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Synth Pioneer Suzanne Ciani Documentary A Life in Waves Gets First Trailer

Early synth pioneer Suzanne Ciani is the subject of a new documentary set to debut this March at SXSW. Titled A Life in Waves, the film examines Ciani’s struggle to find an audience for her early modular compositions and surprising acceptance in the advertising world, where the sound designer crafted ear-catching effects for brands like Coca-Cola, Atari, Skittles, Dial, and others.

A close friend of Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, the two teamed up late last year for Sunergy, a collection of meditative, improvisational pieces from RVNG Intl.’s FRKWYS series. The label released their own 25-minute documentary accompanying the release, with slow-moving visuals over the pair’s careful use of the Buchla 200 synthesizer.

Directed by Brett Whitcomb, the film will join documentaries on the Grateful Dead, Big Star, and Major Lazer as SXSW’s music-based programming. Check out the trailer below.


Correction: An earlier version of this article stated the documentary was co-directed by Brett Whitcomb, Bradford Thomason and Ali Clark. While the film is directed by Whitcomb, Thomason wrote and edited the documentary and Clark served as executive producer. The article has been updated to reflect this change.