Published Mar 12, 2010It's a question that plagues musicians and first-year philosophy students everywhere: "What is music?"
It's this question that inspired the producers of Moog and director Christopher Pomerenke to create the movie The Heart Is a Drum Machine, a documentary that speaks to an array of musicians, actors and scientists about why we love music and how it works.
Among the many artists featured in the movie are Flaming Lips front-man Wayne Coyne, John Frusciante, MGMT's Andrew VanWyngarden, Spoon's Britt Daniel, Modest Mouse singer Isaac Brock and Tool's Maynard James Keenan.
There are also talking heads from a number of Hollywood stars, including Jason Schwartzman, Juliette Lewis and Paper Heart screenwriter Charlyne Yi (all of whom are musicians, as well as actors). Simiam Records boss/Frodo/viral video star Elijah Wood appears in the film as well.
Rounding out the commentary are a number of scientists and engineers who offer a more technical look at how music works. The movie also weighs in on the Golden Record, which was included in NASA's 1977 Voyager mission as a way to showcase our planet's music to any extraterrestrials who might find it.
As an added incentive for music fans to see the film, it was scored by Flaming Lips multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd. According to Wired's review, "The interstellar ambiance is perfectly transmitted by the soundtrack of the Flaming Lips' Steve Drozd, who intersperses heart beeps throughout his humming, space-age synth sounds."
It also reportedly features a cover of Elton John's "Rocket Man" performed by Drozd and Maynard James Keenan. Wired gave the film an eight of ten, pointing to the soundtrack, as well as "Coyne's Santa pin," as highlights. The review also mocked "Isaac Brock's self-conscious ineloquence."
The Heart Is a Drum Machine was released on DVD this past Tuesday (March 9). You can check out the trailer below.