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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Here's my review/thoughts on IDOW: Hardcore Edition
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> I Dream Of Wires Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9  Next [all]
Author Here's my review/thoughts on IDOW: Hardcore Edition
legionhwp
I originally posted this on a thread in the Buchla section (here: https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=91141) before I knew this sub forum was here. Since they moved that thread I've discovered all these posts so I'll move my post here as well.

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Binged watched the entire IDOW HE last night. Quick first impressions:

It's broken down into two documentaries Part one is mostly a history of modular synths, Part 2 is the kind of about the "Re-emergence and Rebirth" of modulars in modern times.

I thought part one was riveting. Really really well done and I could see where this might even appeal to curious but non-synth geeks.

Part Two was more interviews and stories following two people in particular in their quest to learn and, in one case, build a DIY modular. I thought this was not quite as interesting as the first part and tended to jump around a bit more but it was still filled with fantastic interviews and information. The interview with Schneider making an analogy that describes the differences between the old school modular heads and the new wave is worth the admission price alone.

One thing that kind of struck me funny was the story of Solvent who basically starts out feeling modulars are serious wastes of time. He eventually gets to meet Vince Clark in his home studio and has a handful of other dream synth dates and then is handed a commission to make the soundtrack CD for this movie using modulars given to him for a week (including a vintage Moog System 15). He remains a bit skeptical throughout but apparently grows to see the benefit of these machines.

Perhaps it was the fact this is the long form version and not as edited but I couldn't help but think at times there would be more grateful players who have dedicated their time and passion to these machines who would perhaps have deserved and done more with some of those opportunities. I liked how the film did present a lot of sides (including some of the negative aspects of modular and vintage Luv) but I feel the HE version at least kind of gets lost in what it's trying to say by putting everything in and choosing his story to tell.

EDIT:
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I understand Solvent was one of the creators and writer of this film. As such it makes sense he'd be filming his journey. I'm still a bit puzzled over the mixed signals of interest yet almost disdain for modulars from him at times. Even the ending had some confusion as he completed the CD he was making but still seemed dissapointed with the Moog modular and some of the gear. fair enough, one can pick and choose tools rationally but for the narrative I didn't get a clear picture what the end of his journey (and possibly the purpose of this part of the film) was.
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The other story is of a young woman in NY who falls in love with an old telephone console with it's patch cords and sets out to build a DIY modular system. I thought this captured a lot of the passion and wonderment a newbie and fan feels (perhaps even some of the obsession, she admits she now lives with this machine as a part of her life and looks forward to seeing it after work). This journey is not entirely about modulars as well but captures a lot of the enthusiasm surrounding the idea and tactile/fetish nature. It does seem to meander a bit but almost all the detail is interesting to us geeks (and, well, this IS the HE edition). I almost imagine her story alone could be a complete film so putting that in the second part with all the rest of the interviews, ideas, etc. is cool but does make the "story" jump around a bit.

These are minor quibbles however as it's clear this version is more of a "kitchen sink" type release. I like what the filmmakers were doing with these narratives and appreciate the idea of making something that any viewer can appreciate. I look forward to seeing how all this footage is used in the final version and seeing where they go with it.

The DVD came with a nice letter from the IDOW folks which explained clearly the hardcore Edition is NOT the movie that will be made and eventually shown at festivals/given a theatrical or general DVD release. That will be an edited version so I imagine it will be slimmed down and flow much better than the Part Two as it exists now (something that will make it better for general release). It also asked that anyone commenting or reviewing it refer to this version (the 4 hour Hardcore DVD) as IDOW HE and not "I Dream of Wires" which will presumably be the name of the final movie. It's not clear if the final film with combine parts One and Two but given the great exposition in Part One I certainly hope a lot of that makes it into the actual film.

The DVD package came with a button and some high quality full color synth porn post cards and stickers. Guitarists usually call those items "case candy" and they were kind of cute.

