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Germany/Switzerland/United Kingdom 2015
Directed by
Stefan Schwietert
83 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

Imagine Waking Up Tomorrow And All Music Has Disappeared

Stefan Schwietert’s film opens with a leather-coated dude who looks like the older, grungier brother of Kevin McCloud of Grand Designs inviting us to ponder the situation described by the title.  It then follows him as he drives across England in his beaten-up Land Rover periodically bailing up groups of farm hands, road workers and cab drivers to take part in a choral work that he is putting together for a one-off performance, literally down the track, by an non-existent ensemble he is calling The17.

We’re a good way into this before Schwietert reveals that the dude in question is Bill Drummond who with his collaborator Jimmy Cauty in the late 1980s formed a shock-and-awe band called The KLF which became one of the biggest avant-garde British bands of the day.  Their lasting notoriety however is down the fact that in 1994 they burned a million pounds and walked away from the music scene.

Twenty years have elapsed since those  heady days and the Rolling Stones are still churning out their greatest hits in gargantuan stadiums but Drummond remains true to his convictions, making music that won’t be sold, indeed won’t even be preserved, as once he assembles the pieces from the numerous sound files he has collected he permanently  erases them (as an audience we don’t even get to hear the piece he is working on because we did not participate in its creation).

It is a bold, anarchic gesture invoking a pre-commercialized form of music in its real lived ephemeral immediacy. Although his workmanlike demeanour could not be less exotic,  Drummond is a kind of sādhu traversing the mundane English landscape on a mystic journey.  Equally Schwietert’s film is unpolished but it captures the magical idealism of Drummond’s mission.   The effect is inspirational.  Imagine Waking Up Tomorrow and All Music Has Disappeared should not be missed by anyone who loves music.




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