Legendary guitarist Bob Weir, a founder of the Grateful Dead, voices an evocative new short film from McIntosh Laboratory, which makes handcrafted, high-end amplifiers, speakers and related audio equipment.
Developed with creative studio Convicts, the poetic piece presents archival footage of people making and enjoying music through the years, with McIntosh components frequently in the frame. The audio-visual montage casts sound itself as the narrator, with Weir calling the tune.
"They call it the big bang for a reason," his relaxed, authoritative voice begins. "I emerged from that primal roar around 10,000 ancient campfires, stomping my feet to the drums and flutes of old. I thought I'd found my rhythm, but then I kissed the wooden chamber walls and realized that I was just getting started."
At one point, Weir, 73, alludes to his own place in music history: "I jammed at Monterey, spread peace at Woodstock, and sewed magic on a long, strange trip."
There's a cadence to the lines that recalls beat writers like Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti, and evokes Weir's preeminence in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury scene of the 1960s.
He concludes: "I invent and reinvent myself to share the joy I know, and spread the truth I have found. That the world is a dance, a rhythm, the tune of evolution. That life is a song. And I am sound."
Weir has used McIntosh gear with the Dead and as a solo performer for seven decades, so he must think it's pretty groovy.
His delivery—world-weary, but hopeful—works in the harmony with the evocative views of Harlem jazz clubs, recording studios, Woodstock and abstract imagery to heighten the film's mystical mood.
Convicts director Sharkey Weinberg and copywriter Cameron Higgins say they strove to "articulate the spiritual, aesthetic and philosophical truths we've spent a sincere chunk of our lives seeking. We had to marry visuals, sound design and script into a cohesive, organic whole. We wanted the form to reflect the content."
To that end, they "sought to utilize all aspects of sound: not just music, not just a voiceover, not just sound effects," the pair tell Muse. "Rather, we wanted to combine these different elements to create a complex yet cohesive sonic character."
"The script itself is expressionistic," they say. "We wanted to both counterbalance the writing's abstraction with specific historical details while also amplifying the words with broad, equally impressionistic visuals."
Ultimately, their message rings loud and clear: In the cacophonous mix of daily existence, sound and music can take us higher. They cancel out the noise and bring resonant moments to life.
"We aimed to open a positive philosophical window in the audience's consciousness," say Weinberg and Higgins. "Life truly is like a song, a story of highs and lows. We hope the audience, music lovers of all stripes, will find joy and solace in that concept."