I have to say this is really a pretty amazing product. It's obvious the film makers took the time to make the footage and editing top notch. I was very impressed by the quality of the film and the use of found footage with their new interviews, etc (especially in Part One) is quite professional. This isn't a DIY youtube doc, it's a high quality labor of love. The IDOW HE is certainly for the hard core geeks but well worth it both as a product and as an opportunity to fund and help get this project completed.

Finally super special props to Mr. MuFFwiggler who is mentioned and featured (there is an interesting section on MW and the "community" of modulars as well!)

Bleep on!
BillyR
My only question was how there was little to no reference to Eno? He played an EMS Synthi in Roxy Music, the film talked about EMS quite a bit, but there was barely a name drop of Eno? I know this film was to be more about the synths and culture, but thought for sure there'd be a nod to Eno in some way. hmmm.....

But all in all I'm loving the film. Great work!!!! Was VERY happily surprised to see you got Legowelt in there. Just recently got back into his stuff again this past week. thumbs up
s o l v e n t
I said I wasn't going to respond here but just felt compelled to offer a response to legionhwp, in response to the "Solvent story", with Solvent being me!

As you've noted I am more than an on-screen subject, and while Robert is the film's director, I was heavily involved in many stages of the process and had a heavy hand in working with Robert on the vision and direction of the film. It was me who chose most of the people we interviewed for example, and I conducted approx 75% of the interviews. Hence "A film by Robert Fantinatto and Jason Amm".

When I met Robert about 4 years ago, he came to my house as a new fan of my music, to buy some of my CDs. He told me that he just got a Dotcom system after decades of being out of the "synth world". I've been a heavy-duty analog synth obsessive for 20+ years. I told him that I purposefully avoided modulars, for the reasons that I get into in the film: my feeling that they led to more tinkering than music making, the fact that in the kind of music I was into making (largely electro and synth pop) I could get by just fine with hardwired analogs, and most notably my fear of becoming obsessed/addicted.

Shortly after he started the film, we met again and by that time I was getting very very tempted to get into eurorack. I started giving him leads on people to talk to and it snowballed to where we decided I should become officially involved as the film's Producer. Rob was really into the idea of me being like an on screen host, where the film would be centered around my journey of discovering the world of modulars. I wasn't into the idea of being a host, but as we were going along it became clear to us that it would be worthwhile to use me as a prominent storyline, at least.

So that's what my story is meant to be - the story of an electronic musician, who was skeptical/resistant about modulars, having his mind changed and diving in.

Which leads to my response of this:

"I couldn't help but think at times there would be more grateful players who have dedicated their time and passion to these machines who would perhaps have deserved and done more with some of those opportunities...."

Perhaps the idea wasn't realized as successfully as possible (I'll leave that up to others to decide), but our thinking was: if the premise of the film is to explore how and why it is that these instruments are gaining in popularity, it makes more sense and would be more interesting, to follow someone's discovery of modular synths, rather than someone who is already a long-time convert. I was most-definitely grateful for these opportunities, and I think you can sense from the interviews that we were having great, spontaneous conversations that reflect how happy and enthusiastic I was to be talking to such amazing people about my #1 passion: synths.

I find the notion of who more "deserves" to be in the film to be missing the point. This actually came up a lot in response to the first trailer: "How can you have Kilpatrick in there when he only has 2 modules. He doesn't deserve to be in there as much as Make Noise." (This was when Make Noise wasn't yet interviewed!).... Again, the film is exploring the resurgence of modulars, so anyone who is getting involved in the scene, no matter how significant their involvement is, helps to illustrate why this scene is growing.

thanks

Jason
ddoyen
Thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. My only complaint is that I couldn't get through more than an hour at a time without getting the itch to pause it and jam for a bit!
aen
BillyR wrote:
My only question was how there was little to no reference to Eno? He played an EMS Synthi in Roxy Music, the film talked about EMS quite a bit, but there was barely a name drop of Eno?


