Trimpin is the eccentric German inventor/composer who turns junk into elaborate mechanical musical instruments that play themselves. This affectionate documentary follows him over a two-year period, during which he constructed a tower of 500 guitars as the centerpiece of the Experience Music Project in Seattle, and collaborated with The Kronos Quartet on a concert piece for toy instruments. Such grand commissions are spectacularly imaginative, but this film’s strength is that it also lingers on incidental moments that allow us to tune into Trimpin’s wavelength. The scene at the barber’s, when he remarks that the snip, snip of the scissors sounds quieter than usual, succinctly illustrates how the everyday sounds we take for granted are music to Trimpin’s ears.
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