Hoodoo Gurus-Tunnel Vision (2005)

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Released 8-Feb-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Menu Animation & Audio
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 244:45
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Various
Studio
Distributor
Taiyo Films
EMI Music
Starring Hoodoo Gurus
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI ? Music Hoodoo Gurus


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Varies Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    Since their formation in 1981 as a bass-free punk/new wave group called le Hoodoo Gurus, the Sydney-based quartet refashioned their sound, changed their line-up four times, dropped their definite article, recorded eight albums, topped US college and alternative charts (but never quite Australia's), broke up, reformed and toured Australasia, Europe, Japan, North and South America. Regarded rightly as one of the country's top single bands, they also have a reputation for unfettered live shows which let their audiences loose on a power-pop and harder rock binge.

    Although the band hasn't officially said that Tunnel Vision is to be their final album, the disc's release, tied to that of remastered "deluxe editions" of their entire back catalogue, has the feel of a career-end retrospective. The triple feature (all the band's videos, a 'supergig' and a career documentary spread over two discs) has all that fans could hope to see from such a career review, and does it quite well.

    The 31 music videos (listed in the track listing below) includes rarities such as Little Drummer Boy (up the Khyber) and Turn Up Your Radio ('95) which was recorded with Jim Keays for release on the Masters Apprentices 'best of' CD that year. Also featured are a live clip of In the Wild from Sydney's Strawberry Hills Hotel (released as a B-side to Poison Pen) and a performance of Generation Gap from ABC series Blah Blah Blah. A 'track' entitled Hall of Shame (What Were We Thinking?) appends clips for Nobody and an original but unreleased clip for 2004's Nothing's Changing My Life which was held back in favour of the one featured earlier on the disc. These videos are presented in two lists - "Clips from the '80s", including Leilani to Another World, and "Clips from the '90s and Beyond" which holds the others. Options are available to play a single video, all in order or all in random order from either list or from all clips together (which exclude the Hall of Shame videos). Waking Up Tired repeats when played, which I initially thought was an authoring error, but on closer inspection represents two slightly alternate versions of the clip, which play in a different order depending on whether it was selected individually or as part of a "play all" function.

    The 'supergig'-style, 56-minute live performance feature includes 16 tracks recorded in four performances between 1984 and the Sydney Big Day Out in 2004. Although the "Track Listing" area below does not have room to list them, they include 14 songs represented in the music videos above, as well as Let's All (Turn On) and Death Ship from Stoneage Romeos. I admit that I'm a fan of the concept of combining best performances from multiple shows into a single production for DVD, and The Living End did it well on their live disc of From Here On In, but the presentation is limited by the quality of the source material which is relatively poor in this case. The isolated tracks also hamper the presentation from displaying any of the energy of a live Gurus' performance, and chapter stops are poorly placed, sometimes coming substantially after the beginning chords of a song.

    The third part of the feature is a 80-minute documentary entitled "Be My Guru", which was produced for this disc but has also been shown on Channel 10 earlier this month. The documentary includes interviews with current and past band members, as well as friends of the band who had agreed to write liner notes for the remastered releases of the band's back catalogue mentioned earlier. As you'd expect, in a self-produced documentary used for promotional purposes, the version of events presented is quite glossy and has nothing controversial included. There is archival footage used, including a couple of performances not on the first disc, but no songs are included in full. As a history of the band it's quite adequate, but I was disappointed by the narrow range of interviewees and the lack of challenge to orthodoxy. Separating the documentary in order to allow both the videos and live performances to cohabit on one disc was a good authoring decision, but this leaves the documentary feeling like a disc extra that I don't expect to return to.

    Track Listing for "Vintage Live" section:

    1. Let's All (Turn On)

    2. I Want You Back

    3. Death Ship

    4. Another World

    5. Tojo

    6. Like Wow - Wipeout!

    7. Leilani

    8. Death Defying

    9. Axegrinder

    10. What's My Scene?

    11. Middle of the Land

    12. Miss Freelove '69

    13. Come Anytime

    14. In the Wild

    15. Bittersweet

    16. The Right Time

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Track Listing

1. Leilani
2. My Girl
3. I Want You Back
4. Bittersweet
5. Like, Wow-Wipeout!
6. Death Defying
7. Poison Pen
8. In The Wild
9. What's My Scene?
10. Good Times
11. Middle Of The Land
12. The Generation Gap
13. Come Anytime
14. Axegrinder
15. Another World
16. Miss Freelove '69
17. A Thousand Miles Away
18. A Place In The Sun
19. Little Drummer Boy
20. The Right Time
21. You Open My Eyes
22. Less Than A Feeling
23. Turn Up Your Radio ('95)
24. Big Deal
25. Waking UpTired
26. If Only...
27. Nothing's Changed My Life
28. When You Get To California
29. Domino
30. Hall Of Shame

