Soft Cell-Live in Milan (2002)
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Interview - 21:05 of the duo talking about past and present
|Year Of Production||2002|
|Running Time||89:43 (Case: 105)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (56:15)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.75:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
Soft Cell - Live in Milan marks the continuation of Marc Almond and Dave Balls' successful reunion after nearly 20 years apart. Formed in 1980 and hailing from the grim industrial north-west of England, their first single success was the Northern Soul dance classic Tainted Love, which became the UK's best selling single of that year. Gaining their name from the double entendre of commercialism bordering on insanity, their distinctive sound of sleazy, electro-pop struck a chord with the futile seekers of fulfilment and personal happiness in the hard-living, hard-drinking, pill-popping, club goers of the 80s. Almond's clear emotive vocals and on-stage drama-queen theatrics translated well to the burgeoning pop video industry whilst the catchy single note melodies of Ball's synthesiser, together with the soft Phil Spector-influenced wall of sound guaranteed a string of hit singles. Most of the better-known Soft Cell songs (Tainted Love, Bedsitter, Say Hello Wave Goodbye) come from their 1981 debut hit album 'Non Stop Erotic Cabaret' and are included in this live set. Included also are Monoculture and Last Chance from their 2002 reunion album Cruelty Without Beauty.
I enjoyed this show. The reasonably intimate venue of Milan's Rolling Stone venue allows Marc to flirt, pout and tease the audience and the passing years have, if anything, enhanced his good-natured bonhomie and ringing clear vocals. In the meantime, Dave Ball, bear-like, hulks over his keyboards, the perfect Yin to Almond's Yang. Performance-wise Marc is as energetic as ever; manipulated manikin one moment, outrageous flirt the next - but never boring! Music-wise, the two tracks off the last album are more of the same genre, perhaps a little more worldly wise and cynical but still very much Soft Cell.
4. Divided Soul
5. Last Chance
7. Best Way To Kill
8. The Art of Falling Apart
9. Somebody Sometime
|10. Baby Doll|
13. Tainted Love
14. Where Did Our Love Go
15. Say Hello Wave Goodbye
17. Sex Dwarf
The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 but is not 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer errs on the soft side but with good low level detail and minimal low level noise.
The colours are shades of brothel red and pink to set the sleazy scene. The transfer is impaired by chroma noise throughout, particularly evident in the frequent colour-drenched dry ice.
MPEG artefacts are average - there is pixelization evident in some of the shots of the suspended plate backdrops (eg at 15:06). Aliasing is minimal apart from the diagonals on the scaffold lighting tower. There are no film or videotape artefacts.
There are no subtitles.
The disc is RSDL with a noticeable pause between Chapters 12 and 13 at 56:15.
There are 3 audio tracks, the default being the Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo offering whilst there are also Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 offerings although none of these are encoded at the highest bitrate. The Dolby Digital 2.0 sounded very natural and with good resolution and presence but sounded predictably flat compared to the surround offerings. The DTS version was mixed 2-3 dB hotter than the Dolby Digital but even taking this into account was richer, more dynamic and overall was more pleasurable to listen to. I felt that the surround mixes were missing out on the mid-range and that the overall pick of the bunch was a toss up between the DTS and 2 channel Dolby Digital offerings.
Almond's vocal clarity is exemplary, which is just as well as it makes up for ~ 45% of the soundstage, and I had no difficulty picking out (and singing along with !) the song lyrics.
There were no audio synch lapses.
The surrounds were well utilised to increase the depth of the soundstage with well-mixed crowd noise and reverberation of percussion. No gimmicky effects here!
The subwoofer was constantly active bumping along with the bass synthesiser line. I felt that overall the mix was a little too bass heavy and benefited from pulling back on the subwoofer gain a few notches
|Surround Channel Use|
This is not a big budget production, and this is reflected in the paucity of extras.
Informal and informative 21:05 chat from the duo about how they started, why they split and how they came back together again. Quite entertaining.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video quality is nothing to write home about but is quite watchable.
The audio quality is reasonable with the DTS offering just taking my vote.
The extras are limited to a medium length interview.
|DVD||EAD 8000 Pro, using Component output|
|Display||NEC MP3. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Audio Decoder||STR-DB1080. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Theta Digital Intrepid|
|Speakers||ML Aeon front. B&W LRC6 Centre. ML Script rear. REL Strata III SW.|