Touch the Sound (2004)
In this documentary about her life and work, the percussionist Evelyn Glennie (a Grammy award-winner) does for sound what her fellow Scot and environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy did for sight in the film Rivers and Tides (2002). In fact, both films were directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer. "My whole life," says Glennie, "is about sound; it's what makes me tick as a human being." That's a remarkable statement when about thirty minutes into the film you learn that by the time she was a teenager she was profoundly deaf. From playing a snare drum in New York's Grand Central Station, improvising with Fred Frith in an abandoned warehouse in Germany, visiting her brother at their family farm in Aberdeenshire, or staging an impromptu session in Tokyo using chop sticks on restaurant paraphernalia, Glennie explores the aesthetics, psychology and physicality of sound. Splattering water, pneumatic hammers at construction sites, a tap dancer, and general urban din all provide material for her reflections. Most of the sounds in the film are experimental, eerie, and dissonant, but to her credit Glennie amazes us with the complex miracle of one of our five senses.