Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe
There is a lovely original score, written by Vandermark and performed by most of the doc's principal subjects, but for 90 long minutes we hear people speak about music we almost never hear. Most of the film uses footage of lakefront picnics, livestock butchering, people in the Loop bundled up against the cold, and most often, modes of Chicago transportation—I don't think a minute elapses without either external or internal shots of el trains, regional commuter lines, or airplanes. Most of the interviews occur on trains, in cars, or in boats—yes, boats (which is how most of us get around Chicago, after all). Some of the footage of Locks, for example, shows him behind the wheel of a car, something he hasn't owned for as long as I've known him. All of the subjects are articulate and make interesting observations about their own craft and the scene at large—with the exception of Williams, who praises Chicago's "unlimitless potential," and who only lived here for about two years anyway—but this was a chore to get through. If you want to know what Chicago music was like back in the 90s, you won't get much of an idea from Parallax Sounds.