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Touch the Sound




Through the rhythms of Evelyn Glennie we touch the sound – we feel the beat of the universe. Thomas Riedelsheimer takes us on an expedition with Scottish percussionist Evelyn Glennie into the center of the sound world – a journey involving each of our senses. See, Feel, Embrace the sound. Evelyn's postcards from her journey across the world feed into the creation of music from the interior of one of the most unique perspectives of sound and image on the planet.

Life is rhythm

At the heart of every life form there is rhythm. Movement, flow, change, renewal and repe-tition are all based in rhythm. It is only in rhythm, that we can experience time. Without vibration, without oscillation, there is statis. There is nothing. Stability and solidity are illusions. Everything oscillates and vibrates – from the bridge of steel and concrete, to the energy shells around an atom. Even colors oscillate at different frequencies. We recognize and experience our world through rhythm. Everything vibrates – everything „speaks“. It is, in essence, a universe of sound. Evelyn Glennie lives in this universe in a way that almost no one else does. Together with her, this film dives in to the world of sound and rhythm – and into the world of our origins.

Hearing images, seeing sound

Evelyn Glennie embarks upon the recording of a new CD, within the four walls of a vast, decaying industrial warehouse. She is the top classical, solo percussionist in the world – a role virtually of her own creation. A musician especially for which an entire corpus of works has been written, yet, for this CD, the pages of the score are blank. She sits in this light-filled space with Fred Frith – the great master of avant garde music. Together they will create this CD as an improvisational exploration of sound and image using the space around them, as well as their instruments and intuitive talent, they follow this twin-track route. Hearing images. Seeing sound.Accompanying Evelyn on her journey is filmmaker Thomas Riedelsheimer – winner of the 2001 German cinematography prize, the Golden Gate Award Grand Prize in San Francisco (2002), the Grand Prix Montreal (2002) and two German Film Prizes (Best Camera, Best Documentary) in 2003 with his film „Rivers and Tides“ - a portrait of sculptor Andy Goldsworthy, working with time.The starting point for Thomas' and Evelyn's journey are the sounds and rhythms that surround us in everyday life. And from there, the path delves deeper - sculpting the nature of sound itself, discovering its genesis and how the universe depends upon it. Thomas and Evelyn track the road from breath to heart beat. From silence to music. From hearing to seeing to feeling. From fluid vibration to solid matter.Evelyn's ability to guide this exploration has nothing to do with, perhaps, an intimate knowledge of physics. Evelyn Glennie is profoundly deaf. She lives this balance between rhythm and matter; between soundand seeing. Her conversation with the drums is not so much perceived through the ears – it is, in fact, felt; through every sense in her body. For her, hearing is a form of touch. Sound is palpable. The improvised musical journey, in this warehouse-recording studio, forms a road map. It becomes the backbone of Thomas Riedelsheimer's film.

Postcards of sound

But, as any other journey undertaken, this trip comes to life not only through the route it takes, but from the picture postcards collected along the way. Evelyn's postcards from around the world enlighten and nourish this studio journey. Depicting the rhythms of Cities, Nature, People, the Universe. Silence. These pictures are colorful, evocative, with a strong sense of place, and of narrative.Japan. England. California. Scotland. New York on a sunlit, early morning. The first traffic jams begin to form – yellow taxis become, from a bird's eye view, musical notes upon the score. Drivers curse, toot their horns, blare their music loud. Garbage trucks rumble and clatter, street cleaners sweep in unconscious rhythmn to their steps. Enter Evelyn into this concert of awakening metropolis; her favorite snare drum hangs from her shoulder and she improvises with Manhattan. She communicates with the din of the construction, the cars, the facades, the yellow cabs. Later on she meets with Horazio Hernandes, the great Cuban drum-magician, in Central Park. And the mass of multi-ethnic traditions of New York dances with us.Our road map and Evelyn's postcards elicit moments of pause and reflection. We see the images of sound. From the vibrating drum shell from the cymbal struck nearby, to the rings of gravel in the Japanese stone garden. These are the sound waves of the universe.At the end of this journey, we have traveled with Evelyn Glennie not just around the world but as she herself travels each day. Feeling the rhythms that are the building blocks of our universe. The essence of everything. The origins of life itself.



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