It seemed like they tried to stay away from Rock music as much as possible?

Anyway, I really liked this movie. Like, a lot a lot. I really appreciate a doc made by people who are actually invested, and feel it's worthwhile to get some details in there. I'm getting pretty worn out by the 40 minute history/national geographic/discovery style "light documentary." (probably because I watch netflix at work)

I see myself watching it over and over.
BillyR
Oh I loved the film. The absence of Eno was just a curiosity, not a gripe. Was curious as to whether it was a conscious decision, legal one, or just didn't come up because it wasn't important? It's just interesting (in a good way) that every electronic music documentary glorifies Eno, but this one didn't give him so much as a nod. I can see the emphasis away from traditional music and more REAL electronic music. smile
s o l v e n t
BillyR wrote:
Oh I loved the film. The absence of Eno was just a curiosity, not a gripe. Was curious as to whether it was a conscious decision, legal one, or just didn't come up because it wasn't important? It's just interesting (in a good way) that every electronic music documentary glorifies Eno, but this one didn't give him so much as a nod. I can see the emphasis away from traditional music and more REAL electronic music. smile


Flood mentioned him!
BillyR
I remember that. Still way less than I'm use to hearing. razz

By the way, your soundtrack was great. Made me go find and listen to your RDJCS5 EP on MOG and love it! I'll have to pick it up somehow. we're not worthy
clarke68
Still no discs yet (c'mon USPS...don't you know the weekend is here!?!), but reading some of your comments makes me realize what a tough time IDOW is going to have living up our expectations. A lot of us contributed to the first Kicksktarter round, and have been looking forward to it (and manufacturing our own hype) for a long time.

That said, I think it'll be awesome even if it's just a 4 hour version of the original trailer. thumbs up


s o l v e n t wrote:
BTW the narrator is Navs of navsmodularlab.blogspot.ca / regular MW forum contributor ... not saying that should affect anyone's opinion of it, but a cool fact.

It does affect my opinion of it actually...makes me look forward to it even more!
shaft9000
it's a lot to digest. the eye-candy porn-factor is INSANE. some nice sounds too.

I really enjoyed the first part quite a bit. Seeing the various formats and approaches consecutively, and interviewing dedicated composers that still use them is crucial, so bravo... Camerawork is ace, soundmix and production is generally nice all-around. Navs narration owns, etc...
Allow me to nitpick about the apparent lack of mentions of Harold Bode or Raymond Scott. A bit too much credit was given Bob Moog - it creates an impression that he created the first sequencer ever, and also the first oscillator that could play in tune, it seems(both are incorrect). Obviously he looms larger than just about anyone, anyways, but still.
The second half is..well, i dunno. It felt pretty shapeless and dry, though, for something so long. A lot of it is the kind of thing that we'd seek out on our own while browsing muffs, anway, no? Kinda infomercial-y, i guess. Perhaps sprinkling the performances at intervals rather than grouping them all towards the end might have helped pacing, i dunno. Still, if not such a persuasive "must-watch" for the potential uninitiated, there is plenty to like - and understandably editing it all down would require a much more exclusive agenda to achieve some kind of tighter narrative; and of course, delay the release.

I'm not the easiest customer to please, but hey, you asked... hihi

Niggles or no - I have to applaud anyone willing to unleash such a monstrosity onto the public!!
joesilence
just finished watching the Hardcore Edition for the second time.

still enjoying it immensely.
noobyscooby
I watched the whole thing in one go tonight. As someone who's worked in educational television their whole adult life and has seen tens of thousands of hours of documentaries in my life i was excited to watch it but had my critical knives sharpened as well.

I liked it. A lot. But im hardcore. I could have watched a 40 hour doc on the subject to be honest.

The only thing I dont like at all is your personal substory about trying to sell yourself on modular. It got dropped in awkwardly at times and took momentum off the rails a couple of times. In a future/theatrical cut i would ditch it completely.

