Flaming Lips, The-Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots 5.1 (DVD-Audio) (2003) (NTSC)

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Released 22-Mar-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of-The Making Of Music Videos (3)
Music Video-7
Bonus Track-Audio Extras (6)
Featurette-Frequency Waveform Cartoons
Rating ?
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 48:57
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Elliot Scheiner
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Wayne Coyne
Michael Ivins
Steve Drozd
Case DVD-Audio Jewel
RPI ? Music Flaming Lips


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English MLP 96/24 5.1
English MLP 96/24 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    'Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die? And instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know you realize that life goes fast. It's hard to make the good things last.'

    Flaming Lips are a 3 piece indie-rock band formed by Oklahoma musicians in the late 80s and currently feature Wayne Coyne (vocals, guitar), Michael Ivins (guitar, bass, keyboards), and Steve Drozd (guitar, drums, keyboards, background vocals). Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots was recorded in New York in late 2000 and early 2001 and stands as their 10th album or their 3rd of original material. Released as a CD in July 2002, the album was remixed in surround Dolby Digital and DVD-Audio and released in November 2003. No strangers to the concept of creative surround sound, their 1997 album Zaireeka was released as a 4 CD album, each with a partial mix of the whole and intended to be played back simultaneously on 4 separate players! Problems of sync and gathering together the necessary hardware are solved with the release of Yoshimi on a medium capable of surround sound. Generally considered to be their best album, the final track, Approaching Pavonis Mons By Balloon (Utopia Planitia) won the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. The music is bright, clean and melodious. The up-front vocals of Coyne and innovative synthesiser work are reminiscent of a mix of Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney and Tangerine Dream with a Spector-like wall of sound. There are pleasing acoustic guitar chord progressions, extreme use of synthesiser, bass keyboard and impossible rhythm sequences (for all bar Keith Moon!) courtesy of a drum machine.

    Although the band often denied Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots to be a concept album, there is no mistaking the fantasy of Yoshimi's magical struggle against the evil Pink Robots or the coherence and natural flow of the album. Each song is nicely accompanied by Coyne's original water colours lending a certain anime flavour to the work. I hadn't heard any of the band's music before and feared the worst - to say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement and once I'd appreciated the superb technical production of the DVD, I was completely won over!

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Track Listing

1. Fight Test
2. One More Robot / Sympathy 3000-21
3. Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Pt1
4. Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Pt2
5. In The Morning Of The Magicians
6. Ego Tripping At The Gates Of Hell
7. Are You A Hypnotist??
8. t's Summertime
9. Do You Realize??
10. All We Have Is Now
11. Approaching Pavonis Mons By Balloon

Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a superbly presented disc, in fact the most comprehensively engineered hybrid DVD-V and DVD-A that I have yet encountered. For starters, DVD-V players don't lose out on the graphics that are normally reserved for DVD-A players - Coyne's watercolour backdrops for each track are available and identical in both modalities. Likewise the audio tracks in the extras section are also recorded in PPCM for those playing back in DVD-A, unlike the usual Dolby Digital 2.0 that accompanies all previous DVD-As I have reviewed. For those of you not familiar with the finer technical side, let me just reassure you that whatever your player, you get the best possible playback and don't miss out.

    The graphic stills that accompany each track are in the usual 1.33:1 ratio and are not 16x9 enhanced. The format is NTSC as is usual for this genre. The video extras are formatted in the same way and are of good quality video.

Audio

    This is an excellent audio transfer on all 4 tracks and has been promoted to my reference demo disc for surround sound music.

    There are 2 channel and 5.1 surround versions available in Dolby Digital, the 5.1 encoded at 448 bps and the 2.0 encoded at 224 bps. Both the surround 5.1 and 2.0 high resolution PPCM tracks are at 96/24 resolution. There is no way of selecting DVD-A or DVD-V 'on-the-fly' - the disc boots up according to the player's setup configuration.

    I listened to all 4 tracks several times, on several different systems, as well as on my reference surround gear. I enjoyed all versions. Not surprisingly the PPCM versions are fuller, richer and more expansive than the compressed Dolby Digital format - in many ways it's analogous to MP3 versus normal CD LPCM encoding - if you only heard the low-res version you'd probably be happy and not know what you're missing. The surround versions are an absolute kick-**** experience and really blew me away - initial listening to the 2 channel versions was hugely enjoyable, but didn't prepare me for full blast psychodelic surround sound.

