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I Dream Of Wires (2014 Waveshaper Media, directed by Robert Fantinatto) is a documentary about the rise, fall and rebirth of a machine that shaped electronic music: the modular synthesizer. Over 100 inventors, musicians and enthusiasts are interviewed about their relationship with the modular synthesizer - for many, it’s an all-consuming passion.
Beginning with an historical primer, I Dream Of Wires explores the early development of modular synthesizers in the 1960s, from pioneering companies Moog and Buchla. We speak to early adopters of the modular synthesizer, forward-thinking musicians like Morton Subotnick and Herb Deutsch, offering insight into the modular synthesizer's conception.
Electronic pioneers like Gary Numan and Daniel Miller discuss the modular synthesizer's 1970s heyday, through to its near-extinction in the 1980s, while established musicians including Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) and Vince Clarke (Erasure) talk about their ongoing passion for the modular synthesizer, and how it influences their music. Meanwhile, a new generation of dance and electronica artists including Carl Craig and James Holden explain why they’ve stepped away from laptops to embrace the sound and physicality of modular synthesizers. Innovative companies Modcan and Doepfer reveal how they planted the seeds that have now grown into a major cottage industry.
Through tracing the history of the modular synthesizer, I Dream Of Wires also outlines the history of electronic music as a whole, from its very beginnings at the dawn of the electric age. The film provides a fascinating look at how technology has shaped the electronic music landscape.
Director: Robert Fantinatto
Producer: Jason Amm
Soundtrack: Solvent (OST via Suction Records)
Trailer: Kevan Byrne
"I Dream Of Wires shows how, in the same way that the instruments themselves are rewiring both performers' and listeners' expectations about electronic music, the community that has evolved around modular synths is changing the relationships between users, sellers, and makers…"
- The Wire magazine (UK)
"As far as documentaries go, this is a slick, polished production. The film looks great, and as one would hope and suspect, the audio is wonderful, with the score by Solvent setting the perfect mood throughout...."
- Film Threat (USA)
"…lingering close-up shots of analog synths aside (and there are a lot of these), perhaps what's most joyous about I Dream of Wires is that it profiles a subculture that has almost nothing to do with the music industry."
- The List Film (UK)
"I would highly recommend Robert Fantinatto's documentary film not only to anyone interested in modular analog synthesizers, but to anybody interested in sound and the electronic reproduction of audio in general. This film is so well made it should appeal to anyone curious about people who are obsessed with minutiae, weird sounds, and music that 97 percent of the planet would find annoying."
- Tape Op magazine (USA)
"With its excellent narration and top-notch interviews with pioneers and popularizers like Morton Subotnick, Gary Numan, and Trent Reznor, I Dream of Wires gives us a glimpse into the mind of electronically-minded musicians and their often revolutionary perspectives on music, technology, and human ingenuity.... If you’re curious about the wide world of synths but intimidated by the steep learning curve, check out this movie...."
- DigBoston weekly (USA)
"A recommended watch for those with any degree of interest in synths and synth music. 10/10 Excellence"
- Music Tech magazine (UK)
"…if synthesizers are your thing this documentary provides a huge amount of insight and should appeal in particular to musicians or engineers."
- HMV (UK)
"…this is as thorough a study of the unique appeal of modular synths as you’ll find."
- Attack Magazine (UK)
I Dream Of Wires