What Difference Does It Make?
Red Bull Music Academy Tackles the Intangible Magnetism of Music Making.
by Joshua P. Ferguson
The compulsion to make music is a calling not a choice. Artists sacrifice all semblance of normalcy because they're so taken with the passion to create new sounds and to trigger emotion in their listeners. This is the focus of Red Bull Music Academy's new documentary exploring this passion for creation and the potential pitfalls that come with it. Beautifully shot by artist collective Mindpirates, it uses last year's Red Bull Music Academy in New York as a backdrop for interviews with such musical luminaries as the always enlightening James Murphy, a refreshingly candid Francois K, Nile Rodgers, remix legend Tom Moulton, and a fantastically articulate Brian Eno.
The film uses a series of intimate conversations to look inside why artists are drawn to music. Eno describes it as a stubbornness that can't be ignored. A surrender to something bigger. James Murphy describes the confidence and comfort he's discovered by taking chances. Meanwhile young artists accepted to the Academy shine with the excitement of opportunity in footage of the budding producers, musicians, and singers rehearsing and performing.
The documentarians are sure to also showcase that taking the musical path isn't always going to lead to fame and fortune. Francois K highlights the missed opportunity to work with both Madonna and the Pet Shop Boys, experiences that could have made him a millionaire. And in the most compelling point in the film, a charismatic-if-esoteric Tom Moulton allows the video crew into his New York apartment, a cluttered sea of music, awards, busts, bric-a-brac, and his cat. It's a vulnerable moment that shows that even the man credited with inventing the remix isn't living the high life during his golden age.
A touch on the long side, it's still a worthwhile effort and enlightening view for artists of any medium—an inspiring look inside the drive to create, the dangers of such extreme passion, the friction of collaboration, and a gratification that goes beyond money and media attention. It's a thoughtful look inside the journey of deciding to make music, and one that few besides the cultural curators at Red Bull and the artists as Mindpirates are in a position to articulate so truthfully.
View the move in it's entirety below or download at: www.rbma15.com