Electric Dreams

Written by David Shapton

Electro MoskvaElectric Dreams Electro Moskva

I can't wait to see this. It almost feels like the film I've been waiting for all my life. The reason? I've always loved making inappropriate noises from strange artefacts

For example, there's nothing more satisfying (or more complex, for that matter) than the sound of a wet teabag thrown into an empty metal wastepaper bin. Don't believe me? Try it. It's not as if you need a budget for it. It's sort of: "Pthhhsplogfdgghethnk!", although your mileage may vary, and it definitely doesn't work with those new-age infusion teas. I find Earl Grey is best.

When I was about eight, and living not far from London, my Dad brought me a miniature tape recorder that he'd found in America. It was almost the visual definition of 1960s technology, with tiny reels of tape that we so miss from today's file-based recorders. Curiously, it had a speed control, which, in a rather prosaic way, varied the speed of the electric motor.  But it was perfect for some basic "special" effects.

No risk to life

And the fact that it was battery-powered meant that that you could mess around with its innards with no risk at all to life. That's when I discovered that by running my fingers over its circuit boards I could make a huge spectrum of rebarbative noises by sending it into various modes of oscillation. The more this annoyed other people, the greater my inner satisfaction.

I've never really grown out of this and I see Dubstep modulated basslines ("WOP, WOP!") as merely recycling my efforts as an eight year old.

The practice of mistreating otherwise respectable-looking audio equipment for the purpose of making abrasive music is actually quite widespread, and is called "Circuit Bending". As long as it's never done with anything connected to the mains, its far safer than mind-altering drugs, and, in moderation, is only likely to permanently damage your hearing if you do a lot of it though very large speaker systems.

The decaying shadow of the Soviet Union

Electro Moskva is a film about making music with found items in the decaying shadow of the Soviet Union. The USSR had form in this: Leon Theremin invented the world's first electronic instrument, as, indeed, he was destined to do, having been born with a surname that  sounded like a futuristic electronic warbling device.

The film, by Dominik Spritzendorfer and Elena Tikhonova takes in the vast scale of the "resources" left by the agencies of the former communist state, many of which have been adapted and coaxed back into life as graunchy, grungy audio paintbrushes.

If you like vintage stuff with a sci-fi flavour, you'll probably love this film.

Here's a trailer, after the break








Tags: Audio


Related Articles

26 May, 2020

Accusonus Mauvio app brings professional audio filters to your iphone

The new Accusonus Mauvio app apparently works magic on your mobile audio, with an interface that anybody can use. The results sound impressive.


Read Story

15 May, 2020

Clean Audio with CrumplePops RustleRemover AI and Levelmatic

CrumplePop RustleRemover AI and Levelmatic Audio Plugins, two plugins for audio cleanup we have a look at how they can clean up audio from anything...

Read Story

9 May, 2020

Creating the real out of the unreal for Ex Machina's sound production

The visual effects take centre stage in Alex Garland's examination of what it means to be human but, as Kevin Hilton explains, Glenn Freemantle's...

Read Story