Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Me, browsing the new releases.
Shrinkwrap sticker: “Limited edition with bonus DVD.”
Me: “But of course.”

Aren’t record companies clever these days, with their strategies to get us to buy their product? Well, they are. They’ve sure seen me coming lately.

Here are a couple recent purchases with audio/visual bonuses.

Mogwai—Mr. Beast
It comes in a nice hardbound case displaying Emily Carr grad Amanda Church’s art in its jizz-splattered glory. It's a great album—heavy metal mood music and ominous post-rock jamming in 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 minute bursts. I’ve never been disappointed by a Mogwai album, though I admit I don’t revisit them often after the new-purchase honeymoon. The bonus 40-minute DVD is a fractured document of the album’s recording whose main aim seems to be demystification. Band members take turns answering questions (What’s the worst part about being in a band? “Trying to make up music. That’s hard”), lounging around on couches playing with their laptops, and laying down tracks. Brief and underwhelming live clips interrupt the studio footage. I pride myself on being able to decipher all varieties of accented English, but I’ll admit I wished for subtitles to clarify the Scottish mumbling at certain points. This special edition was worth the extra few bucks, as it’s saved me the $25 that I’d have spent on a ticket to their upcoming gig if I hadn’t watched this DVD first.

The Devin Townsend Band—Synchestra
Having received two promo copies of this marvelous album, I felt duty-bound to buy the fanciest legitimate copy I could. This one comes with a live-in-the-studio DVD featuring the guys running through the DTB back catalogue, augmented visually with a lot of split-screen effects and what looks like the iTunes visualizer fading in and out of the picture. Low budget, for sure, but the execution is in medium-to-good taste. The studio set lasts about an hour. The sound is pristine, and the band rock out mightily, proving that Devin’s multi-layered orchestrations are very reproducible live. Drummer Ryan Van Poederooyen in particular puts on a clinic. It must have been nerve-wracking for the band to subject themselves to such an up-close, multi-camera shoot. There’s also a video for the song “Storm” off Accelerated Evolution, a Devin-guided tour around Armoury Studios (where the live set was shot), and a DTB-on-tour segment. Professional and impressive, this is well worth the extra 10 or so bucks if you’re a fan.

1 comment:

FredCQ said...

I haven't checked out that DTB release yet. I will have to put that on my list. I just picked up:

Big Black/Songs About Fucking

I would have picked up more stuff but Tower records has a crappy selection. Still, I was kind of surprised that they had the Witchcraft CD.