[Jeffrey scrambles to re-examine the “best of the year” list for last year]

Go rent Touch the Sound tonight.

Or bump it to the top of your Netflix queue.

And if you don’t have a surround-sound system, starting making plans with a friend who does.

Anne and I rented this, turned up the surround sound, and had one of the most unusual and inspiring movie experiences we’ve had in a good long while. It wasn’t just us… our cat Mardukas sat with us, his ears twitching and turning for the full 90 minutes, alert, intrigued, enthralled.

Director Thomas Riedelsheimer has given us a documentary about a phenomenal percussionist named Evelyn Glennie, which tracks her progress around the world from her Scotland home to Japan and the U.S., making improvisational music with other musicians of all kinds. It’s all about discovering wild new fusions of sound and, thus, tapping into feelings and ideas we wouldn’t otherwise experience.

The film can revitalize your ability to listen, and deepen your appreciation for the world of sound, from the unusual to the everyday.

I loved Riedelsheimer’s movie Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working in Time, but I think Touch the Sound is a much more creative film visually, making the overwhelming sonic experience of the film that much more engaging. Just as Rivers and Tides made Anne and I want to go redesign our backyard, this made me want to go outside, or through the kitchen, or into the basement, and start pounding on things just to see what they sound like. (Of course, in the basement I usually become preoccupied pounding hobo spiders, and they require several hits before they made a satisfying “squish,” but you didn’t really want to know that, did you?)

I highly recommend this film to all musicians, and all who love music.

Which should cover almost everyone.

If I left anyone out, I recommend it to them too.

Glennie is an intriguing person. She is so appealingly childlike in her curiosity and playfulness, so full of joy. We come to rejoice with her in her exploration of sound, and to marvel at her life. (Did I mention that she’s deaf?) And then, when this profile suddenly turns dramatic in last half-hour, we share in a sudden and deeply personal pain… only to find that pain redeemed by musical expression.

It’s a one-of-a-kind film, and a fantastic companion piece to Rivers and Tides.

The DVD is showing up for rent now, so go get it!

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