Breath Control : The History of the Human Beatbox

As seen at the Melbourne International Film Festival, 2nd August 2003

The short film before the documentary How to Deal with Death was very funny and I will keep an eye for it if it comes on Eat Carpet on SBS.

Human Beatboxing was had originally had it's peak of popularity in the 80's along with rap and break dancing. This documentary examines its origins by having experts in the art talk about their influences and how they go about it.

While I have heard of some of the people mentioned in the film, many of them where new to me. This is good as it means I have an excuse to go out and buy some of their CDs to check them out.

The origins of the style are briefly touched on with some footage of traditional vocal techniques from Africa and the famous Kongar-Ol's demonstration of Tuvan throat singing. (I couldn't work that one out either.)

Some of the best parts of the doco included the film clips by "The Fat Boys" and interviews with Buff, a pioneer of the industry. This is because he was so good at what he did and was a larger than life character with an infectious personality.

Special mention must also go to the titles, that start out with an animation then show a demonstration of beatboxing using anatomical diagrams (which looks a bit strange.) These diagrams also turn up in the scientific sections that explain some more about the techniques involved.

There were some surprises from the people being interviewed, including Rahzel's admission that he includes Michael Winslow (think Police Academy) and old school video games with funky sound effects as his inspiration. Also excellent was the clip of the Kung Fu movie they showed with him doing a beat box dub which would have been great to see live.

I defy anyone not to watch this movie and at not at least try to imitate some of the stuff they do, even if you don't mean to. Actually, one of the messages that I got from this film is that not many people do that any more so that may be a good idea - you never know if you are good at something until you try...


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