Transfer Quality

Video

    The discs are a quite reasonable digital transfer, but the source material limits the quality of the end product - often quite substantially. This isn't unexpected, given that much of it was recorded up to twenty years ago and was not intended to be of archival quality. The ratings below should be taken as indicative of the disc as a whole, but individual aspects will be referred to separately below.

    The bulk of the disc is presented in a 1.29:1 ratio and is not 16x9 enhanced. Music videos for Nothing's Changing My Life and When You Get to California, as well as live performances of Come Anytime and The Right Time are presented in a 1.78:1 ratio, but are still not 16x9 enhanced.

    Older videos and live performances suffer substantially from low-level noise, chroma noise, colour bleeding and overmodulation, and some are quite grainy. Newer videos tend to be substantially better in this regard, and the 2004 material and interview segments of the documentary are actually quite good in this regard.

    Colours, again, vary greatly depending upon the age and original recording nature of the source. Concert footage (except, again, that recorded in 2004) tends to be quite dark, with next to no shadow definition and oversaturated colours under the stage lights. Some of the interviews in the documentary feature are somewhat washed out, but are otherwise quite good.

    Although there are very few digital artefacts on the discs (there is some aliasing is in the documentary, especially on the striped sleeves of Dave Faulkner's shirt and there is some dot crawl around on-screen title displays during this feature), there are tracking problems throughout the videos up to and including the Crank material. There are also microphony issues during the earlier live sets.

    There is no subtitle track present on these discs.

    There is a certain amount of RSDL-related searching going on between music video tracks from Less Than a Feeling onwards on disc one. This appears to be an effort to fit the most data possible onto each layer of the disc without putting an RSDL stop while any video or audio is playing. There is no RSDL stop on the second disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    As with the video transfer, audio differs greatly depending upon the source material. Any overall score is an average rating and is not consistent throughout the disc.

    The only audio track is a Dolby Digital stereo track which is not surround encoded.

    The quality of the audio is dependent upon the track concerned and, while generally adequate, would never be described as better than that. Some music videos have quite poor audio quality (especially the live performances and the Stoneage Romeos tracks) and there was a noticeable hiss throughout I Want You Back. It is a little disappointing, given the comprehensive nature of the retrospective, that the opportunity wasn't taken to remaster the audio. The live performances again vary in quality, with the earlier performances having very muddy mixes, with dully-presented drums dominating the earliest recording. The performance at the RAS Show in 1991 has brighter vocals, but still retains an unfortunately swampy guitar sound. The recording from 2004's Big Day Out is also quite bright, but is quite bass-heavy. Dialogue in the documentary is adequately reproduced, despite a couple of pops early on.

    Surround channels are not used.

    The subwoofer is used regularly throughout all sections of the disc, but lacks crispness, especially during earlier music videos and live footage.

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

Extras

Menu Animation & Audio

    While there are effectively no 'extras' listed on the disc, it should be noted that many similar discs would include a short documentary as an 'extra' rather than an 80-minute documentary as a feature, or would split the videos and live footage across two titles as Hunters and Collectors (as one example of a standard practice) have done.

R4 vs R1

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

    This appears to be the only version of the disc released, and it is not region-coded.

Summary

    This two-disc retrospective should be bought by fans of the band for the first disc alone. Although only adequately presented, the all-encompassing nature of the music videos and live performances presented here provide a complete record on a single disc - something to be recommended to other groups considering a number of music video releases which have been far less comprehensive. The zero extras score reflects the triple feature nature of the disc, rather than treating any one section as an 'extra', which would have been the case for most discs of this nature.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Gaut (A bio? Have I no privacy?)
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayPanasonic TX-86PW300A. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-512.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-512
SpeakersWharfedale Diamond 8.3 fronts, Wharfedale Diamond 8.2 rears, Wharfedale Diamond 8 centre, Wharfedale 12" sub

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
waking up tired two versions - Anonymous REPLY POSTED