Reviews & Comments

Press Quotes

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“Heartfelt documentary… This well-made film argues that Scott’s most significant achievements were his inventions of electronic instruments.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES, Stephen Holden [full review]

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“Both an exhaustive exhumation of a forgotten 20th-century genius and a tender, bittersweet requiem for a fractured family.”

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, Bruce Bennett

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“On a personal level, this film tells a fascinating tale. The focus on Scott’s music and electronic experimentation remains strong throughout, thanks to an eclectic roster of musicians and scholars including JOHN WILLIAMS, JEFF E. WINNER, MARK MOTHERSBAUGH, and DJ SPOOKY.”

VARIETY, Ronnie Scheib

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“A beautiful, personal look back on the man’s career;  it’s essential viewing.”

TIME OUT NEW YORK, Bruce Tantum

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“Personal discoveries, never-before-seen archival footage, and in-depth insights from a range of historians and collaborators shed light on one of the most intriguing composers and musical innovators of the 20th century.”

WIRED magazine, Geeta Dayal

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“Undeniably poignant, providing plenty of fascinating details.”

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, Frank Scheck

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“Pays lavish tribute to the work of Raymond Scott.”  

NEW YORK POST, Lou Lumenick

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“Informative and entertaining, it tells a loving, resonant story of an American original.”

HUFFINGTON POST, Regina Weinreich

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“A work of careful consideration, moral weighing, and deliberateness of craft.”

SLANT magazine, Kalvin Henely

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“It is a fascinating primer on Scott’s work. A portrait of Scott as a multi-hyphenate musical prodigy.”

VILLAGE VOICE, Simon Abrams

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“Heartfelt and illuminating. Such honesty and pure, unadulterated compassion are rare traits in documentaries, so that makes it all the more extraordinary.”

NYC MOVIE GURU, Avi Offer

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“The film ignites interest in anyone who sees it.”

—WNYC, Leonard Lopate

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“Takes us into the enormous Raymond Scott archives, fascinating not just because of what they hold, but by their sheer scope and magnitude. Though the tone of this documentary is frank, it is mostly good-natured, revelatory and celebratory.”
★★★★ (4-Star Review)

—SPECTRUM CULTURE, Stacia Kissick Jones

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“An offbeat, intimate documentary.”

NEW YORK magazine

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“A beautifully-produced testament to the legacy of an extremely brilliant musician and innovator. It scarcely seems possible that this much genius was crammed into a single brain, but this film captures it all in glorious detail. It all adds up to a 98-minute viewing experience that at times finds one awestruck. It’s a safe bet that, pending eligibility, a much-deserved Oscar nomination is just around the corner. By all means, SEE THIS FILM!”

NITELIFE EXCHANGE, Andrew Martin

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“An enthralling, poignant film that tells the story of a truly pivotal figure in 20th-century music. An essential view inside the wonders of creative genius, American-style.”

LA WEEKLYJohn Payne

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“A very powerful, honest, direct, and personal documentary film.”

NPRRadio Times, Marty Moss-Coane

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“A fascinating look at a musical genius and the way he lived his life. This absorbing, highly personal documentary is well worth checking out. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

LEONARD MALTIN, film critic, historian, and author

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“Raymond Scott isn’t a fascinating figure to tech-heads and crate-diggers alone — to this day, he continues to mystify even his own son, a veteran filmmaker. Through interviews with the likes of MARK MOTHERSBAUGH and JOHN WILLIAMS — as well as his own family members — the younger Warnow pieces together a portrait of an artist neither he nor his father’s fans fully understand.”

THE ONION AV Club

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“In a bittersweet paean to his late father, the director has taken great pains assembling a visual and aural composite of his subject. The insights afforded by Raymond Scott’s own son add shades of intrigue and pathos not found in the average music documentary.”

THE WIRE magazine, Erik Morse

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“Quirky and consistently engaging documentary. Packed with archive footage and interviews, it combines biography with a more personal take on a father/son relationship strained by the father’s obsession with his work.”
★★★★ (4-Star Review)

RECORD COLLECTOR magazine, Mark Brend

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“Essential viewing — directed by Raymond Scott’s son, working with co-producer JEFF E. WINNER — I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s as alive as Scott’s music, which punctuates and graces every passage, personal and professional. It’s an astonishing, entertaining, and absolutely mesmerizing film, and one rewarding repeat viewings.”

MYRANTStephen R. Bissette

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“I attended the ALL TOMORROW’S PARTIES screening of this superb documentary. The story of this mercurial and unparalleled genius is told with great intimacy. I strongly recommend checking this film out, whether you’re interested in early electronic music or not.”

