Ministry of Sound-The Annual 2003 (2002)
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Miami Winter Music Conference
Featurette-Sydney Chillout Session
Featurette-Ibiza; Berlin; Belfast
|Year Of Production||2002|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||None||Smoking||Yes, by people on the beaches of Ibiza.|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
For those of you unfamiliar with Ministry Of Sound, the record label gets its name from a club in the UK, world renowned as a pioneer forum for dance music. Since its early days, Ministry Of Sound have expanded into Europe, the legendary party island of Ibiza in Spain, across to the United States, and to the shores of Australia. While sometimes sneered at by hardcore electronic music fans for being too 'commercial' or too 'mainstream', the Ministry Of Sound Annual CDs are persistently on the bestselling list for the dance music charts and are of a consistent high quality. In short, they rock. From the initial mixes by UK DJ legends Judge Jules and Tall Paul, to the recent Australian Ministry Of Sound: The 2003 Annual CD, mixed up by DJ's Mark Dynamix and Ultrasun, Ministry Of Sound has been behind some great party music. Unlike Gatecrasher or Godskitchen, which supply a more intense trance sound, Ministry Of Sound is firmly rooted in the big beat dance music culture from which it originated, dishing up breakbeats, chilled remixes, club anthems and popular trance. This DVD is no exception.
Ministry of Sound - The Annual 2003 DVD: The World's Biggest Dance Parties is a mix up of some awesome tunes heard throughout the club scene during 2002. Opening with a personal favourite, "Out Of The City" by 2 Heads (City Slickers Extended Version), Ministry Of Sound takes us on a dance club journey through 15 tracks and footage from some awesome parties held by the Ministry Of Sound crew. After the more dance-happy clubby tunes of "Home" by Julie McKnight and "Fly With Me" by Coloursound (Main Mix), we are worked into the groove with the funky club tunes "Fascinated" by Raven Maize (Joey Negro Club Mix) and "Dancin Tonight" by Stereopol featuring Nevada (Love II Infinity Master Mix). The beat is brought down to the more chilled phat house beats of "Runaway" by Distant Soundz (Stella Browne Remix) and "Can You Feel (What I'm Going Through)" by Sholan before bouncing back with dance/acid jazz track "Saxuality" by Hi-Gate and pounding us with trance anthems "Tic Toc" by Klea (Magik Muzik Remix) and "If You Want Me" by Warrior (Instrumental Club Mix). The tunes hit their peak with the darker trance tracks "Forever" by Trinity-X (Flip & Fill Remix) and "Shooting Star" by Flip & Fill before the crew at Ministry Of Sound take us out with club anthems "Forever" by N-Trance (Voodoo & Serano Edit) and "Tell It To My Heart" by Kelly Lorenna.
This is truly a fantastic line-up and only personal taste enables one to criticize the playlist. The mixing is impeccable, with no jarring blends as so often occurs with amateur DJ's. While I have a preference for the Starchaser mix of "Out Of The City", my only real bone with this DVD is that there wasn't more. What happened to Ferry Corsten's "Punk", which has been on just about every Ministry Of Sound CD (not to mention Gatecrasher or Godskitchen) through 2002, or "Days Go By" by Dirty Vegas, or "Southern Sun" by Paul Oakenfold? These are undoubtedly 2003 club anthems, worthy of a place on just about every dance music compilation from any record label throughout 2002. Having grooved to those tracks on the dance floor all year, to have heard these tracks in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround would have been magic. But, unlike the Ministry Of Sound CDs, which are always 2CD sets, the DVD is but a lone DVD, limited to 15 tracks by space on the disc and an apparently conscious choice to fit the set on one layer. So I am left wanting more, but it's always like that when you get a taste of something great.
|1. Out Of The City|
2. So Fly
4. Fly With Me
6. Dancin Tonight
8. Can You Feel (What I'm Going Thru)
10. Tic Toc
11. If You Want Me
13. Shooting Star
15. Tell It To My Heart
There are two visual layers here: the first being graphics from the Ministry Of Sound 'Big Box'; the second being scenes from various Ministry Of Sound dance parties around the world (shot by a cameraman with an obvious penchant for cleavage ... not that I can blame him). Both are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. I have no idea whether this is the original aspect ratio or not, but it appears as if it is.
