Sisters with Transistors
Directed by Lisa Rovner
$12 / $8 Speed members
“An important tribute to these women and their influence, it’s also a cinematic experience that melds the visuals to the abstract, hallucinatory sounds of their compositions.” Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times
Sisters with Transistors is an essential primer for those interested in discovering this vital, oft-overlooked history of women in electronic music, whole also offering plenty of pleasures for crate-digging experimental music obsessives.
Although the democratizing potential of technology has often been overstated, the advent of electronic music in the 20th century was a radical break from all musical traditions that came before it. This new mode allowed artists to create compositions that were completely divorced from the Western canon, fantasias that were built out of tones that could only be realized through electrical impulses, intricate tape loops, punch cards, or modified samples plucked from the natural world.
As Lisa Rovner’s documentary demonstrates, these women—many of whom were classically trained musicians, brilliant mathematicians, or a combination of both—relished the freedom of electronic music, even as they faced discrimination due to their gender and chosen medium. Through their inventiveness and rebellion, these trailblazers’ music went on to influence musicians working in a variety of genres and proved the worthiness of going electric.
Narrated by legendary multimedia artist Laurie Anderson, Lisa Rovner’s superb Sisters with Transistors showcases the music of and rare interviews with female electronic pioneers Clara Rockmore, Delia Derbyshire, Daphne Oram, Éliane Radigue, Maryanne Amacher, Bebe Barron, Suzanne Ciani, Pauline Oliveros, Laurie Spiegel, and Wendy Carlos. Contemporary musicians, such as Holly Herndon and Kim Gordon, also offer insights into their forebears’ indelible music and their personal significance. 2020, U.K., DCP, 84 minutes. Recommended for 12+
Co-presented with Girls Rock Louisville with a portion of ticket sales supporting their mission.
CINEMA+ Post-screening panels follow the screenings. Details coming soon.