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Haack: King of Techno

An eccentric composer best known for his idiosyncratic children's songwriting, the late Bruce Haack has recently been rediscovered by sample-happy DJ's. While its title emphasizes that ongoing legacy, Philip Anagnos' "Haack: King of Techno" wisely focuses primarily on the subject's own life and works.

With: Miss Nelson, Praxiteles, Chris Kachulis, Money Mark, Mouse on Mars, Tipsy, DJ Me DJ You, Anubian Nights.

An eccentric composer best known for his idiosyncratic children’s songwriting, the late Bruce Haack has recently been rediscovered by sample-happy DJ’s. While its title emphasizes that ongoing legacy, Philip Anagnos’ “Haack: King of Techno” wisely focuses primarily on the subject’s own life and works. This fun dive into a bizarre creative sensibility will send viewers out combing racks for such obscure LPs as “Funky Doodle” and “The Way Out Record for Children.” Specialized play in urban-hipster centers is possible.

A scholarship student at Julliard, the Alberta-born Haack was first drawn to electronic music simply because he could control it more fully than he could unruly live musicians. Soon he was constructing instruments, and, partnered with kids’ dance/music educator Miss (Esther) Nelson, used them to create numerous memorably loopy ’60s-’70s participation records featuring songs like “Unicycle Show” and “Jellydancing.” He’s seen here demonstrating his musical gadgets on TV shows “Mr. Rogers” and “I’ve Got a Secret.” Later, depression, drugs and alcohol fueled an all-synth fantasia on Columbia Records, “Electric Lucifer,” before leading to his death at age 57. Entertaining docu is enlivened by apt animated graphics.

Haack: King of Techno

Production: A Seventh Art Releasing presentation of a Thinkbubble Films production in association with Dimension 5. Produced by Melanie Moreau. Executive producer, Philip Anagnos. Directed by Philip Anagnos.

Crew: Camera (color, B&W), T. Antonio Somodevilla, Anagnos; editors, Anagnos, Kyle Yaskin; music, Bruce Haack. Reviewed at San Francisco Indie Festival, Feb. 15, 2004. Running time: 70 MIN.

With: With: Miss Nelson, Praxiteles, Chris Kachulis, Money Mark, Mouse on Mars, Tipsy, DJ Me DJ You, Anubian Nights.

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