Opening October 22, 2015
Directed by: Stefan Schwietert
Writing credits: Stefan Schwietert
Principle actors: Bill Drummond
This film is a concept art documentary-cum-road movie about a musical project. Schwietert’s premise is that even if all known music suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth people could and would create their own music from what they hear around them, one tone at a time. He films Drummond driving around northern England, Wales, Ireland and Germany (on the 53’07” latitude line, no explanation given) in search of volunteers to group and spontaneously hum a single note. Drummond’s enthusiasm is contagious and many join in.
Each volunteer is declared to be a member of the group The17; the note is recorded temporarily. From all the recorded notes a choral work is later created on the computer. All volunteers are invited to hear the playback of the final recorded work and witness its permanent destruction on Drummond’s 60th birthday as part of the concept.
The road movie part works well and is touching: a group of nuns imitating the clear sound of bells, taxi drivers and construction workers on the job in Liverpool spontaneously humming an UMMM. The film becomes tedious when it backtracks to Drummond’s messy garage, his past as an artist in the KLF, his refusal to sell his music for royalties, his act of protest against commercialism in burning a million pounds onstage. All of this does not contribute to the musical project at hand, and I deducted a star for the clutter of the past. And another star for the choral work that we don’t quite get to hear. (Ann G.-T.)