As co-host of the American public radio show Radiolab, Jad Nicholas Abumrad is usually in the business of giving you sounds on their own. You provide the mental images. But in a stimulating new film from director Mac Premo, thoughts become images as well as sounds.

It’s a fitting conversation. Abumrad (a Lebanese-American, as I am) comes from a background in music composition. Premo, apart from being a filmmaker and commercial director, is an artist. Both live in New York. So what we get is a counterpoint of two imaginations running at once: sonic and visual, musical and optical.

And the question is one we can ponder: what is music, anyway? Why do we make it? What’s its significance to us?

In answering that question, Abumrad plunges more deeply into the question of who we are as humans.


The Function of Music with Jad Abumrad from mac premo on Vimeo.

I love, meanwhile, the sculptural creations that are woven into the film. It makes me long for some new constructions at the next concert. Inspiring stuff.