Strange Ambience

Ventures in arts and culture that leave an effect.

'Modulations: Cinema for the Ear', a favored electronic music documentary.

Categories: technology education music film art

DVD box cover for Modulations: Cinema for the Ear by Iara Lee and team

DVD box cover for Modulations.

This documentary played in local, non-mainstream film theatres during the late 1990's during (to me) the golden age of electronic music. A tsunami of electronic music washed over the mainstream world and outsold any other section of the record store. Compact discs and records were priced well out of range for most consumers. Learning and accessing the music was done through radio, mixed tapes, record shops, magazines, clubs, and peers. Internet accessibility was an issue for the populace and had yet to be adopted en masse. So when Modulations was screened, it was cathartic for fans to see the music scene and favourite artists of the time on the big screen, even if most of them had bad teeth. Some of the highlights of the film are interviews with Mixmaster Morris and Squarepusher speak, as well as watching artists Prototype 909 play live. Even if you are not a Throbbing Gristle fan, Genesis P-orridge is fascinating in this documentary, especially his clothes and hairstyle. Most of the music makers featured here produce from their bedroom and you can see most artists live modestly to practise their art. This documentary is not only about the music, predominantly during the 1990's, but the philosophies that inform various scenes and even touches on the origin of electronic music production.

Film director, Iara Lee posted Modulations: Cinema for the Ear for free viewing on her Vimeo account through her Cultures of Resistance NGO channel. Iara Lee currently does documentaries on conflict zones throughout the world. While what she does is tremendously important, the docs on the more decadent sides of our society, i.e. music scenes, interest more. Here is the documentary below, play it LOUD.

MODULATIONS from Cultures of Resistance Films on Vimeo.