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A still from "Burn the Tables." (Courtesy of the artist)

Solvent, 'Burn The Tables'

by Lars Gotrich
Feb 4, 2014

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Lars Gotrich

Once you cross wires with a modular synthesizer, it's like your bloodstream turns into sine waves. The documentary I Dream of Wires looks at the technological and philosophical genesis of the instrument, all the way to its demise and subsequent resurgence. Make no mistake, this movie is for the fanatics — it clocks in at four hours (!) — but with a shorter theatrical release set for Moogfest in April, maybe it'll inspire a new generation of synth wizards.

Before coming on as producer and interviewer, Jason Amm (working under the Solvent moniker) was commissioned to score the soundtrack. On New Ways — a nod to the Gary Numan song "I Dream of Wires" — Amm was granted access to a ridiculous arsenal of large-scale gear to experiment, pairing it with a Eurorack system (essentially a more compact modular synth). Taken by itself, the soundtrack is exploratory and wide-eyed, but most of all playful. And if Kanye West still has that industrial Yeezus itch to scratch anytime soon, he should consider sampling "Burn the Tables," which gets this woozy video.

And what good is a dark synth-pop jam created on modular synths if the video isn't also synthesized? Director Jennifer Stratford took footage from I Dream of Wires and mixed the signal into a LZX Video Synthesizer and a Fairlight CVI, the vintage machine responsible for some of the effects seen in the first MTV videos. Images distort, blur and repeat in a hypnotic black-and-white display that deserves a blown-out full screen.

I Dream of Wires is available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Science With Synthesizers. New Ways is out Feb. 11 on Suction Records.

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