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Reviews » Audio Reviews » Blue Man Group: Audio
Blue Man Group: Audio
Other // DVD Audio
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Dvdempire]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted June 29, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:


Although I've never had the pleasure of seeing the Blue Man Group live, I've certainly heard great things about their performance, which, when I've seen it in ads, reminded me somewhat of the "Stomp" performance group, only bluer.

Fans of the group would probably love a DVD containing a filmed "Blue Man" performance, and from what I've seen, that would probably be highly entertaining. Fortunately and unfortunately, this isn't a concert DVD. This is actually a surround-sound version of the group's recent CD, "Audio". Although the box doesn't give much indication what's inside beyond a "This is not a video" warning at the bottom, it's actually a DVD that offers a Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 presentation of the music on one side and a DVD-Audio presentation of the music on the flip side.

The music though, is an often fascinating creation, made from various homemade instruments such as PVC Piping, tubes, gongs, drums and other instruments. The sound is a mixture of rock, a more tribal feeling sound and occasionally, sort of a techno-feel. Not quite all of the tracks worked perfectly for me, but songs like "Rods and Cones" has the Blue Men getting together to hit a perfect rhythm. Overall, I really enjoyed the songs a great deal and although I'm sure it's not equal to the experience of seeing Blue Men live, this DVD provides a fantastically entertaining surround-sound presentation of their CD "Audio".

Tracks: Mandelgroove, PVC IV, TV Song, Synaesthetic, Utne, Rods and Cones, Tension 2, Opening Mandelbrot, Club Nowhere, Drumbone, Shadows, Cat Video, Klein Mandelbrot, Endless Column and Bonus: "Last Train To Transcentral".


The DVD

VIDEO: There's really not much to talk about in terms of video on this release. While the songs are playing, different still images of the band at work appear, as well as the title of the song you're listening to and the instruments involved in that song. Images are sharp and clear throughout.

SOUND: On one side of the DVD, there are both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 presentations of the music - on the flip side, there is a DVD-AUDIO version of the music. First I will discuss the Dolby and DTS presentations, both of which are remarkably enveloping and entertaining.

The Blue Men use interesting instruments to make a very earthy, fun sound that has a bit of a techno feel at times, with some tracks reminding me a bit of Moby's music. The instruments are wonderfully spread out around the room, keeping things tasteful and appropriate, but also staying very enveloping and immersive, dropping the viewer into the middle of the Blue Man universe, easily keeping all of the different elements of this music separate. Surrounds are very agressively used throughout for the music, and really effectively used, with the elements that are offered by the surrounds really adding to the immersive feeling and never becoming distracting. I've listened to quite a few "surround music" recordings and I don't believe I've heard one yet that provides as exciting and inventive an experience as this one does.

Audio quality is very, very good. Both the Dolby Digital and DTS presentations provide a crisp, clear sound that also has warmth, fullness and power - definitely not sounding "flat" or "thin" at any time. Bass also remains strong and deep throughout. The DTS presentation sounded slightly more enveloping, although the differences between the two presentations remained fairly minor.

Like the "Studio Voodoo" DVD-Audio presentation, I was suprised that the DVD-Audio presentation for "Blue Man Group" provided improvements over the already excellent DTS & Dolby Digital presentations. The expansive audio presentation provided by the surround sound mix sounded even more enveloping on this 96khz/24bit edition - for those who have already seen the group live, I would think that closing your eyes while listening and using your imagination would transport you on-stage with the Blue Men. There's such a terrific sense of dimenion that it really has almost a "live" feel. Bass seemed to extend even a little bit lower than the already deep bass that the Dolby and DTS presentation provided. All of the instruments and sound effects also sounded clearer and crisper on this DVD-Audio presentation. Like the "Studio Voodoo" DVD, the music may not be for everyone, but both are certainly outstanding examples of surround sound music.

MENUS:: A warning - the menu starts off with a loud clip, so keep the volume low or you'll jump like I did when it suddenly comes on. The main menu plays the group's music in Dolby Digital 5.1 in the background while clips of the Blue Men playing their instruments are shown.

EXTRAS:

Interview: This is a hilarious interview with the founders of the "Blue Man Group", who joke about the album's status as well as discuss the process of working with the "Blue Men" in recording their music and building their instruments. Very funny at times and informative about the background of the group.

Radio Spots: 9 radio spots promoting the band, some of which are quite funny.

Also: Text notes (and some illustrations) about the band's music and their instruments.

Final Thoughts:

Positive: The music is fantastic - a highly enjoyable mix of different sounds made by interesting instruments. The DVD also does a fine job presenting them both in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1, making for a very entertaining and enveloping listening experience. Improving on the already excellent experience from the DTS/DD tracks is a wonderful DVD-Audio track. Highly recommended.

Negative: Nothing negative, with the minor exception that the menu suddenly starts off a bit loud.

Order "Blue Man Group: Audio" now!
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