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Music Video Distributors presents
3LUX: The DVD Collection (2001)

"PROPER PLAYBACK ACHIEVED ONLY AT HIGH VOLUMES"
- introductory text

Review By: Dan Lopez   
Published: March 21, 2002

Director: Various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (some minor nudity in some of the video loops)
Run Time: 03h:45m:00s
Release Date: December 04, 2001
Genre: music


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ A-B-C+ D-

DVD Review

The 3LUX series of videos was primarily the result of the techno/rave culture emerging all around the world in the late 1980s/early 1990s. In clubs, the constant beats and heavily mixed rhythms of the genre were often accompanied by frenzied video installations that would show loops of all sorts, from random computer-generated art to repeated film clips. It soon became a 'cult' phenomena to produce the aural and visual experience together in an artistic manner, creating a total club environment. Of course, many people interpreted this movement as a sort of modern psychedelic revival, in which the music and visions would be experienced as a "high," although drug culture did intervene on its own. Regardless of what you think of the whole scene, it inarguably inspired a generation of "basement" artists, struggling to create entertaining and effective video loops for the perfect tune, or vice-versa.Although a lot of artists added a great deal of legitimacy to these concepts, one of the first videos to actually treat this whole genre with respect were the 3LUX compilations, which took actual dancefloor/chill-out club playlists and placed them with visual collages, mostly made by uncredited artists working on PCs and video consoles. It was raw, homebrewed video installation which, honestly, makes it a bit more entertaining than the commonplace videos of this type nowadays (the series has continued as XMIX). This DVD includes the original 3 volumes of 3LUX, presented on one disc. While the first two are primarily upbeat/dance compilations, Volume 3 is more distinctly ambient in mode, harkening back to when most good nightclubs had "chill-out" rooms, where the atmosphere was geared towards meditative relaxation rather than dancefloor madness. Obviously, this disc has many ways in which it can be enjoyed. You can just watch, entranced by the experience; keep it running in the background as a sort of video-art piece, or just listen to the audio, which alone makes a good compilation of early 1990s electronic music. Now, most of the musicians on this disc are the kind of one-hit-wonder DJs and mixers that this movement tended to kick up, but that doesn't really effect the overall quality.There's some decent electronic music here. F.U.S.E. makes an appearance on 3LUX1, better known as Ritchie Hawtin (a.k.a. Plastikman), with one of my favorite of his songs, Substance Abuse. A richer tapestry is found on 3LUX3, including works by two of my favorite musical acts, Aphex Twin and The Orb. Listeners can also hear early works by Sven Všth and The Arpeggiators. Obviously there's no story or dramatics here; it's just a variety of images set to the music, often in time to the beats, which is an impressive feat. In modern compilations like this, I've noticed a tendency for the artists to get hung up on computer graphics and over-stylize the whole affair. Here, though, the videos are made from many sources and have a unique quality to them; I feel more effort and passion from these works than I do with similar material that's newer. In an age where we see music videos virtually becoming as expensive as motion pictures, there's a simplicity here that seems much more powerful. It also sends home the message that this music is intended to be felt and experienced; something more than just passively listened to. Whether or not that will happen with all viewers is debatable, but it's worth a try.Here are the complete playlists for each volume (title/artist), as listed by Stud!o K7, the original creators and publishers of the VHS volumes. These may or may not be 100% accurate; the chapters are not listed by song and it's hard to separate them out. However, the song credits do seem to back this list up.3LUX 1: Solid Session/FormatCosmic/Love Resistance DPure/Climax Overnite Which way are you going?/Neutron 9000Ki-Oha Girl/Neutron 9000Phobia/PhobiaTechnoflyer Unlimited/SpiceCosmic Cubes/Cosmic BabyBass Movement/Phantasm Liquid Exit/100 Substance Abuse/F.U.S.E.Call of the Huichol/S.M.I.L.E Psychic Complexx/Turntable Hoshies Equilibrium/Evolution Primitizer/Hypernature Underground/Mixmaster Morris Digital Bubblebath/S.M.I.L.E 3LUX 2: Intro/X102 Shades/House of Usher Trance Mission/Morgen Wild Project Reckless/Format Qualification/Jim Clarke Bird Rave/Time Warp Survival of the Trippest/FX Creators Sparkling Sun/Evolution Smoke my dang along/E-Rection King Snake/Alec Empire Bounce Back/Dave Angel Perfect Day/The Visions Of Shiva Eirbass/S.M.I.L.E Cosmic Evolution/Microbots Freedom of Expression/Arpeggiators 3LUX3: Freezer AC1/Voov Trip from Mars/Escape Omid/Hope Silence Caravan of Emotions/Sven Všth Sub-Marine/Evolution Mihon #2/Ongaku Paradise/Atlantis Drawn/Heart of Space DDR/Voov Trip/Silence Shotkeya/Aphex Twin Cloudwalker/Biosphere Towers of Dub/The Orb

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Although the source video seems to be analog (including a few tracking errors here and there), it doesn't actually effect the program very much. While the quality of the various clips and videos varies, in general, they look fine with no compression or transfer problems. Occasionally, the image gets very grainy or heavily distorted, but it's all part of the source and how the videos were originally made. There are really no complaints here.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
PCMEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Presented in presumably PCM stereo, the audio is about compact disc quality and fits the program well. It isn't perfect; there's some crackles and pops that seem unnatural, but they're only audible at high-volumes or when using headphones. The pure stereo nature of the audio makes it fairly malleable; you can alter it with soundfields or 3D effects to create a suitable, satisfactory environment for yourself. If I have a complaint, it would be that the frequency range seems pretty limited, which brings the grade down. Often, there will be deep bass or low-frequency synths that just come across as distorted and off-pitch, having nothing to do with my speakers—it just doesn't push the sound out very well on some occasions.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 25 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Though entertaining, 3LUX does have some disappointing aspects. The main reason for this is, on top of not having any supplements at all, the presentation is so bare-minimum, it really effects interaction with the disc. Other than a single menu from which you select one of the three 3LUX volumes, there is no other interface; no menu access to chapters or menu-based track listing. Separating each song seems the logical thing to do, and I'm unsure why the division is so random and chaotic. I also had a few problems with the disc itself. While it may have no bearing on the actual, produced copies of 3LUX DVD Collection, the screener copy I received did not playback properly without a little coaxing. To begin with, the audio seems to be PCM stereo, which would only properly playback in pure PCM mode. Assuming the actual disc is mastered this way, a lot of people might be confused how to get sound from the disc. Occasionally the video would not play properly, as well. The audio was fine, but the video was completely scrambled (and this was not the style of the video, it was a technical issue). Stopping and starting the disc helped, but it was still an occasional issue. I tried different players, and seemed to have the same problems on another, newer model Toshiba, but it played without any problems on my Playstation 2 (with the original drivers), so take that for what it's worth. None of these problems occured at all with 3LUX3, which leads me to suspect a disc-based problem, in which case, the production version will probably have no issues.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

Most places I've seen are selling 3LUX DVD Collection for less than an averageCD, yet you get nearly 4 hours of good music and interesting visuals to accompany it. Inmy opinion, even casual fans of this genre can find a good value in that. It is a nice pieceof work to own, but the minimalist presentation will be the flaw that mars this otherwisegreat music video collection.

 


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