DVDs are hardly the most collectible things these days – I wager a lot of people don’t have the technology to even play one if they wanted to – but I’ve finally gotten my hands back on one of my most precious digital video discs after a couple years where I almost wrote it off as lost.
It’s my copy of Beautiful Noise, the 2014 documentary on the early days of shoegaze. Originally funded on Kickstarter in November of 2012, it was intended to be released in December 2013 but took a full year longer than that to ship; so long that I actually forgot that I’d contributed to the project, so it was quite a pleasant surprise when it showed up. And the reason I only just got it back is that I lent it to an acquaintance a couple years ago and it has taken me this long to get it back from him.
Objectively speaking, it’s not very slick document. The general production values are rough, there’s not much visual style, and there’s not a very strong narrative perspective. It may be worth noting that the film remains director Eric Green’s only IMDB entry.
But what it does have is troves of vintage footage and interviews – both vintage and current – with pretty much every relevant personality of the scene. The front half is structured chronologically, with scene forebears Cocteau Twins, Jesus and Mary Chain, and My Bloody Valentine getting extended chapters, while Ride, Slowdive, Chapterhouse, Swervedriver, Pale Saints, Lush, Curve, Medicine, get shorter segments. It then pivots to talking about various characteristics of the scene, both sonic and social, before returning to cover the end of the original movement by the mid-’90s and the eventual resurgence of it around the time the documentary was made.
Throughout, it has sit-downs with the principals of all the featured bands, as well as contemporaries and followers like The Cure, The Flaming Lips, Nine Inch Nails, Ladytron, Smashing Pumpkins, Alan McGee, Alan Moulder, Ivo Watts-Russell, Catherine Wheel… Honestly, while it may not look that great, there’s so much great material in it that it’s absolutely worth watching if you’re a fan.
So how can you see this thing? The film was available to rent on Vimeo for a while, but it appears to now have been taken down, so beyond finding a hard copy on eBay or something – there’s one right now for $100 – I dunno. Just don’t ask to borrow mine.
Someone saw fit to extract the Cocteau Twins segment and post that online:
And someone else collected all of Toni Halliday of Curve’s interview clips?:
And the official trailer for the film remains online:
Or just watch the whole thing!