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"all you can eat DVD."
DVD ReviewSection 1: BANDWIDTH
I. Band: XTC
This section begins with the original trailer for Stanley Kubricks' The Shining, which is quite cool. When we meet up with XTC Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding are getting a haircut while discussing their nonchalant approach to music. Andy P. looks like he got a hair cut yesterday but this barber makes it clear that he will cut and comb his hair until this interview is absolutely over! As for their creative approach, XTC tends to lay down their favorite notes and then add a few horns and lyrics to the mix. You know, whatever sounds good in the studio. The new album has a sort of acoustic sound to it; XTC likes their music to be fresh, always changing. XTC also tells us that their average audience member is 20 to 55 year old Japanese females—and tattoo artists as their occupation. And just in case you were wondering...this is the first time the band ever played the guitar while getting there shoes shined.
II. Band: Rufus Wainwright
Never heard of him? Well, neither had I, but that's all right because this is his debut album. At 17 months old young little Rufus was able to sing Old McDonald had a Farm in tune with his mother, and as such, was surrounded by music as a kid. His mother plays piano, his father plays guitar, and his sister Martha sings also. IMHO, Rufus sounds eerily like Billy Joel, although he does have a stage presence. His father taught him at an early age how to grab an audience—or maybe it's got to do with the loud, bright, colorful sweaters he tends to wear. At age 14 Rufus wrote a song for a soundtrack his mother was doing, which was nominated for Canada's version of our Grammy's. His music seems a bit all over the place and after watching the video April Fools it's apparent that this guy has a thing for women of Asian descent (who would probably rather be with XTC instead!!)
III. Band: DJ Spooky
The turn table wizard speaks. HipHop has been very, very good to this cat. He has been around the world performing his craft and seems to love what he does. Spooky talks about the differences between performing live shows and creating in a studio, the latter in which Spooky feels a little stifled—being, as he sees it—a simulated world. Any sound can be duplicated in the studio. He prefers to work live so he can see the reaction of the many teenagers in baggy jeans and backpacks. I have never seen Spooky perform although he has hit Chicago once or twice. He surrounds himself with turntables, huge speakers, drums and some other instruments that I've never even seen before. What is HipHop evolving into? Spooky collects lots of music and likes to create sounds in either a countryside type atmosphere or a dense urban location. (What other type of environments are there?!) Spooky also speaks on how New York affects his production. This guy wants to take HipHop to (or electronic music as he sometimes calls it) to the edge of the universe and back. Good Luck!
Section 2. SOUNDTRACK
Interview: SLC Punk director, James Merendino
This section begins with a way too cool Butterfinger commercial starring Bart Simpson. The interview begins with Merendino relaying to the audience about the music he picked for his movie about punk rock culture in Salt Lake City, Utah. Most of the music was picked for the film before the film was even finished. I never understood the Punk culture and obviously neither do the parents of the kids in this movie. "So why do you go out of your way to look like a bum," one of the parents ask. I might ask the same question. James seems perturbed by the attention other films have gotten as opposed to his—specifically Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Breakfast Club, neither of which he feels accurately portray the Punk culture scene. In other words, if you aren't making a film about a handicapped Jewish Black woman climbing a mountain then nobody seems to care, he thinks. But Merendino likes to go against the grain, creating independent films that challenge Hollywood. Well, if the film is half as funny as the bits shown in the interview, it's probably worth the price of admission.
Section 4. FRONT ROW
I. Band: The ROOTS
Live at the House of Blues, the premier live HipHop band of the world, The Roots, come alive in LaLa Land. Synthesizers, drums, human beatbox, and vocals by Black Thought. Can you say breath control? Well Black Thought can not only rock a show nonstop underneath hot lights and all, but you can actually understand his every enunciation. Not too many MC's can duplicate that in live shows. The concert looks like it was a blast, but unfortunately we only get a peek at two songs. The Roots do live shows like no one else and this DVD gives you the option of looking at it from three different camera angles. In 1995 the Roots dropped their debut album Do Ya Want More, and they haven't stopped performing since. This section includes an interview with bassist Lenard Hubbert, who speaks candidly about the group and the freedom they enjoy in the business. The Roots, for example, are one of the few groups that don't even need a hit single to go on tour. Both HipHop's and The Roots' influence extends around the world to Europe,Japan and Germany. He also informs us that racism is at its worst here in the good old US of A, causing many artist to leave the US to continue their work abroad...and that the Roots may not be far behind.
Section 5: CREDITS
The graphic designers for this DVD deserve a raise. The optical allusions running while the credits run are thought provoking—all you 60's people will love it! This second edition starts with music playing forward to a subway scene. Just when you thought it was over the music and subway flow backwards. NICE.
Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B-
Image Transfer Review: As always, the image quality differs from piece to piece. The XTC piece is overly bright, nearly washed out. It's near impossible to comment on the purposefully screwed up Wilco interview, with its lines and grainy black-and-white 2.35:1 frame. The newer 1.33:1 commercials are in much better shape than most of the original pieces. The 1.33:1 Rufus Wainwright music video has nice color contrast. The quality of the DJ Spooky section is straight from video, so one can't expect much, but it does suffer greatly from low contrast and large amounts of aliasing distortion. The Sebadoh interview has a nice natural look, but scan lines are overly evident in another 1.33:1 transfer. The SLC Punk 2.35:1 transfer, ironically, may be the worst, because it is fraught with pixelation, scan lines and other MPEG2 artifacts. Basically, a mixed bag of mostly video quality transfers, which is all I'd expect for a music centered magazine.
Image Transfer Grade: B-
Audio Transfer Review: This frankly is a disappointing audio transfer. While all of the interview segments are far better than some others I've listened to in the series (because they lacked the external noise that prevented the dialogue from being easily understood), the music videos and performances are completely flat And center-channel DS2.0—not a single 5.1 mix to be found.
Audio Transfer Grade: C-
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 0 cues and remote access
Extras Grade: C
Final CommentsI found this DVD music magazine to be very informative and entertaining at the same time. Recommended.
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