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Soundtracker (2010)

Gordon Hempton , Nicholas Sherman  |  NR |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Price: $37.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Soundtracker + One Square Inch of Silence: One Man's Quest to Preserve Quiet
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Product Details

  • Actors: Gordon Hempton
  • Directors: Nicholas Sherman
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: IndiePix Films
  • DVD Release Date: August 17, 2010
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003QU1J4W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #309,946 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Soundtracker" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

There are very few places of quiet left in the United States. For the past thirty years, Emmy Award-winning nature sound recordist, Gordon Hempton, has made it his life s mission to find and record these places before they are gone completely. SOUNDTRACKER follows Gordon on the road and into the wilderness as he travels throughout America s West in search of these quiet places. Unwilling to give up when the noise of civilization intrudes upon his every recording, his quest takes on new dimensions as he begins to search for a different kind of sound that captures his imagination and the spirit of America. Shot throughout the Pacific Northwest and sound-mixed to incorporate Gordon s own pristine binaural recordings, SOUNDTRACKER explores the sounds and the soul of an uncompromising artist.


This is a remarkable journey: a quest for imperiled Nature by an artist who never stopped listening. --Ken Burns

The beautifully shot film follows Hempton for a month as he obsessively tries to capture a specific sound recording in nature... --Basil Tsiokos, IndieWIRE

Gordon Hempton brings new meaning to the word purist. He meticulously scouts out sites for his soundscapes... Hempton is totally in touch with his environment as a listener, and he is committed to bringing what he hears to a wider audience. --Smithsonian

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, Great DVD, Tons of Special Features July 28, 2010
I may be biased (I directed the film) but I'm thrilled to see it on Amazon and couldn't be happier with how the DVD turned out. I love just playing the 60 minute audio recording that comes as a special makes forget I'm stuck in the city and makes me feel like I'm out in the wilderness again, waking up early for another day of following Gordon on the road.
I think you'll like the film, too!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very thought provoking and beautifully done! August 30, 2010
A beautifully shot look at a very complex and passionate man and his quest to save the sounds of nature. At the very least this film should make you aware (or remind you) that we all, as a society, are constantly making trade offs in the name of convenience, profit, comfort, etc. Definitely worth a look!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am the Soundtracker October 5, 2011
Well, what is it like to see a movie about yourself for the first time at a film festival? Ten minutes into the film, I thought, "This guy is crazy!" Yet, it was me. Undeniably me. Nick Sherman, the producer, never asked me to do anything--he is a true documentary film maker. Reminded me of someone who makes true nature documentaries with wildlife not trained animals. He slept on the ground wherever we ground to a halt at the end of the day--sometimes with frost over his sleeping bag in the morning and without coffee or breakfast. Yes, I have a passion for sound, most of all for the sound "about to be heard," so clearly felt and imagined, but not yet real. I feel that this movie is rare, not because of my passion--many have it--but because of the dedication that Nick Sherman showed to complete the movie on a shoestring budget and share the human spirit of compassion. Buy this DVD and support a true filmmaker!
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3.0 out of 5 stars At times compelling, at times just boring December 14, 2012
I was browsing the documentary film section at my local library the other day for something good to watch, and fell upon this. Didn't know too much about the movie but I took a flyer on it anyway.

"Soundtracker: A Portrait of Gordon Hempton" (2010 release; 82 min.) is titled very appropriately, as the film-maker visits with Hempton on a month-long trip in mostly the Northwest, and brings a protrait of Hempton. As is noted in all official releases, Hempton is an Emmy Award winning nature sound recorder (in fact at one point in the movie when filming in Hempton's office, we see the award sitting on a shelf). Once we get an understanding what Hempton does (he goes out to record the sounds of nature mostly, but also other outdoor sounds such as trains, which Hempton seems to love), the movie just follows him around, and at time nothing much happens. But then at other times, when the visuals of the movie work great, the movie does become quite compelling, almost hypnotic in a way. Lots has been said and written about Hempton himself (we see him getting visibly annoyed and outright upset when yet another plane flying over is "ruining" his nature recording). I couldn't help but thinking that it blows the mind that this guy has been doing this for 20+ years, you might think that at some point one would get tired of doing this, but apparently not).

In all, this is definitely not your run-of-the-mill nature documentary. Even though nature plays a big role in this, the documentary is more about the man (Gordon Hemtpon) than nature as such. I wouldn't out this on my "must see at all costs" list, but if you have some free time and are looking for something to watch, give this a shot.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Portrait of a Phonographer July 9, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This documentary is basically just a cameraman following Gordon Hempton around for a month as he makes one of his periodic forays into the world to record natural sounds (a process known as "phonography," the sound equivalent of photography). The cinematographer, Martin Dicicco, does a fabulous job of capturing the majestic beauty and stillness of these places, while leaving room for Hempton to explain himself and his "mission." This film must be listened to on headphones, because director Nick Sherman (with a little aid from Hempton) fills each moment with luscious binaural recordings of the sounds that drive Hempton's journey.

It is a feast for the ears and eyes.

Of course, Hempton is obsessed. He looks up in disgust at every airplane that flies over, he talks incessantly about engine noise, he carries a dB meter with him everywhere he goes. As in his book, One Square Inch of Silence: One Man's Quest to Preserve Quiet, he comes across as a single-issue crank. In one of the deleted scenes he is shown poring over an FAA map of plane routes, wondering aloud why air traffic isn't routed away from national parks. Apparently it makes perfect sense to him that the air travel industry should rearrange itself so that he can make uninterrupted recordings.

His need to make recordings devoid of human noise, under often difficult conditions and against all odds, reminds me of the borderline mental illness of Andy Goldsworthy's Rivers & Tides where artwork is created to be destroyed.
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