    Coyne has a very clean and clear singing style, a bit McCartney-ish in style and if you want to hone in on the lyrics you shouldn't have any difficulty in making them out.

    So what of the surround? Well, on the more complex and rich tracks it spreads out the bass duets and  pulls the complex drum sequences out of the vocal and acoustic guitar wall of sound. On other tracks it gives the opportunity to create a moving soundscape, such as the pings, reminiscent of falling rain drops, circling around the listener in Summertime or the swirling vocal circle surround effect at 2:12 and 3:22 on this 8th track. I could devote the whole review to an analysis of the surround effects but let me just say it's the most innovative, exciting and full-on experience I have yet heard in creative surround sound production. Go check it out yourself!

    The subwoofer doesn't play wallflower at this party and joins in all the action in an appropriate and integrated manner.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    I didn't get the super-jewel case, insert or booklet with this review copy but the the quality and quantity of disc based extras more than made up for this. Literally everything you could want and more - simply brilliant!

Menu

    Four selections here in a static menu allowing choice of audio, extras, a playlist or an option to play the whole disc.

Booklet

    Although missing on my review copy there is a mention of a booklet in the disc media release that mentions notes from Coyne about each surround mix together with lyrics.

Video Extras

  1. Do You Realize?? (Mark Pellington version) - 3:30 promo video of the song - the glitzy, Las Vegas version.
  2. Do You Realize?? (Wayne/Bradley/George version) - 4:24 promo of the song featuring the more psychedelic version including giant chicks and a bunny.
  3. Making of Do You Realize ?? - 3:45 Wayne, bunnies (2 and 4 legged) and an elephant in a neon bedecked shopping mall - need I say more?
  4. Yoshimi Battles The Robots Pt 1 - 3:38 video promo clip to accompany the song.
  5. The making of Yoshimi Battles The Robots Pt 1 - 3:33 behind-the-scenes of the promo clip video.
  6. Fight Test - 3:50 zany promo clip of the first song off the album including cockroach close-ups.
  7. Phoebe Battles The Pink Robots - 3:23 song promo video of Yoshimi's alter ego in Pink Robot battle mode.
  8. Christmas On Mars - 4:19 trailer for the forthcoming movie!
  9. The making of the Yoshimi DVD-A - 2:40 of Wayne Coyne explaining 5.1 sound and jigging around in a room with surround speakers
  10. Are You A Hypnotist ?? - 4:42 epilepsy-inducing strobed video-hell promo of Are You A Hypnotist

Audio Extras

  1. Up Above The Daily Hum - offcut from the album
  2. Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Pt. 1 - That song again, only sung in Japanese!
  3. If I Go Mad (Funeral In My Head) - Another song chopped off the final album pick.
  4. Do You Realize ?? - Another version, this time the Floating In Space Remix by Scott Hardkiss
  5. Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Pt 1 - Unplugged version recorded for AOL
  6. Do You Realize?? - Live version from the CD.

Frequency Waveform Cartoons

    The whole album accompanied by visual psychedelic effects animation courtesy of graphics designer George Salisbury "Bursts of colour synchronised to specific frequencies selected individually for each track, these are oddly yet reassuringly mesmeric bouncing and pulsating treasures..." - trippy man!

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Press releases for the UK and US release make mention of a DTS 5.1 audio track but I haven't seen confirmation of that yet and suspect our version will be the same as that of other regions.

Summary

    An extremely well put together DVD-Audio release which doesn't disadvantage, content wise, those without DVD-A players.

    The video quality is uniformly good.

    The audio quality is superb.

    The extras are prolific, of high quality and of interest.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Lancaster (read my bio)
Saturday, December 13, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDEAD 8000 Pro, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE300E Projector onto 250cm screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTheta Digital Intrepid
SpeakersMartin Logan - Aeon Fronts/Script rears/Theatre centre/ - REL Strata III SW

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
region one - Dr Hackenbush REPLY POSTED
Flaming DVD-audio! - REPLY POSTED
Disappointing album. -
Glitch? -
Awesome. - grug (there is no bio.)
DVD-ROM Extras -