TINY MIX TAPES

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“A must for lovers of music, gadgets, and personalities.”

IOWAHAWKDavid Burge

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“Raymond Scott’s endlessly fascinating life and ideas are so well showcased by his filmmaker son. The emotional dimension adds extra weight to Warnow’s doc, as does his connecting with the growing legion of Scott devotees out there, a smart, fun, quirky bunch of music geeks who have thoroughly archived and exposed the man’s body of work.”

MONTREAL MIRROR

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“I thought I knew a lot about Raymond Scott, yet I found myself deeply engaged in the story. This movie really affected me. I can’t explain the many feelings this film has stirred-up. I don’t feel the same since. It truly is a remarkable film. Easily one of the best I have seen in years. A must-see.”

SYNTH-MEJack Hertz

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“Raymond Scott’s son, who directed this terrific documentary, saw little of his father who was always working. But later he ran into fans of Scott’s music and technologies, and he created this exploration of his father’s life and work. He attempted in this film to achieve a closeness with his dad that he never got during his life.”
★★★★★ (5-Star Review)

 AUDIOPHILE AUDITIONJohn Sunier

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“The achievement of this film is particularly admirable in its impartiality. For a father who described microphones like microscopes — tools for stripping something down to its basic structure — Warnow utilizes film similarly. As fascinating and visionary as Raymond Scott is, the real beauty of this account is that of a son getting to know his dad retrospectively, showing the acceptance and compassion only time can bring.”

THE CINESKINNY, Juliet Buchan

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“A fascinating documentary, an emotionally rich, aural and visual tapestry of Raymond Scott’s visionary career. As a music doc, it has far more personal feeling than most, as Warnow invites us on his own bittersweet quest to understand his father.”

THE MMIXDOWN

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“A great, personal music doc.”

SEE IT LOUD, Andy Markowitz

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

DECONSTRUCTING DAD is exactly what the title suggests, a very personal and inquisitive look into a son’s search for his father’s love, which in the end, he realized he had all the time. Truly gives a full spectrum of the musician, leaving you excited about the music and wanting more. Very touching and extremely intriguing. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!”

DOWNTOWN MUSIC GALLERY, Chuck Bettis

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“Thank you so much for bringing your wonderful DVD of the life and works of Raymond Scott to light. It brought remembrances to me that were touching, and your portrayal of Raymond the man, musician, inventor, ring completely true to my vivid recollections of him. He was a valued friend, and valuable mentor, whose intelligence and musicality I miss to this day.”

Thomas L. Rhea, Ph.D, BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

DECONSTRUCTING DAD is crammed with Raymond Scott’s remarkable performances and helped me to place his work in a much broader context. The film offers the curious insight that in the 1930s and 1940s, Scott sought to develop a style of jazz which was highly rehearsed and carefully scored, allowing limited room for improvisation, whereas in the 1950s and 1960s, he ceded far more control of his compositions over to his digital tools, foreshadowing John Cage and others in his fascination with chance in composition.”

Henry Jenkins, Author & Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts at the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Viewer Reactions

This was such an extraordinary film. The complexities of Raymond Scott, his life, his many and varied accomplishments, his musical and technological genius and his layered and strained relationships with his family all make for a compelling, fascinating story of a remarkable man.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

It was really wonderful. Not only did I learn a lot about music (I have a BA and scholarships from Berklee College of Music) and not only did I learn a lot about film history, but this documentary had off the beaten path insights on family as well. I’m still thinking about it days later. Good sign. Highly highly recommend.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“This is an astonishingly rich documentary on the incredible life of Raymond Scott, musical genius and electronic instrument pioneer. Catnip for pop culture geeks!”

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“Brilliant, highly highly enjoyable movie! I would recommend it to ANYONE involved in the arts. This is the embodiment of a man who has done pretty much nothing but good work, yet his name for so long was washed away by history.”

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“And it’s awesome. I’m wading through the extras now and can recommend this DVD highly.
”

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“Received Friday. Watching it for the second time and came on here to order for my (ex!) father in law, lute maker, musician. I’ll watch it again when I can — on deadline right now, but this is so rich and inspirational. Rock on Warnow family. P. S. I think there is material for a part 2.”

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

‎”DECONSTRUCTING DAD is both a personal father-son narrative without being yucky, and an overview of Scott’s life and work that’s not rote retrospection. It’s totally worth seeking out.”

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“Joyous days!”

