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Circuit Music Journal - Volume One
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Amazon]
"Circuit" is a new music magazine that comes out in the DVD format. We've begun to be familiar with the idea of a DVD Magazine with a couple of other small magazines, such as the free movie magazine that was offered on the internet recently in a few issues.
"Circuit" is an interesting idea, but it comes off as being too much of a "magazine". What you get here is an assortment of interviews, videos, clips and more from Beck, Grant Lee Buffalo, REM, the Cardigans and Cake. The segments that are interviews are okay; they're not something, unless you're really a fan of the band interviewed, that I think people are going to watch over and over again. They're on the level of magazine interviews- you may read an interview in a magazine once or twice, but then that's about it.
What caught my eye when I bought this disc was its creative use of the DVD format. For example, when you're watching an interview with Paul Klein about putting together the soundtrack for "Velvet Goldmine", you can change the audio track and listen to musician Ron Asheton about the making of the film.
The idea is right, but the material just didn't really spark my interest. The interviews are mainly so-so and looking forward to seeing a segment where Grant Lee Buffalo played live, the segment consists of way too much of them rehearsing and photographs of backstage. It also cuts during the concert to interviews for a moment or two. There are some very cool things though, that I liked. The disc includes the controversial video for the Cardigan's "My Favorite Game" in 4 different versions- each has a different ending. Also cool is an excerpt from the film "Watch Me Jumpstart", about the band Guided by Voices. Instead of listening to the film's audio, you can use the alternate audio tracks on this portion to hear interviews with the band and filmmaker, or listen to some of the band's songs. Also included are interviews with Cake, REM and Beck.
There's other things that are not great- there are ads before some of the segements, but thankfully you can fast forward past them. Menus are a little "too much"- you have to sit through a bit of animation before you get to the submenu- and the submenus are organized awkwardly. Instead of organizing by band, they're organized by sections like "Bandwith", "Underground" and more. You have to refer to the box to tell what's where.
Audio and video vary throughout. Many of the interviews sound very basic(and are visually very basic), but some of the parts such as the Cardigans video sound pretty good- full and clear. Video varies greatly as well- the interview clips are generally kinda fuzzy and not terribly sharp, but the music videos included, like the Cardigans video, look sharper and have vivid, solid colors.
And then there's the price. The disc's content is generally decent, but the price certainly gives it a bit more interest as an impulse buy. At Amazon.com, for instance, this DVD can be had for $10.47. Pretty good for 117 minutes of content. This disc isn't bad- it's a good start and hopefully, next time they will feature a few less interviews and more videos and concert footage. If you like any of the bands involved, I think this is a disc worth taking a look at.