Synopsis by Mark Deming
In the mid- to late '70s, the punk rock explosion found a growing number of young musicians throwing off the constraints of big-budget production and faux glamour as they struggled to bring rock & roll back to its rebellious roots. However, as the lessons of punk began to sink in, another breed of musicians took off in a new and different direction and threw off the hegemony of the electric guitar in pop music, embracing electronic synthesizers which were cheap, easy to play, and presented a whole new aural spectrum. Sheffield, a British community east of Manchester, became a hotbed of the new synth-pop scene in the early '80s, and the Sheffield scene spawned some of the very biggest acts of the day, including the Human League, ABC, Heaven 17, and Cabaret Voltaire. Made in Sheffield: The Birth of Electronic Pop is a documentary which charts the rise and fall of the town's electronic music scene, featuring interviews with musicians, writers, DJs, label chiefs, and noted fans. Participants include Phil Oakey, Martyn Ware, Ian Marsh, Jarvis Cocker, and John Peel.