Todd Rundgren-2nd Wind Live Recording Sessions/The Desktop Collection (1990)
|Year Of Production||1990|
|Running Time||64:09 (Case: 68)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Todd Rundgren|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I must admit that my knowledge of Todd Rundgren's work is pretty much limited to the song "Why Can't We Be Friends". So, I thought a review of this collection would be a good way of introducing myself to the work of a singer, songwriter, composer, and video pioneer who seems to have been in the business for an awfully long time. This is a disc in two parts. Part One shows the recording session for Todd's album 2nd Wind, and Part Two showcases six of his computer generated music videos.
When an artist records a studio album, it is usually in a controlled and enclosed environment, with many takes, and each instrument and vocal often recorded separately and then all mixed together at the end. Conversely, when an artist wants to record a live album, they simply set up the recording gear at the concert and hit the record button (I might have simplified that a little bit). They get the crowd noise, the good, the bad, and the mistakes. What Todd Rundgren decided to do for this album was take elements of both styles and combine the two to create a 'live session' experience. Hence, the audience is present, but they are asked not to applaud or make any noise, and to remember that the band may stop half way through if they don't like the song. The performance runs for around 36 minutes, and several songs are played, though not in their entirety. Interspersed among the songs are Todd's thoughts on and explanations of the songs. We also cut away in full screen to some of the thoughts of the session musicians and various engineers that worked on the project. Recorded at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco in 1990, the screen is broken into quarters, with a different camera feed being played in each smaller square. Those of you planning on watching this on small displays, be warned that this will make each image very small indeed.
The Desktop Collection features six of Todd Rundgren's computer generated music videos. From the information I have been able to gather about Todd, he is somewhat of a pioneer in the music video industry and is always at the cutting edge of technology. These videos feature lots of computer generated images and are really quite intriguing to watch.
I have listed all the songs present on the disc for completeness, but please note that the first 12 tracks are not played in their entirety. The last six tracks are the music videos and are in their complete form.
|1. Change Myself|
2. Love Science
3. Who's Sorry Now
4. The Smell of Money
5. If I have To Be Alone
6. Love In Disguise
8. Public Servant
|9. Gaya's Eyes|
10. 2nd Wind
11. Change Myself
13. Fascist Christ
15. Our Friend The Brain
16. Want Of A Nail
Both parts are presented in full frame 1.33:1, with no 16x9 enhancement as a result.
There is nothing stellar in the video for the 2nd Wind Live Recording Sessions, with all the actual session footage seeing the screen broken into quadrants and four different camera feeds being placed in each of the squares. Each image is therefore quite small and it is difficult to pick up any major flaws Shadow detail would be the biggest problem area here, but this is mostly the fault of the source material. Some of the camera shots have been taken from a camera fixed in one position and left running, as performers and Todd move in and out of frame. Grain is minimal, and there is no low level noise. The Desktop Collection features few problems.
Colours are solid in the 2nd Wind Live Sessions, with consistent blacks and little evidence of any problems. Again, nothing vibrant, but they do the job. The Desktop Collection features much better images, with more vibrant colours.
There are no MPEG artefacts. Aliasing pops up quite frequently during some of the videos in the Desktop Collection and is quite noticeable. Video artefacts are minimal in both parts.
There are no subtitles available.
This is a single layered disc.
There is only one audio track on this disc, being a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. The 2nd Wind Sessions are hamstrung by the raw nature of the source, and feature a somewhat unremarkable soundtrack, with a relatively limited dynamic range. The audio on the Desktop Collection is better, with a wider dynamic range and a little more lower end response.
Somewhat muffled at times, the audio is quite flat, and lacking any real punch. This is most evident during the 2nd Wind Sessions. It improves somewhat for the Desktop Collection.
The actual quantity of music on offer is quite disappointing. It takes over eight minutes in the 2nd Wind Sessions to hear the first song, and remember this only runs for 36 minutes total. All the songs are somewhat abridged versions. The Desktop Collection features the full versions of the six listed tracks.
There is no surround or subwoofer use.
|Surround Channel Use|
A short interview with Todd Rundgren, running for 3:29, with the questions posed as still text. Poor shadow detail makes this virtually impossible to see. The main topic of discussion is Todd's TR-I project (Todd Rundgren Interactive), a sort of "pick your own mix" CD.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 disc is identical to the Region 4 offering.
From the content of the work here, it is fairly obvious that Todd Rundgren is something of an experimenter and pioneer in using new technologies in producing his music. The idea of a recording session in front of a live audience is certainly something that I have never seen before and is quite entertaining. The use of the four small screens hampers the image somewhat, and those of you with small displays will probably find this almost impossible to watch. The different camera angles would have been better served by using the angle function.
The video quality is average, with shadow detail probably suffering the most.
The audio is mostly unremarkable, constrained by the limitations of a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack only and the raw nature of the source.
The extra is of very poor quality and is quite brief. A discography or history of Todd Rundgren would have been invaluable to a first-timer like myself.
|DVD||Loewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10|