard for me... watching his interview segment in the movie REALLY, REALLY made me want to go for a pint of Guinness with the man! Just goes to show that text on a screen without context (or seeing the glint in a guys eye) is a very dangerous way to judge people! I very valuable lesson for me! My respect for the Yellow has rocketed just from watching him chat!

I am SO grateful to have been able to grab the DVD set - 4 hours is not enough!

Thank you for making this wonderful piece of work!

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Post by climbingtyler » Fri Sep 06, 2013 5:53 pm

Just finished part 1

I am pretty new to the hardware world so this was really cool getting to learn about the roots of what I am getting into.

Learning about how Moog and Buchla designed their synths with totally different ideas was really cool. Buchla wanted to re-invent music as we know it, while Moog wanted to musicians to use synthesizers in their music. Both of these ideas are amazing to me. It seems like it was a time when people really wanted to push boundaries (not that we aren't anymore, we just seemed to have slowed down now) and change the world.

Learning about the struggle of getting musicians to understand the advantage of modular synthesizers over pre-patched synths was very interesting. I can't believe people were literally throwing these things away. I would like to see some interviews of people who saw modular synths as garbage and hear their side of the story.

This has been pretty awesome so far!

I can't wait to see what part 2!

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Post by thesnow » Sat Sep 07, 2013 3:52 am

Just watched IDOW HE for the second time and would like to sort of retract my last statement and say that part two is equally as good. Great documentary. I think part one is just so easy to love if you're a total geek. There's nothing like geeking out on moog and buchla history. And the history of the modular synthesizer is just so easy to geek out on. Also thank you for including some women in the documentary including lori napolean.

Only thing is I wish some of the interviews were longer. Extended interviews with christ carter, reznor and some of the synth designers for example.

Great documentary.

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Post by Monobass » Sun Sep 08, 2013 4:13 pm

Great interviews. Voiceover is a bit like a corporate training film or something, but maybe that's just a british perspective.

A blade runner style directors cut without voiceover would be good, you'd get to hear more of the soundtrack too :)
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Post by Themaybemachine » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:36 pm

I though it was fantastic, not to subjective. I think it pushed me over the edge. Now I need a modular :P

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