Watch: The Heart Is A Drum MachineMarch 29, 2010
What is music?
That’s the central question behind The Heart is a Drum Machine, a feature-length documentary from Lightyear Entertainment (Moog). It’s addressed by a host of interviewees, mostly musicians, with a sound engineer, a couple of scientists, and an author thrown in for color. A discussion of the Voyager Golden Record project bookends the film, in which the creative director on the project, Ann Druyan, talks about the universality of music to humanity, and the hope that it would prove to be able to communicate beyond our species: “Hey, that’s a cool planet – they’re making some good music.”
The musicians vary widely in how articulate they are about music, with Wayne Coyne, predictably, at the high end, and Isaac Brock at the low—to be fair, musicians have a whole other vocabulary that they use to answer that question every day. And I never, ever want to hear someone unironically use the word ‘synergize’ with reference to art (I’m looking at you, Juliette Lewis). But many of the interviewees are engaging, funny or thought-provoking. One of the more interesting segments in the film is on deaf musicians, who ‘hear’ the music through physical vibrations alone (the short discussion on how they can tell they’re in tune is fascinating).
As a film, it focuses on presenting multiple facets of the experience of music, so it doesn’t really strongly develop an overall theme. But the individual pieces are mostly intriguing, and at a very brief 73 minutes, it’s definitely worth checking out.