Ready to nerd out with your RCA cable out? With I Dream of Wires, Robert Fantinatto (director, cowriter) and Jason Amm (aka recording artist Solvent, who produced, cowrote, and scored the movie) possibly have created the ultimate gear porn flick. Much of the documentary consists of obsessive close-ups of modular synthesizers' vacuum tubes, switches, pulsing lights, knobs, voltage control oscillators, and patch bays while dozens of musicians and synth builders discuss their wonders. The film's subjects unanimously deem modulars to be superior to digital and soft synths (Trent Reznor, Morton Subotnick, John Foxx, and Mute Records boss Daniel Miller are among the most eloquent proponents). I Dream of Wires traces the analog synth's history from Bob Moog and Don Buchla's inventions to the many variants that followed, the advent of digital synthesis, and the modular's decline and resurgence—analog synths are currently booming in the electronic underground. By dint of their fanaticism, Fantinatto and Amm lure you into their geeky, intricately wired world and make you care about its minutiae. Synthesizers have become music's deus ex machina. They've enabled producers to create heretofore unprecedented sounds that extend beyond the capacity of more traditional, "natural" instruments. I Dream of Wires is the wonky, reverent hymn the instrument deserves. The Grand Illusion's opening-night screening features live modular-synth performances by Kaori Suzuki and Chris Davis after the film. recommended

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