A look into the underground world of Bruce Haack, a genius whose past work continues to garner recognition with time. The homespun musician couldn't have done it without the support of his ...
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A look into the underground world of Bruce Haack, a genius whose past work continues to garner recognition with time. The homespun musician couldn't have done it without the support of his family, friends, lovers, and the neighborhood kids he called "starchildren," all of whom paint the big picture of Bruce's life legacy and so-called dimension of imagination. In addition, various musicians of many genres have joined in today showing worldwide support, thus contributing to Bruce's objective, "Sure it's nice to be famous, but I'm more interested in obtaining a telepathic following." As for the music world, history's future king is coming from the past. Written by
I had heard about Bruce Haack in college, when I studied electronic music. He was presented to me at the time in the same vein as Theremin, Paul, and Moog; that is, as an innovator in technology who was also an accomplished musician. But that was all he was, a name in my textbook.
Then, a few years ago I was doing some research on synthesizers, and I came across his name again. This time I read about his children's songs, and his Electric Lucifer album. I was intrigued, but couldn't locate any of his work easily, and eventually his name dropped to the bottom of my "must get" lists.
So, when this was released on DVD, it caught my eye and I found a copy. I already knew a little about Mr. Haack, and this film definitely expanded my knowledge of his life, his work, and to some degree his thoughts on his life and work. There are some interviews with his friends and colleagues, many examples of his work, and even some amazing video footage from "What's My Line?" and "Mister Rogers Neighborhood".
But the film has weak spots. There are many interviews with DJs and modern electronica artists who come off as not very articulate, and they add very little except to say "Bruce Haack used synthesizers and now I do too"... kind of a rah-rah chorus section ("GOOOOOO BRUCE!").
There isn't enough interview time with Esther Nelson, the children's dance instructor with whom Mr. Haack made so much wonderful music. And there is too much time spent with Chris Kachulis, who for some reason wears a wife-beater shirt and looks as if he is homeless.
While it seemed to me that most of the important, nexus-type events in Mr. Haack's life were presented, there was scant mention of the alcohol and drug use that was apparently VERY prevalent in his lifestyle. I thought that was a self-censoring mistake... it was a part of his life, a part of him and his music, and should have been presented in an up-front, matter-of-fact manner rather than glossed over. It's even directly relevant to The Electric Lucifer album (the music scene in America at the time, his state of mind when composing and recording, etc.)
I would have liked to have seen more of his inventions. I was left feeling that anything he made was lost or buried with him, and I think it would have been cool to have seen them demonstrated with recently shot footage (the video clips from the 60s are less than excellent quality).
Also, the flow of the film is uneven; it frequently abandons any kind of linear or chronological format to show a DJ interview and then a TV clip and then back to something else... it's somewhat disjointed, and seems more like a 45 minute TV show with lots of DJ interview filler.
Like I said, tho, I DID come away knowing more than when I sat down, so this is by no means a waste of time or money. It's just not quite as entertaining (or quite as informative) as I would have liked.
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