Its also quite the infomercial for eurorack but it is the most popular brand of modular and ithink is the impetus behind the resurgence of modular. So its important that a lot is in there.

Other than that, technically looked and sounded great. Especially for an independant doc with small budget. I will pm you some other comments and advice as far as the educational television industry goes.
s o l v e n t
Cool to see peoples' reviews/opinions here. I just want to clarify that I set up this thread for people to share their reviews & thoughts with each other. The post wasn't me asking you for your feedback for our consideration on how and what the theatrical cut should be. Theatrical cut is done. I just set up the thread so that reviews could all go in 1 place instead of in various other threads.

thanks

Jason
noobyscooby
Oh good to know that it's done. Exciting. I wonder how long it is.
Kingnimrod
I didn't really like some of the clothing and hairstyles.

Will those be updated for the theatrical cut?
sonicwarrior
Kingnimrod wrote:
Will those be updated for the theatrical cut?


In the theatrical cut everyone will be nude. nanners screaming goo yo
Kingnimrod
Redefining "synth porn!"

It's motherfucking bacon yo It's motherfucking bacon yo It's motherfucking bacon yo It's motherfucking bacon yo It's motherfucking bacon yo It's motherfucking bacon yo
Rod Serling Fan Club
Most of all, I liked seeing and hearing people I'm familiar with from muffs. I think Eric Barbour was my shop teacher in middle school.

EDIT: as far as an actual review. I liked that the importance of the transistor was mentioned in the historical section. Not to shortchange moog or buchla but the invention of the transistor was what made modular synths possible and its obvious from separate developments a the same time that this was the spark.

I would agree with some of the comments that the second half felt a bit... misguided, I guess? There was a lot of time spent on some guy that was playing a show but never used a modular before and incorporated a little bit in his show. He seemed nice enough, but I don't think any of that footage added anything.

The whole Solvent not sure about modular was kind of interesting but I feel like your telling the audience "I'm not really sold on modular, so why should you be" which might not be the best message for a movie about modular synths. Totally agree on the part about getting an important piece of gear and being like "this is it?". I would say that it is widely acknowledged on this forum that modulars are a rabbit hole and are probably not the most efficient way to make music. I think many of us feel like the guy with the big modcan system who doesn't care if he records any of it (so I am glad that thought was captured).

As a DIYer, I like the portion about the patchboard synth. I liked seeing dewanatron and would have liked to hear more from them. However, going to the phone museum and an electronics store seems to get off the path on a bit of a tangent.

Thanks for the movie.
Christopher Winkels
I enjoyed seeing myself for three seconds. From behind.
Kingnimrod
(Whispering "back that ass up, oh yeah.")
gobobog
Just finished watching the whole thing. So glad to be able to watch it finally; I had forgotten when I actually pitched in on kickstarter, so it was kind of like Christmas in August for me.

Overall, I was just glad to see the faces behind the modules, it definitely made me feel more connected to y'all. I think they covered most of the bases... interesting to see how much time they contributed to some areas. Glad to see they devoted a good amount of time to performers/performance. Soundtrack was great as well, good job solvent

I think part 1 was good at describing the history of modular, and was structured very well. Part 2 jumped around a bit. I imagine a theatrical release will have more of part 1 than part 2, but it's important to include the current enthusiasm that is captured in part 2.
AnalogBastard
Christopher Winkels wrote:
I enjoyed seeing myself for three seconds. From behind.
Thought I recognized that noggin thumbs up

I almost forgot I had ordered this..what a treat ! Just watched part I applause
Ockeghem
Part one was really very good. Of course it is not possible to cover everything and everybody.
Looking forward to part two.
Enjoy the show! Enjoy the show!
dubnspace
got mine, think I got a faulty batteryACID module though.. who can I talk to about this?
s o l v e n t
dubnspace wrote:
got mine, think I got a faulty batteryACID module though.. who can I talk to about this?


hmm they were all tested.

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