The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Electric Ladyland

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Details At A Glance

Category Music Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1997 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time
60:02 minutes 
(not 75 minutes as stated on packaging) 
Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Selection, then Movie
Region 0 Director Roger Pomphrey

Warner Vision Australia
Starring Jimi Hendrix 
Noel Redding 
Mitch Mitchell
Case Amaray
RRP $39.95 Music Jimi Hendrix

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame MPEG 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None Dolby Digital None
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages German (MPEG 2.0, 224 Kb/s) 
English (MPEG 2.0, 224 Kb/s) 
French (MPEG 2.0, 224 Kb/s) 
Italian (MPEG 2.0, 224 Kb/s) 
Spanish (MPEG 2.0, 224 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio None
Macrovision ? Smoking Yes
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    Jimi Hendrix was probably one of the last great guitarists who, among other things, had the ability to blur that all-too-prevalent line between playing a rhythm figure and a solo. After his death in 1970 under still-controversial circumstances, this amazing guitarist has had an ever-growing legend, and it's easy to see why when you've heard some of his greater pieces of work. Electric Ladyland is a marvellous insight into the man, the music, and the conditions that influenced them both. However, I should take the time right now to warn that there is no chapter selection facility on this title at all. This is an omission which I found heinous and annoying for various reasons. The omission of any uninterrupted music videos is also a major minus. You may wind up buying this disc under the impression to expect a few videos that were made to go along with Hendrix's singles - don't. This disc is a documentary about the making of an album, not any serious exhibition of Hendrix's musical abilities. Bassist/backing vocalist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell offer some commentary about the making of the album, with the luxury of thirty years of hindsight. It's such a pity that Hendrix himself didn't even get to live that long, let alone long enough to look back that far on the impact of his own musical genius.

Transfer Quality


    This album is now more than thirty years old, and while the music itself has defied the much lamented claws of time, the archival video features have not fared so well. The archival footage truly looks its age, with maybe the sole exception of some monochrome footage of Hendrix talking about his views on life, love, and, of course, music. The recent interview footage is crisp and clear, and it is interesting to see how surviving Experience members Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding have aged. I hesitate to call this DVD a music video because there is no uninterrupted music on it at all - it's more of a documentary. As it stands, it is an interesting insight into the making of one of the most influential albums of the previous century.

    Amazingly enough, there are no true MPEG artefacts (ones that aren't simply worsening of the inherent problems in the source material), which can be explained in two ways. The easier way is that there's no way the programme content could even fill the limits of a single-layer, single-sided disc. Of course, I prefer to see it as an oversight on Warner Vision's part, as they somehow managed to make most of this disc a wonderful example of every film and film-to-video artefact known to man. The footage intended to be part of a music video for Electric Ladyland (the song, I mean) is so blurry in parts that the individual members of the band can only be made out by instrument and skin tone. Thankfully, the thirty-year-old footage is mostly used sparingly.


    The only remarkable things about the audio is that there is a choice of five languages, all in MPEG 2.0 audio encoding. The sound quality is mostly good in all these tracks, but they all suffer from being heavily aged during the thirty years in which we've waited for this disc. Amazingly enough, the raw music tracks during the interview segments with Eddie Kramer, who engineered the Electric Ladyland album, are perfectly clear and undamaged by time. However, in keeping with the time-marred look of the video element of the historical footage, its audio quality is plagued by tape hiss and monophonic sound limitations. Given how hard it is to digitally remaster thirty-year-old news footage, however, I think we can let this pass.

    Unfortunately, because there are no subtitles on this disc at all, it is hard to use the other language options for a bit of educational fun. Everyone I know knows how I enjoy hearing dialogue in Spanish with English subtitles, so they can imagine how I felt robbed of yet another source of pleasure with this DVD. Not that it's really much of a worry, but given how under-utilized the storage space of the DVD is, I think the asking price is really something of a joke.


    None, nada, zip. Not even the convenience of chapter selection.


    I was actually more interested in Noel Redding than Jimi Hendrix himself, mainly because I am a bass player and vocalist. However, the film offers an excellent insight and window back into the days when it took more than a force-feeding advertising campaign to become a famous musician. It is an interesting journey back into a time when all music, not just the varieties that completely shun major marketeers, was interesting and wild.

    A highly variable video transfer. Because I have elected to judge it mainly by the quality of the newer footage, I'd call it good quality. Just be aware that the archival material is of average (at best) quality and the superior resolution of DVD highlights that fact.

    The audio transfer is mainly CD-audio quality or near enough to make no odds, except for that dreaded archival news footage, which is still better than anyone can expect after all this time.

    No extras at all, not even chapter selection, and none of the essential full length music videos, which is most annoying.

Ratings (out of 5)

© Dean McIntosh
30th January 2000
Review Equipment
DVD Grundig GDV 100 D
Display Samsung CS-823AMF, 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite input
Audio Decoder Built In
Amplification Sony STR-DE835
Speakers Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Sharp CP-303A Back Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer