We're already getting a little bored of trying to be funny and cynical about the new Zac Efron starring EDM movie We Are Your Friends. It's a bit like taking shots at Jeremy Clarkson, or Sting – it's so obvious why the whole thing is ridiculous and annoying, the jokes are too easy. So instead of being grumpy fuckers about the whole thing, we thought we'd introduce you to some other electronic music films that are getting a release this year, films that are really worth getting excited about.
Dance music has a bit of a checkered past with cinema. For every on-the-nose offering like Human Traffic, there is a Beat Girl, doing about as good a job of capturing club culture as In The Night Garden does capturing deprived inner-city communities. This year, however, things might be looking up. Efron's pulse racing BPMs aside, there are a slew of genuinely intriguing movies on the way, each of which has the critical and crew credentials to suggest some genuine promise, and crucially, authenticity. Check out our five suggestions below.
Director: Alex Dunn
What's the Story?: The first in a few star-stuffed documentaries on our list, 808 is all about the low-frequency drum-machine that has been powering sultry electronica and bumpin' hip-hop since the early 1980s. It's one of many industry focussed, all star cast affairs, featuring interviews with the likes of Rick Rubin, David Guetta, Norman Cook, Damon Albarn, Diplo, and of course, 808 State. The drum machine played a pivotal role in a transformative period in dance and electronic music, so while the documentary might sound like one for the heads, it should actually be a pretty all encompassing slice of musical history.
Expect: 808's and hot takes.
Released: The movie just premiered at Sheffield's Doc Fest, so hopefully we can expect a wider UK release soon.
Find out more here.
Director: Mia Hansen-Løve
What's The Story?: Eden is the movie on our list closest to We Are Your Friends, yet rather than opting for a straight up rise to the top story, it heads in the more realistic (albeit probably depressing) direction of a wannabe DJ floating on the peripheries of Paris' 1990s rave scene. The story loosely follows the real-life story of the director's brother Sven, named Paul in the film, who attempts to enter the scene as a DJ. From the looks of things, it appears to be a parallel to Daft Punk's story, with more emphasis on the "Instant Crush" than the "Get Lucky".
Expect: Frances Ha meets Tron.
Released: 24th July.
I Dream of Wires
Directed by: Robert Fantinatto and Jason Amm
What's the Story?: Further back than the 808, looking to the arrival of the modular synth. We've spoken to a lot of producers recently who seem to be returning to the tactile experience of the modular synthesiser, and this documentary should demonstrate why that is happening. Arriving in the 1960s the synthesiser tore a hole in popular music, and changed a landscape defined by guitars into something far more cosmic, a "tearing the fabric of the universe sound". Featuring interviews from everyone from Trent Reznor to Legowelt, this should be a truly enveloping origin story.
Expect: The dawn of electronic music.
Released: The film get its premiere in Berlin on the 28th of July.
Find out more here.
Daft Punk Unchained
Director: Hervé Martin Delpierre
What's The Story?: Pretty straightforward this one: it's the story of Daft Punk. Naturally the excitement is coming from the fact that we know more about the Bermuda Triangle than we do Thomas and Guy-Man. Early reports indicate that plenty of insightful nuggets are revealed throughout the documentary, as well as the stringent methods the pair have put in place in order to protect their secrecy. To be completely honest, it will probably follow the usual direction of a BBC funded music documentary, (archive footage…talking head…slowly panning photo…another talking head), but given the story being told, it should still make a pretty fascinating watch.
Expect: Rare footage of Kanye West talking about a musician other than himself.
Released: The documentary just premiered in France, but is being distributed by BBC Worldwide so should appear over here pretty soon.
Industrial Soundtracks to Urban Decay
Director: Amélie Ravalec & Travis Collins
What's the Story?: Certainly the most esoteric entry on our list, Industrial Soundtracks sets out to tell the story of the noise based electronic music that emerged from the Thatcher ravaged industrial north. It should be a really fascinating glance at a time where the economic and political climate genuinely shaped art in an immediate and visceral way. While industrial music might seem like a niche area, this documentary should look to illustrate just how far it has influenced the sphere of popular music, way beyond the initial clangs and fuzzes of Throbbing Gristle.
Expect: Billy Elliot soundtracked by Cabaret Voltaire.
Released: There are loads of screenings taking place across the world this summer, starting at Manchester's HOME this Saturday.
Find out more here.