Texas Documentary Tour
'Touch the Sound'
Wednesday, Jan. 18, 7pm
Alamo Drafthouse Downtown
Imagine a deaf person whose life is all about music. German filmmaker Thomas Riedelsheimer, whose last doc, Rivers and Tides, explored the work of Scottish sculptor Andy Goldsworthy, has turned his lens on another Scottish artist, Evelyn Glennie, widely acknowledged to be the world's foremost solo percussionist, with a huge following and 17 solo albums to her name. Glennie went inexplicably deaf when she was only 12 years old, but resolved to remain a musician despite her deafness and, as she says, develop the ability to hear sound through her entire body, by using herself as a kind of resonating chamber, this being something she can't quite explain. Charismatic and bursting with energy, Glennie, whose first Grammy was for a recording of Bartók's Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, has also collaborated with Björk. Today, her musical zest is focused on improvising, something she does with exuberance, often in bare feet and designer clothes.
Reidelsheimer's approach in Touch the Sound: A Sound Journey With Evelyn Glennie is to follow her for a year as she improvises alone and with others in unconventional settings from soloing in Grand Central Station in New York to jamming with fellow Scot Fred Frith in an abandoned sugar factory in Cologne to playing with Japanese drummers in Kyoto drawing upon the familiar but random sounds that most of us would consider to be mere noise. From time to time, the film becomes just a medley of amped-up everyday sounds, the point being to connect us to the ambient materials from which Glennie derives her music.