What a joy is a documentary that neither talks down to its audience nor diminishes its subject. Lisa Rovner’s Sisters With Transistors is an unapologetically geeky look at the female pioneers of early electronic music which veers fearlessly into the experimental end of the knob-twiddling spectrum. Laurie Anderson narrates a fascinating film that takes in, among others, theremin virtuoso Clara Rockmore; a beatifically smiling Suzanne Ciani sensually stroking a suitcase full of wires; Éliane Radigue, engrossed in her minimal tonal experiments; and the great Delia Derbyshire, with the mathematical precision of her diction and her demure slingback tapping to a throbbing loop of noise.
Particularly glorious is footage of the sound installation artist Maryanne Amacher blasting Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore with pure volume. A mix of fear and exhilaration in his eyes, face quivering in the force of the buffeting sound waves, he looks like a dog putting its head out of a moving car window for the very first time.
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