Circuit 1:4 (1999)
"We're just proving that Scots can't play basketball."- John Disco of Bis.
Stars: Ben Harper, G. Love and Special Sauce, The Afghan Whigs
Other Stars: Robyn Hitchcock, Bis, Mission of Burma, 60 Channels, Luna, Justin Clayton
Manufacturer: Laser Pacific
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (music videos)
Run Time: 01h:46m:00s
Release Date: 1999-12-09
DVD ReviewSection 1: BANDWIDTH
First Artist: Bis.
Directed by Jonathon Stearns.
Scottish band Bis originally became familiar to me when I heard their closing themefor the Powerpuff Girls cartoon some time ago. In this segment, they'replaying basketball at Grand Royal studios, and playing rather badly. Regardless,some interesting interview material gets squeezed in and there's even a few audioclips of Bis tunes.
Second Artist: The Afghan Whigs
Directed by The Afghan Whigs.
This "tour diary" segment is an interesting look into the inner workings of long-timeband Afghan Whigs. I've never been much of a Whigs fan, but this mini-documentary is pretty good. It's shot on home video mostly and isn't anythingvisually spectacular, but it has an honest quality. Some live performance footage isfeatured as well. Whigs fans will no doubt find this a great video.
Third Artist: Ben Harper
Directed by Deverill Wekes.
Ben Harper expresses thoughts on his music in this segment. Sitting in an outdoorsetting, Harper is filmed without much visual flair or special edits. It's a goodsequence that allows you to better understand him, assuming you're not alreadyfamiliar with his work. Accompanying the interview is a video for one of Harper'slatest songs, I Wanna Be Ready and a photo gallery shown like a literalslideshow. Harper has a distinct acoustic rock sound that feels very earnest.
Fourth Artist: Robyn Hitchcock
Directed by Rudolpho.
Robyn Hitchcock performs some acoustic guitar work in the middle of a parking lot. Two songs are featured (Nasa Clapping and Dark Princess) inthis format, and a short interview with Robyn is also added. The interview, however,isn't really music related but rather a collection of weird thoughts. This pretty muchfollows with Robyn's Pink Floyd-esque musical style.
Fifth Artist: Luna
Directed by Mikey Jackson.
For about 6 minutes, we get to see Luna working in a studio environment. Performance footage is blended with interview footage very well and despite theshort length, Luna fans should probably like the look into their views on "corporaterock" and music in general.
Sixth Artist Justin Clayton
Directed by Tara Veneruso
In this segment, Justin Clayton is first interviewed a bit talking about his origins andwork. Afterwards, he performs some acoustic music and then does some moretalking. It's home video style, like much of the other material.
Section 2: FRONT ROW
The Artist: G. Love and Special Sauce
Directed by Jason and Brendan
G. Love performs one song (at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles) live. The videois accompanied by a short interview segment with Garrett Love. The hybridjazz/pop music is definitely a recognizable trademark of these musicians. Fansshould enjoy this short, but well made, segment.
Section 3: IN TUNE
The Artist: 60 Channels
Directed by Lewis and Safian.
60 Channels' How it goes down is the video here. 60 Channels is acollaboration between DJ "The Angel" and various other musicians including TreHardison from Pharcyde. The video features 2 alternate audio tracks, both of whichare commentaries by The Angel and Tre Hardison.
Section 4: UNDERCURRENT
The Artist: Mission of Burma
This segment is an early live performance video of Mission of Burma's This isNot a Photograph. Dating back to 1980, the video shows one of the fewexamples of early 80's American bands that started becoming influenced by Britishbands like Wire and Cabaret Voltaire (in fact, the song sounds very much like late70's CV). There are 2 alternate audio tracks with the bassist and guitarist, respectively.
Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Setting aside different styles of video, the image quality on the disc is consistentlyexcellent throughout. Everything is sharp and clean, and you really have to lookhard to spot compression problems or pixelization. Most of the material on the discwas seemingly shot with standard video cameras, so everything has a uniform lookto it as well.
Image Transfer Grade: B+
|DS 2.0||English (certain videos)||yes|
|English (certain videos)||yes|
Audio Transfer Review: Everything on the disc is presented in Dolby 2.0 Surround except the 60 Channelsvideo and the Ben Harper I Wanna Be Ready video. The 2.0 track hasgood frequency response and the music in this format sounds very positive. The5.1 audio tracks are very well mixed and impressive. The Ben Harper track soundslike he's practically in your living room and the 60 Channels video uses a lot ofprecise sound imaging. The Mission of Burma segment is pretty raw and lacksgood audio, but considering it was a video camera recording made in 1980 I can'treally criticize it.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 0 cues
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Deep Blue Sea, The Shawshank Redemption
- DVD-ROM Weblinks
Extras Grade: C+
Final CommentsCircuit 1:4 feels more like a music magazine to me than 1:1 did. It focusesmore on the bands as musicians and treats itself a little more seriously. Themenuing and graphics are a little easier to navigate through this time around as well. I didn't particularly care for the whole "man joke" presentation of the disc, though,and designing the menus around beer and women in bikini's was a little sophomoricto say the least. If there's anything I could really criticize, it's the lack of choice onthe disc. There's a distinct lack of genres being represented here and I really hopefuture Circuit releases start branching out into all kinds of music, ratherthan this limited scope. Otherwise, the level of coverage and "journalism" on thisdisc is miles above 1:1 fans of this musical scene would do themselves well to pickup 1:4.
Dan Lopez 2000-06-07