The remarkable and award-winning documentary by Lisa Rovner, Sisters with Transistors, celebrates the women pioneers of electronic music and technology.
Sisters with Transistors
The untold story of the women who worked, invented and produced in the world of electronic music and sound throughout the 20th century.
The film maps a new history of electronic music through the visionary women whose radical experimentations with machines redefined the boundaries of music, including Clara Rockmore, Daphne Oram, Bebe Barron, Pauline Oliveros, Delia Derbyshire, Maryanne Amacher, Eliane Radigue, Suzanne Ciani, and Laurie Spiegel.
The documentary is voice by Laurie Anderson and brings together archival footage, interviews and long periods of letting the music speak for itself.
This was during a time where the work of women in both technology and composition was often overlooked. As one of the film’s subjects, Laurie Spiegel explains:
“We women were especially drawn to electronic music when the possibility of a woman composing was in itself controversial. Electronics let us make music that could be heard by others without having to be taken seriously by the male dominated Establishment.”
I would love to say that these issues are a thing of the past and are now only held up for curiosity but sadly misogyny and sexism within the synthesizer and electronic music industry are still prevalent today. However, I believe this is changing and while we’ve made great strides there’s still much work to be done. This documentary seems timely and I’m really looking forward to seeing it. I’d also recommend the film Delia Derbyshire: The Myths and Legendary Tapes by Caroline Catz.
Sisters with Transistors is available in the UK and US for £9.99 from Friday 23rd April. They offer up lots of ways of watching the film via virtual screening tickets which include supporting local independent cinema and cultural partners. Or you can watch it via Curzon Home Cinema.
- Sisters with Transistors website