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Mixmasters - Episode 4

Moonshine Movies // Unrated // October 22, 2002
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Phillip Duncan | posted December 22, 2002 | E-mail the Author
Moonshine Media has released another addition to their popular AV:X series. This 8th disc in the series is the 4th one entitled Mixmasters. For those not familiar with Moonshine or the Mixmasters series, it is the combination of dance music and DJ instrumentation and visuals mixed by what are referred to as VJs.

With the technicalities out of the way, let's dive in and see what they've offered up for our musical tastes this time. First up on the disc is Tinrib Mix by Captain Tinrib with visuals by Nuroptics. Unfortunately it's not a strong start. The music is a standard house beat that pulses along, never changing and it falls within the dance or house style that is fill with fast beats. It's not really my favorite style and the computer-generated visuals by Nuroptics don't really add to the experience. Not a great start.

Track 2 should have been the lead track and after hearing it I think I will seek out more work by Blue States. Their three-song mix, entitled Memphis Industries Mix, is one of the best songs I've listened to on a Moonshine release. It's a great blend of vocal, ambient and other sounds that make for a relaxing and interesting mix. Add the amazing visuals of Film Unit AV and it's a strong combination. Film Unit AV deftly mixes live footage of cityscapes, people and everyday objects into a strong visual accompaniment.

Track 3 is Botchit & Scarper Mix by Soto with visuals by Reality Check. It's another strong combination with a beat slightly faster than the previous song, but not terribly overpowering and with enough breaks in it that it does not become monotonous. The visuals by Reality Check combine some strange footage of dolls, gears, moonscapes and other scenery into an artistic creation that is covered with color and swatches.

Track 4 is Melt 2000 Mix by Rita Ray with visuals by Your Mum. This is a mix of three different songs that all share a tribal feel, which is another style of trance that I enjoy. Similar in feel to the group Juno Reactor, the beat is slightly slower with a hint of darkness to it. Combine it with the great African tribal visuals by Your Mum and it's an engrossing and entertaining mix. The visuals are almost hypnotic in their simplicity. The grainy film images if the tribe dancing have been slowed to meet the beat of the song. It builds anticipation in waiting for something to happen. It's another great combination.

Track 5 is Swaraj Mix by Juttla with visuals by Eikon. The music switches to a more standard beat but continues to be interesting with the mix of funk guitar chords and sitar that are peppered throughout. The visuals don't complement the music as well as some of the others, but they are interesting and well done. Footage of film being developed and loaded into a projector has been tinted red and manipulated in so many ways; it's difficult to tell what's happening all the time. The visuals continue to change, from pen and ink to tribal drums. It's visually interesting and a great mix.

Track 6 is Sprawl Mix by Bittonic and Si-Cut.DB with visuals by D-Fuse. Trendy would be how I define this mix. It's a slow build of various sounds and beats into a musical whole accompanied by the trendy, design like computer created visuals and video footage that's been integrated together. The music switches styles several times, as do the visuals. Close-up footage of leaves and fronds dance to the Indian style beat in the second section of the song. It's a strong finish to a disc that started on the wrong foot.

The overall mix of songs is great, with 5 of the 6 being some of the best I've heard on a Moonshine disc. The first song just isn't a style I like and it doesn't mesh with the rest of the disc as a whole and seems really out of place.

Video: This is a mixed bag, but to be expected considering the artistic approach to the video. All the video is 4:3 and varies in quality depending on the source and effect the VJ was attempting. Everything from stock footage to complicated computer imagery is present and used well. Much like art, the texture and grain of the video add interest to it and it complements the music perfectly.

Audio: Like all of Moonshine's music releases this is where the disc really shines. The music is mastered perfectly with a great digital stereo mix and it envelops the room perfectly. There is little complaint, except that a 5.1 mix would have been nice. I've always said this and hopefully one day it will be included.

Extras: Interviews with the DJs are included and start off with Captain Tinrib. He details a little about the style of music he plays and where he got his start. Nuroptics rips off Max Headroom and does the interview as a disembodied head. All of the DJs and VJs are featured in at least 1 or 2-minute interviews, which is a nice feature and gives you and idea of what they were trying to do or where they are coming from.

Overall: This is probably my favorite Moonshine release to date. The mix of music is very close to the stuff I listen to when I listen to this style and I will definitely look for some of these artists. The visuals are strong and stand out as some of the most interesting in the series. This is definitely the disc to pick up if you've been waiting to check this series out. It's a great disc with a nice mix of styles and tastes.

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