With electronic music's growing profile here in the US, its no surprise to see an increase in documentaries that highlight some of the scene's lustrous history. We're even more grateful to see that these documentaries have all done a great job at painting engaging portraits of a variety of elements within dance music culture. We selected 5 documentaries that we felt were a healthy balance of giving viewers context while educating, engaging narrative, and ultimately how entertaining they are. Check out the trailers and let us know which ones you're putting on your radar!
Alexander Dunn’s documentary aptly named “808” is the story and celebration of the Roland TR-808 drum machine and its influence over the last three decades of music. The film is brimmed with perspective from successful musicians (Phil Collins, Beastie Boy Adam 'Ad-Rock' Horovitz, D&B artist, Goldie and plenty of others) who have had the 808 change the way they approach creating music. Anyone who is an avid electronic music enthusiast or a fan of the hip-hop game should keep a real eye out for this. It’s a history lesson on a piece of music technology that changed the way music would be created moving forward.
The Detroit Sound Project's first release stars DJs Richie Hawtin and Black Coffee, and documents the DSP team’s journey in electronic music from Detroit to South Africa. Electric Roots: The Detroit Sound Project is currently on a film festival tour and has already made its European premier at the Cannes Court Metrage Short Film Corner in 2014, and North American premier at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles.
The fact that the late Frankie Knuckles features is reason enough to check out The House That Chicago Built. Picking apart the history of house and tracking its metamorphosis into EDM, DJ Lil Louis is in the director’s chair for their exhaustive documentary. Don't worry, we won't blame you if you start dancing in the cinema.
BBC Daft Punk Documentary
Directed by Hervé Martin Delpierre and co-written by co-written by Marina Rozenman, the documentary will chronicle the rise of and the artistic world of the two award-winning DJ’s, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, who formed Daft Punk in the 90’s and became the leading figures of the French Touch scene.
As I Am: The Life and Times of DJ AM - Directed by: Kevin Kerslake
Director Kevin Kerslake creates a riveting portrait of Adam Goldstein otherwise known as DJ AM in ‘As I Am: The Life and Times of DJ AM’. The documentary offers an introspective look at the meteoric rise and tragic fall of one of the most influential electronic dance music DJs of the last decade. It’s worth noting that one of the more chilling aspects of the documentary is that it’s narrated by Goldstein himself. After cheating death in a plane crash and ultimately having an overdose lead to his unfortunate death shortly after, Goldstein ironically keeps in mind how fragile life is and that any day could be your last.