Pour some port, find a comfy spot on the couch, and fire up the YouTubes. A surprisingly-rich raft of terrific documentary video for synth and electronic music enthusiasts has been making the rounds.
In our queue: Analog Suicide interviews a legendary vintage synth spot in Berlin, an hourlong documentary features not only Richie Hawtin but a range of techno pioneers, as well as other shorts from T-Mobile (yes, the phone company), and the BBC scores more history of the British side of the synth revolution in music. Sit down and get ready, because here we go.
From Detroit to Berlin and Back: In-depth Interviews with Pioneering Artists
At top: an hour-plus documentary produced for T-Mobile’s Electronic Beats series follows the rise of techno legend Richie Hawtin, including some terrific Detroit footage with artists like Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, and of course Magda. Love him or hate him, Richie’s impact on electronic music is formidable, and it’s great to see coverage finally return to a tale of his roots. It seems the perfect way to get ready for Detroit’s Movement Festival, starting May 28. Via the astute music coverage on the XLR8R blog, here by Ken Taylor.
There’s quite a lot more Electronic Beats TV on the YouTube page:
Here are a few of my favorites. Kangding Ray of Raster-Noton is framed by signature, hypnotic minimal visuals. He has some wonderful things to say about the beauty of materials in sampling. Then there’s some beautiful footage of TESSEL, a morphing architectural form which really deserves some separate coverage here. Have a look:
Thomas Heckmann looks at machines, vintage and circuit bent, and talks about working with their idiosyncrasies in musical production.
From the role of machines to the role of humans, Moderat talk about collaboration as therapy, and what it does for them … and then go parachute jumping. I think people falling from a plane makes the perfect soundtrack.
Conversations for Synth Lovers, via AnalogSuicide
AnalogSuicide’s Tara Busch is one of our favorite journalists covering synthesis, and a great artist to boot. This week, she visits the legendary vintage synth destination Schneiders Beuro in Berlin. Via Synthtopia, who, like MatrixSynth, I think has an alarm that goes off when videos hit YouTube with certain keywords – incredible.
On the producer side, massively-accomplished producer Gareth Jones (Depeche Mode, Wire, Erasure) makes an appearance, too:
Lots more where that came from:
Via our friend and Chicago producer/nerd fashionista/writer Liz McLean Knight comes a BBC Four documentary that covers British synth artists in the late 70s and early 80s, including Joy Division, Human League, Kraftwerk, Cabaret Voltaire, and Gary Numan.
There’s just too much goodness here. I want to sit down with the past and present staff of Keyboard and watch this one. Watch it while the Beeb lets you.
I’m personally gratified in that I believe technically and artistically, we’re entering another of these sorts of ages. Who knows what the cultural impact may be, but at least for those passionate artists and technologists who are involved, something’s happening. And these videos are a great place to begin for inspiration.
So, now that you have those to watch, I guess I really need not write until Monday! See you then! (joke … sort of.)