Modern Fix


back to DVD reviews home Artist: Various Artists Title: Modulations: Cinema for the Ear Label: Caipirinha

This DVD is am ambitious overview of both the history of electronica and its myriad contemporary forms. The producers, also the makers of “Synthetic Pleasures”, feature interviews with or clips of Scanner and John Cage, Derrick May and Robert Moog, Genesis P. Orridge and Atari Teenage Riot and more. Largely in the form of candid chants, these clips form an enlightening mosaic on growth of electronic music, its own genesis and its power of self-creation derive from internal inspiration. That is, innovators server to inspire the next seminal innovator. Interestingly, in all this chatter and reflection, the implicit fact that electronic music came in two waves is never explicitly acknowledged. The birth of electronic music from Stockhausen to John Cage arose from purely aesthetic or purely inventive motivation. Later, came a utilitarian wave of beat music purveyors characterized by Orbital, The Future Sound of London, Roni Size, etc. Very little is done to explain how the dance music forms first grafted onto the art and academic movement, though producer Teo Macero’s comments on ’50s production techniques suggests much. Also, the current state of that art and academic movement is not touched on except through the appearance of Pierre Henry.

Tom “Tearaway” Schulte