January 31, 2020

How much does the power of music depend on its physicality?

James Montgomery, 24

When my friend Matthew’s ears were ringing as we exited a particularly loud concert, we laughed it off as a normal post concert experience. When the ringing still hadn’t stopped three months later, his whole world fell apart. Up until then he’d been hoping to pursue a career in music, but his tinnitus now prevents him from enjoying both listening and performing. Up until then I hadn’t given much thought to the fragility of the mechanisms that allow us to experience music, but it now felt vitally important to explore whether it’s possible to learn to hear music in a different way, to reach the same level of deep pleasure in spite of a physical impairment. This film takes that exploration to its logical conclusion, portraying music that exists only in Matthew’s head. I hope it challenges viewers to consider whether they could still enjoy music if their physical experience of it changed significantly, and if not, gives them a better appreciation for the physical limits of the human condition.