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MELLODRAMA: The Mellotron Movie

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"Mellodrama: The Mellotron Movie" explores the history of tape keyboard sampling through Harry Chamberlin's invention of the Chamberlin keyboards, the popularization of the Mellotron, and its influence today.

Mellodrama explores the rising and falling fortunes of the Mellotron – the first musical keyboard to “sample” the sounds of other instruments – from its birth in a California garage in the 1950s, through its dominance on concert stages in the 1970s, through its almost religious cult of followers in the 2000s.

The Mellotron is a keyboard instrument that plays prerecorded tapes. It was invented as the Chamberlin organ by Harry Chamberlin who wanted to sell his "orchestra at your fingertips" to every Aunt Mable in America. But his trusted salesman Bill Franson took two instruments to England, and found manufacturers to replicate the Chamberlin. Under this dubious pretense, the Mellotron was born.

Through the music of the Beatles, the Zombies, and the Moody Blues, the Mellotron became the "instant magic sound." In the 1970s, it defined the sound of progressive rock bands like Yes and Genesis. Though forgotten during the 1980s, when digital synthesizers hijacked pop music, the Mellotron is today again a highly desired and sought-after device, a connection for artists like Radiohead and Kanye West to the mystical lost world of invention.


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Type: Documentary
Year: 2010
Total Time: 80 mins
Styles: Berlin, EBM, Progressive, Space Rock, Synth-Pop
Formats: DVD
Liscense: Copyright
Cast:
Mike Akerdeldt
Rod Argent
Tony Banks
David Diro
Jon Brion
Jesse Carmichael
Brian Carroll
Richard Chamberlin
Damon Fox
Fabio Frizzi
Mitchell Froom
Steven Frothingham
Pea Hicks
Woody Jackson
David Kean
Brian Kehew
Don Lawson
Ian Mcdonald
Patrick Moraz
Rick Nielsen
Mattias Olsson
Michael Penn
Mike Pinder
Zach Rae
Markus Resch
Tom Rhea
Claudio Simonetti
Matthew Sweet
Geoff Unwinn
Mike Walters
Patrick Warren
Per Wiberg
Brian Wilson
Director: Dianna Dilworth
Producer: Dianna Dilworth, Elizabeth Kibbey, Trevor Smith
Soundtrack: Michael Penn, Patrick Warren, Brian Kehew, Mattias Olsson, Dave Biro, and Bigelf
Editor: Trevor Smith
Studio: Bazillion Points
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