The same things that I said about the video on the Fatboy Slim: Big Beach Boutique II DVD I am going to pretty much repeat here. Firstly, the image is secondary in every way to the audio track. It provides a nice accompaniment, but that is all. Secondly, there are so many effects in the imagery and so many cuts that it is absolutely impossible to scan for MPEG artefacts or film artefacts. If you doubt me, take a look for yourself. The picture is intentionally distorted, shot through with contrails to give the impression that the viewer is high on any number of illicit substances, possibly more than one at once.
Suffice it to say, aside from the intentional distortions, the picture looks clean, with no background noise and no faults that look like they shouldn't be there. The definition of the party scenes is too clear for it to be filmed on anything other than digital video.
I am convinced the dual-layer pause is in between the main feature and the specials. Having watched the DVD through twice now, I noticed no jarring in the audio or video that would indicate the pause, nor the usual drop of power to the amplifier.
There are three audio tracks: a 2.0 Enhanced Dolby Digital Stereo track, an Extrapolated 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound Track and a 2.0 TV Stereo track. Having listened to the lot, I must admit this is quite a toss up.
The 2.0 TV Stereo track is an easy one to discount. It is a thin, dull track with very little bass and a highly limited treble mix. Maybe it sounds good through the Mono speaker on old TVs, but I have no way of telling this. It sounds lifeless, like listening to someone else's Walkman on the train because they have it turned up too loud.
The Enhanced 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo mix is another matter entirely. This is a loud, fat, rich track, with pounding bass that goes to the bottom of the range, and tweaks the treble in my system. When standing in the centre of the room, you can feel your ribcage rattle when you pump up the volume. Clarity is fantastic, and there are even left-right directional cues, as provided by the music.
Then there is the Extrapolated 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound track. I have in the past been very scathing of Warner for their 5.1 Dolby Digital remixes of original stereo tracks. Usually this results in a thinning out that sounds weak and artificial. Not so in this case. By creating a surround sound field, one is placed in the centre of a dance club, with the sound still generated primarily from across the front, but with support from the surrounds. Turn it up loud and feel the ambience in a way that the Enhanced Stereo track achieves, but only in its most minimal form.
The benefit, of course, of the Extrapolated 5.1 track is the utilisation of the sub-woofer. While this doesn't quite equal the power of the Big Beach Boutique II DVD with its DTS track, there is still some awesome thumping action to get that pounding beat out of tracks like "Tic Toc" and "Shooting Star". Turn it up loud and party.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menus are all 16x9 enhanced, with snippets from various tracks playing over them in 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo.
This is a brief look at the Miami dance scene, with a few short interviews with DJ's Freq Nasty, Parkes n Wilson and Danny Howells. Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo soundtrack.
A brief look at the surfing/dance culture in Palm Beach, Sydney. Interviews with a bunch of surfers and DJ Trent Anthony. Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo soundtrack.
A cruise of the Ibiza clubbing and beach party scene. Short interviews with DJ's Smokin Jo and Mike Brown. Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo soundtrack.
Snippets of the Berlin Love Festival and in-depth interview with DJ legend and electronic music pioneer Paul Van Dyk. Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo soundtrack.
A tour of the Belfast dance scene hosted by native DJ Fergie. Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo soundtrack.
A look at the new DIY remixing studio for PS2 to be released by Ministry Of Sound. Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo soundtrack.
Contains the copyright information for the tracks used on the DVD. The other side is totally promotional (and now out of date).
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
As far as I can tell, there is no R1 release of this disc. The R2 release is identical.
Ministry Of Sound -- The Annual 2003 DVD: The World's Biggest Dance Parties is a hardcore mix up of club anthems by one of the biggest names in dance music. It is an awesome set which leaves you wanting more.
The picture quality is great, albeit really tripped.
The audio quality is awesome, although not quite to the standard of the Fatboy Slim: Big Beach Boutique II DVD.
The extras are very good, although very brief. They, like the whole DVD, feel like a snippet of what should have been a much larger project. I don't know how much more music they could have crammed on this DVD, but I felt that the producers should have dished out a few more tunes. Maybe I'm just used to the CDs.
|DVD||Panasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output|
|Display||Beko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver.|
|Speakers||Energy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer|