Modulations: Cinema for the Ear
Iara Lee, US, 1998, 74'
Modulations is a plunge into the world of electronic music as one of the most remarkable artistic developments of the 20th century. Director Iara Lee – in tandem with music journalist Peter Shapiro – returns to the founding fathers of electronic music (John Cage and Stockhausen) in order, via a detour along disco of the 70s, Chicago house and Detroit techno, to throw herself into a kaleidoscopic and stroboscopic overview, alternating with a series of brief interview snippets from the rave and club scene in Tokyo, Berlin and San Francisco during the 90s (the film was shot in 1998).
The film is more like an intuitive immersion in the pumping rhythm of synthetic beats than an intentional study and allows the viewer to sample the multitude of electronic underground and subcultures that were about to flood the mainstream - from Africa Bambaataa’s electro funk, the 'drum and bass’ of a Roni Size of the ‘jungle’ of Photek, right through to the emerging domination of the DJ.
© Caipirinha Productions