Sisters With Transistors

Watch Sisters With Transistors

"Electronic music's unsung heroines"
  • 2020
  • 7.4  (971)
  • 82

Sisters with Transistors is a documentary film that delves into the history of electronic music by exploring the lives and work of female pioneers in the field. The film portrays the life stories of a number of women who were largely unrecognized for their contributions to the development of this genre in the early years. The film premiered in 2020 at the San Francisco Film Festival and has been a major hit with critics as well as audiences.

The film is directed by Lisa Rovner, a filmmaker and contemporary artist. Rovner’s film has been recognized as a timely tribute to the many women who have been overlooked in the traditionally male-dominated field of music production. The film’s title draws from the fact that many of these women pioneers were largely isolated and in their own worlds, working tirelessly to create the musical revolution that would eventually come.

The film introduces its subjects one by one, and delves into their motivations, struggles and accomplishments. Among the individuals featured in the documentary are Clara Rockmore, Daphne Oram, Delia Derbyshire, Bebe Barron, Pauline Oliveros, Wendy Carlos, Laurie Spiegel and Suzanne Ciani. The stories of these women and their remarkable achievements are told through their own words as well as through interviews with contemporary musicians and engineers.

The documentary explores the various ways that these pioneers were able to push beyond the boundaries of what was considered “normal” in the field of music. Many of these women were primarily trained in fields outside of music, such as physics or engineering, which allowed them to approach sound manipulation from an entirely different perspective. For example, Clara Rockmore, a virtuoso theremin player, used her knowledge of physics and mathematics to create an entirely new technique for playing the instrument, which would go on to inspire a generation of musicians.

Similarly, Daphne Oram, a self-taught electronic composer in England, created an entirely new way of manipulating sound through her creation of the “Oramics” machine, which was a precursor to modern synthesisers. Such innovative ideas and instruments helped to shape the electronic music landscape in the years to come.

The film is also a timely reminder of the challenges that women have faced then and now in the music industry. These pioneering women had to contend with gendered expectations within the music industry, the scientific community and society at large. As in many other fields, women were often dismissed, belittled or ignored entirely, despite the tremendous contributions they made to the field.

Despite these challenges, these women persisted, creating groundbreaking music and developing new technologies that continue to shape the musical landscape today. Sisters with Transistors is therefore also a celebration of the power of persistence and the ability of women to transcend constraints and move beyond them.

Overall, Sisters with Transistors is a fascinating and eye-opening look into a world that many people may have never considered. The film is beautifully shot, with stunning archival footage, and the exploration of the individual stories of each musician is both engaging and informative. As a documentary, it deftly weaves together historical context, personal narratives and a sense of awe and wonder about the power of music and creativity. The film is an important addition to the histroy of electronic music, and a poignant tribute to the amazing women who helped to shape it.

Sisters With Transistors is a 2020 documentary. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.4 and a MetaScore of 82.

Sisters With Transistors
Where to Watch Sisters With Transistors
Sisters With Transistors is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime and Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Sisters With Transistors for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.4  (971)
  • Metascore