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“Great film!!!, I love it. I’ve done, as far as I know, the first review of the DECONSTRUCTING DAD DVD in Spanish on my blog.
”

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

“I received the DVD yesterday and watched it this morning — really fascinating film, all the way through. Great job putting it together! I loved it.”

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

9 responses

8 01 2011
Jodi Lucas

I was thrilled last night to help program and present Deconstructing Dad at our experimental sound-art and new media festival, Soundasaurus, where not only, we were lucky enough to have Stan Warnow and his lovely wife join us from NYC, but we were able to display the Clavivox seen in the film, through the generosity of some of our local Calgarian music partners. One of the best parts about it was watching it with an enthusiastic audience, and listening to them discover Raymond Scott for themselves. This film is a treasure and joy to experience.
Jodi Lucas
Programming Coordinator
Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts
Calgary, AB, Canada

24 02 2011
Martin Johnstone

Very much enjoyed the screening at Glasgow Film Festival and the preceding live set by Stu Brown’s Stextet. You really felt like you were getting to know the man behind the music just as his film-maker son had intended. Look forward to owning and rewatching the DVD.

21 03 2011
Amy Thyr

I finally got to see Deconstructing Dad this past weekend at the Sebastopol Film Festival. I’m a long time admirer and fan of Raymond Scott and was very interested in seeing not only a film about him and his music and inventions but a more personal, private side. His son Stan Warnow made the film as a way to finally get to know his dad since he wasn’t in his son’s life much before he died. The film was an in-depth look at Scott’s musical career and how his personal life seemed to “tag along.”

I was aware of the vast amount of work Scott had done and the crazy genius that inspired the creation of so many electronic technologies, compositions, and conceptual sound ideas – all far ahead of their time, many still to this day. But after having all of this information presented to me in the film, I realized that what I was seeing was just scratching the surface of Raymond Scott. But it also made me realize just how difficult it must have been for his son to really know a man like this, even if he had done the fatherly things a father is supposed to do. I also found it interesting in the similarities I saw with Raymond Scott and his son Stan. Raymond was terribly shy, which you see clearly in one part of the film where he is speaking in front of a TV camera. Stan Warnow also had a part in the film where his son turned the camera on him and was interviewing his father. Stan seemed to hate every minute of it and you could tell he wanted nothing to do with being in front of the camera. Even during the Q&A portion after the film, though he spoke eloquently, he did seem a bit uncomfortable up in the front of everyone, alone.

Such an interesting piece of work, many levels of history, personal soul searching, dysfunctional family relations…all put together as an entertaining, extremely informative, and exceptional piece of film work.

11 07 2011
Gail Robinson

Stan set out on a mission to make the world aware of his father’s music, inventions, and accomplishments; lest this brilliant composer and inventor, leave this world without recognition. He has done an outstanding job! He immersed himself totally for the last several years to complete the award winning documentary and travels the world to share his father’s story. Mission accomplished!

13 07 2011
Stan Warnow

Hi Gail–thanks so much for your kind words! Much appreciated….Stan

6 10 2011
Stephen Cooke

Seeing your film and chatting afterwards was a highlight of my weekend at All Tomorrow’s Parties in Asbury Park. So glad to get some more insight into one of my favourite musical innovators, and pick up a copy of the film on DVD to boot (I’ve already watched it once more since getting home). Good luck with the film as it continues to find its audience!

6 10 2011
Stan Warnow

Hey Stephen, great meeting you, and glad you’re enjoying the film. Thanks again for your support….
Stan W.

5 10 2012
Rob Holland

Hi Stan,
Just wanted to say I’m looking forward to watching – just ordered the DVD.
Also, my father, the late Milton Holland played drums with your dad in the Orchestra on the road, recording and “.. January ’41 at the Strand Theatre on B’way, NYC. … 4 to 7 shows a day with rehearsals in between at Nola Studios. ..”
according to his memoires.
(I think we were in contact a couple of years ago but I’m sure you were quite busy. )
Feel free to contact me about photos I have from his archives.
Best, Rob Holland (tique2@mindspring.com)

13 11 2012
Marsha Demas

Good Evening Stan,
I was looking around for some archived photos of my father Dick Mains who played with The Raymond Scott Quintet and came across your site. Perhaps you can assist me. They were the ones that cut Ectoplasm 1948-1949 and my father was their jazz trumpet player. I have only one photo of them at the Rag Doll in Chicago.
I’ll be looking around further at your site here. Raymond Scott was a genius and ahead of his time as well!

Sincerely,
Marsha Mains Demas

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