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Music Video Distributors presents
Global Underground: Transmission 00:1 [Getting Away With It] (2000)

"It's funny to think I get to fly to great locations all over the world and play music I love and get paid for it."
- Dave Seaman

Review By: Dan Lopez   
Published: May 10, 2002

Stars: James Todd, Andrew Horsfield, Dave Seaman, Darren Emerson
Other Stars: Anthony Pappa, Sasha
Director: George Stamkosky

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (language, some nudity)
Run Time: 01h:30m:00s
Release Date: December 04, 2001
Genre: documentary


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

DVD Review

Within the last 10 years or so, the global dance music scene has encountered not only a huge increase in its audience, but has also seen a cult of celebrity absorb its best DJs into a category that's pretty much all their own. Far beyond anything that had come before, the vinyl-spinners from this movement are treated almost like gods in some circles. Like in any musical genre, though, there's good and bad, and two lads from Newcastle, England thought they'd put together a record label that would specialize in showcasing the best. James Todd and Andy Horsfield are the founders of the Global Underground label and its series of DJ-based compilation discs. Admittedly, I've never been a fan of making DJs out to be just as big as the actual musicians; I've always felt it belittles the individuals who actually make the music, rather than just play it in a club. I'll concede it takes skill and talent to create a good, solid, 2-hour-plus dance mix for an audience with a voracious appetite for the music, but by the same token, the guys are still just DJs. Global Underground, as a project, is admirable, as it seeks to offer people mixes of a much higher quality than the typical, mainstream, commercially-minded dance mixes, which often only showcase a very limited segment of the genre.

The documentary, Global Underground Transmission 00:1 invites the viewer to look into what exactly makes the whole scene tick, and gives insight into the work and lives of James and Andy. Superbly filmed and paced, Transmission is best described as allowing the audience to simply go along for the ride while the pair go around the world, meeting up with DJs to record their club sets for potential, future projects. The film features visits with DJs Dave Seaman, Anthony Pappa, Sasha, and Darren Emerson, formerly of the group Underworld. It shows how the whole thing works and how James and Andy handle the general business end of things. Don't be worried, though, if it seems like they're not working too hard. As the subtitle "Getting Away With It" suggests, it's a job that seems more like a permanent vacation rather than anything else.

As we follow them around the world to infamous club locations like Buenos Aires, Budapest, and Ibiza, we also get some good interview and discussion material from the DJs themselves. Perhaps one of the most well-presented themes in the show is how many of the locations to which Global Underground travels are places known for their problematic histories; where politics have created wars and oppression, yet all that melts away under the banner of simply bringing music to the people, creating a small, but effective form of "peace." In places like Tel Aviv, where unrest and civil problems are the cause of hatred between all sorts of classes and religions, the DJs are priveliged to enter a different level of the culture where none of that matters and people just want to enjoy themselves. As such, it's hard to feel critical of these guys, even if the celebrity status of the DJs is a little overblown.

Transmission manages to really showcase the core of the Global Underground movement, and thanks to fact that its creators are so charismatic and funny, the journey with them is quite enjoyable. The DJs are also a pleasant presence in the movie; never coming across as pretentious or elitist, they just seem to be somewhat bewildered by the size of the scene they're in. In the end, the result of this 50-minute program is a solid, entertaining, and fun look at what makes the Global Underground label tick, offering the kind of friendly, personal glimpse into a "subculture", if you will, that outsiders are rarely treated to in such a manner.

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

 

Image Transfer

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


Image Transfer Review: Filmed mostly on 1:33:1 home video, Transmission 00:1 seems to run at a fairly high bit-rate with low compression, so there's really little in the way of artifacts or other transfer problems. The image seemed a little dark, so boosting your TV settings might be in order, but otherwise, it's a clean, colorful picture with no issues.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: A stereo mix compliments the basic format of the program, as there's little in the way of activity; most of the program is dialogue. A constant soundtrack is present, however, and when that is the sole-focus of the audio, the selections (presumably from Global Underground CDs) are nicely rendered and very clean and crisp. For what it needs to be, the audio is more than adequate, and quite deep.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 8 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: Super Jewel Box
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Additional DJ interviews.
  2. Short film "Traveling The World At The Speed Of Sound"
Extras Review: Additional features include more interviews with Sasha, Dave Seaman, and Danny Tenaglia, seemingly taken from leftover footage from the documentary. There is a short film called Traveling the World at the Speed of Sound, which is basically all sorts of footage from around the globe accompanied by various selections of music (it has no dialogue). I'm not sure about the actual street production version of Transmission, but the version I screened contained both PAL and NTSC versions with Region 0 encoding. It took a few tries to get the NTSC side to be recognize as such before it succeeded. English subtitles seem to switch on automatically (perhaps because of the thick accents in the program), but I wouldn't recommend using them. While the heavy English, Scottish, and other accents can be a little difficult to get through for some, the subtitles badly compress the dialogue.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

Transmission 00:1 is an excellent documentary that charts the course that the Global Underground label wants to take in the future. The impact they've had on music has been sizable, and has certainly raised the bar for similar labels and DJ-oriented projects all around the world. I'd say it's definitely a must-see for anyone who's listened to the G.U. CDs or been interesting in their performers. The recently released sampler, Locations makes a very solid buy for those curious about this whole Global Underground thing as the price is around $7-8; far less than the average CD and much less then the more sizable G.U. compilations.

 


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