Wednesday, March 29, 2006

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

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:

Witchcraft/Firewood
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.