Set in the near future, which is a piece of irony in and of itself since the band Soviet was conceived in the near past - LIFE BEGINS AT REWIREMENT follows Simon Ender on the day he checks his 100-year-old mother Jessica, into a memory care facility that uploads elderly minds into data banks. Simon must grapple with the difficult decision of what is best for his ailing parent as she descends further into dementia. The strained relationship of mother and son is put to the test as Jessica transitions from her aging body into a hard drive with infinite access to every memory and experience. Simon comes face-to-face with feelings of guilt, insecurity and ultimately, love, when the two are reunited.
The film debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival and appeared as an episode of the PBS series Futurestates earlier this year. Director Trevor Matcek describes the genesis of the film this way, “As my parents grow older, I think about what I will do when they can no longer take care of themselves. Put them in a home? Have them live with me? It’s a gray area with no right or wrong that many must deal with at some point in their lives.
I am a huge fan of science fiction and most of my projects fall within the genre. I also come from a middle-class suburban background. It’s what I know. So I’ve found that I gravitate towards “suburban sci-fi” and telling stories as real as possible. How the kid across the street will deal with technology, rather than heroes in a galaxy far, far away. It is this familiar world where I set Life Begins At Rewirement , on an afternoon that many people from all walks of life, must come to terms with.
At heart, the film is thought provoking. Technology seems to advance by leaps and bounds and those leaps are really amazing. Amazing to the point that it is nearly overlooked in these modern times. We come to expect that which just a few years or months ago was unimaginable. Its only natural to eventually wonder how that technology can affect our mortality. And, perhaps the morality behind those effects.
About The Band : Soviet was born out of junk piles. It was born in pawnshops in the section for cast off musical instruments; Synthesizers . The earliest electric musical instruments was invented in 1876 by American electrical engineer Elisha Gray, who accidentally discovered that he could control sound from a self-vibrating electromagnetic circuit; in doing so, invented a basic single note oscillator. Frankly, this instrument was a remote electromechanical musical instrument using telegraphy and electric buzzers, without any other sound synthesis function. However, some people tend to call it "the first synthesizer". But by 1915, we had the first electronic piano thanks to Lee De Forest. 1920 brought the Theremin into existence, named for its creator Leo Theremin. By the ‘30s electronic organs were commercially available. Other odd electronic instruments came into being, if they didn’t find a wide audience ; the Ondes Martenot, the Trautonium. But these weren’t ‘truly’ synthesizers – there are varying definitions of the term "synthesizer". There is often confusion between sound synthesizers and arbitrary electric/electronic musical instruments. However, the synthesizer is defined by its ability to imitate sounds, sounds of real instruments.
Robert Moog released the first commercially available modern synthesizer in 1965 and these Moog Synthesizers are usually what are heard on the first pop records use of synths. In the late 1960s to 1970s, the development of miniaturized solid-state components allowed synthesizers to become self-contained, portable instruments, by the early 1980s companies were selling compact, modestly priced synthesizers to the public. This, along with the development of MIDI, made it easier to integrate and synchronize synthesizers and other electronic instruments for use in musical composition.
Micky Dolenz of The Monkees bought one of the first Moog synthesizers. The band was the first to release an album featuring a Moog with Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. in 1967. A few months later, both the Rolling Stones' "2000 Light Years from Home" and the title track of the Doors' 1967 album Strange Days would also feature a Moog.
The sound of the Moog also reached the mass market with Simon and Garfunkel's Bookends in 1968 and The Beatles' Abbey Road the following year; hundreds of other popular recordings subsequently used synthesizers. Beaver and Krause, Tonto's Expanding Head Band, The United States of America, and White Noise reached a sizable cult audience and came to almost define, or refine “psychedelic rock” with the use of the instrument as ‘sound effect’ machines. Then progressive rock musicians such as Pink Floyd, Yes, Emerson, Lake and Palmer composed music for the synth – as opposed to using it as sound effects. Stevie Wonder created a brand new realm of pop music by his early compositions which took soul/funk/R&B and pop music into a realm the earlier musicians hadn’t. But, by the ‘90s the use of these instruments was becoming old hat and falling out of favor as the guitar god bands of the ‘90s re-emerged.
Soviet’s story begins in NYC during the late 1990s--Keith Ruggiero purchased all manner of the vintage synth gear that had fallen out of favor with the guitar-heavy indie rock bands of the time. Armed with his new gear, picked up for “ song and a dance’ in pawn shops and armed with a four-track recorder, Soviet was born. In 2001, Soviet released their first record, "We Are Eyes, We Are Builders" to rave reviews, capturing the essence and excitement of a burgeoning Electroclash scene. The follow-up, "Spies In The House Of Love", was released years later, during which time Ruggiero moved to Los Angeles to begin his career as a commercial composer and sound designer. It was also during this time that Ruggiero met director Trevin Matcek, with whom he found a shared taste of music and film.
Composed by Ruggiero, Life Begins At Rewirement’s score has been described by the film's director as "the heartbeat" of the film; striking a "hot and cold balance by mixing analog and digital." Says Matcek, “The result is synthetic, but never artificial. It's warm and earnest, with a layer of loneliness just below the surface. Keith summed up the feeling it creates with a single word: chills."
The soundtrack is one of few that interested me just because of this effect. As you watch the film, the vintage instruments and Ruggiero’s compositions really do pull you into the film, and almost as much as the fine scenery, the thought provoking subject matter and the fine acting, the sound; the songs set the mood and issue the pulse for the film.
Give it a listen.
- Audio CD (August 6, 2012), Number of Discs: 1,Format: Soundtrack
- Label: Sounds RED, ASIN: B008S1ELU8, In-Print Editions: MP3 Music Review copy provided by OJET Records via Riot Act Media.
Copyright © 2012 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved