Sunday 30 December 2007

Touch the Sound (2004) Thomas Riedelsheimer

I'm a big fan of Evelyn Glennie from a musical standpoint. I'm a fan of pure percussion music and she's a justly word renowned virtuoso artiste and composer. And that's before you factor in the fact that she's effectively deaf and thus 'hears' everything in completely different ways to the rest of us. Add that into the mix and you have someone very special indeed. Because I have some background with Evelyn via CDs and broadcast concerts, this film has less impact for me as it would to someone completely new to her work. She's looking a little older than when I saw her last but she's as delightful as always.

For a film about sound, it's a very visual film. Director and cinematographer Thomas Riedelsheimer conjures up some powerful imagery. However it's the sound that we're here for and it's a varied journey for sure. We learn about how all sound can be music and anything can be an instrument. There are rhythms all around us if only we listen and we see Evelyn translate many of them into a more traditional format. That's not to say that she only plays instruments that look like instruments. We see her play buildings with Fred Frith, manipulate a radio receiver with her hands and even play plates and bottles like drums on stage in Japan.

I was fascinated by much of the film and though I already knew much about Evelyn I still learned more here. The music, as with pretty much all experimental music is variable. Some of it did nothing at all for me, but some was very special indeed. The guitar and marimba piece touched me closest. However the entire thing seemed a little long and meandering to work as a really cohesive whole. There's lots of greatness here but a lot falls well behind that too.

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