Calling All Music Lovers! Sound + Vision 2014 Brings Various Sonic Delights to NYC

Featured Critic; Brooklyn, New York (@floatingartist)
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Sound + Vision Film Festival, a showcase of music documentaries from world over, celebrates its second outing at FSLC, here in NYC. This year's festival consists of eclectic mix of new films, retrospectives and musical performances and more. The lineup includes spotlights on subjects like a Japanese trance didgeridoo player, seminal atmospheric bands of the late 1980s and early 1990s, a Mexican acoustic duo who combine thrash metal and flamenco, and music created on 1980s video-game hardware.

Opening night selection is Beautiful Noise, a documentary on the rise of the influential 'wall-of-sound' scene that started with Cocteau Twins, The Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine. The series concludes with Florian Habicht's Pulp, which follows iconic Brit band Pulp and the lead-up to their reunion and final show in their hometown of Sheffield.

Stop Making Sense, the seminal Talking Heads documentary directed by Jonathan Demme and Daniel Schmid's Tosca's Kiss, a delightful film about retirement house for opera singers get digital restoration treatment in the 30th anniversary of their release.

The leading Malian Afro-pop musician Amkoullel, local indie-rock band Dragons of Zynth (D.O.Z.) and Glass Ghost with visuals by LYFE will be the live musical acts of this year.

Here are four films I got to sample. The festival runs from July 31 to August 6. For film and live performance tickets and more information, please visit FSLC website.

Beautiful Noise (dir. Eric Green) *Opening Night Film

First heard about Beautiful Noise coming into being years ago as it was trying to raise money with kickstarter. As a big fan of the musicians who are featured, I was eagerly awaiting the completion of the project ever since. The documentary is a comprehensive look at what is known as 'shoe-gaze' music scene that had a big impact on many musicians working today. Eric Green charts the movement chronologically, but limits its scope to the British music scene, starting with the 3 most influential groups - Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine and Jesus and Mary Chain. With their guitar heavy, impenetrable wall-of-sound and mumbly, dreamy vocals, they were serious musicians trying to create and experiment new sound with traditional rock guitar. Their sensuous, effortless mood pieces were embraced by people who tuned out the traditionally macho, aggressive rock music.

Billy Corgan, Trent Reznor and Robert Smith along with other musicians, producers and DJs look back and explain the magnitude of the movement which lasted only about ten years from the mid 80s to mid 90s, but heavily influenced and shaped modern music. The doc features Slowdive, Ride, Lush, Katherine Wheel and tons of others.

For me as a college student in the 90s, this doc is a nostalgic walk down the memory lane. But everything is cyclical. As the doc indicates, there is a huge resurgence of shoe-gazing in recent years. There is a huge pool of twenty somethings I know who listen to and regard MBV's Loveless as their favorite album. Glad to see these musicians getting their due in the spotlight.

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  • Mmmmm...Shoegaze. The most amazing, short lived era of music....ever. Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Curve, much to love...

    I must OWN this!

  • dustin chang

    It's definitely a great documentary for shoegaze music fans. According to the film's website, http://beautifulnoisedocumenta..., the home video date will be announced soon!

  • damn i want to see it now though!!! Interviews with Robert Smith and Trent Reznor too?! Thats just too many good things in one movie.

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