Scenes straight from your dreams
A.W. Miller | Birmingham, AL United States | 06/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Whereas other CGI videos in my collection get a viewing once or twice a year, Illuminated Manuscripts is a frequent guest in my DVD player. Why?- First and foremost, the images are stunning, organic and gorgeously rendered, way beyond the recycled pseudo-sci fi themes that many CGI videos lapse into. From pulsing mandalas to jeweled oceans to mysterious temples, the video is nothing less than a spectacular journey through some mind-bending dreamscapes. The DVD never ceases to amaze me. I always see something "new" that I hadn't noticed or remembered before- Fritz Heede's soundtrack is top-drawer: not overpowering so it competes with the music but so skillfully done, it stands on its own. I highly recommend the CD of the soundtrack if you like world music, Indian or Middle Eastern music. (It was so good, it's been played on Hearts of Space.)- The creators were not stingy in adding bonus features such as ambient remixes of several of the tracks plus a "loop" feature that's like a screen saver for your TV. You pick one of six looping scenes, complete with sound effects and/or music, and just let it play. Always amazes my guests!- This is a DVD that you can leave quietly playing in the background for ambiance, or you can pour a glass of wine or a cup of tea, sit back, and let it take you on a beautiful journey."
Sets a high benchmark
Jon Norris | Oregon, USA | 01/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD sets a high standard for animation or meditation related works. The production values are very good, the menu system works well, and the content is excellent. While the animations are primarily digitally enhanced and morphed video image collages as opposed to full 3D rendered stories, the style and quality of execution are superb.There are two main themes presented; one primarily of enhanced images, while the other is more like exotic title sequences for films. Some are blends of both. The video images are colored and modified, overlayed with nice animations of glowing lights, geometric patterns, particle fountains, and gorgeously morphed into other images. All kinds of title effects are used with exotic lettering that may or may not be real language. (It's beautiful, who cares?) There is also a menu of looping cuts out of the different pieces. I was also impressed with the music. It is a nice world music - new age kind of blend, and it fits the video quite well. Traditional instruments and beautiful voicework mix well with some electronic influences. I use it for meditation, and have ordered the CD to save wear and tear on the DVD.All in all, it lives up to the name, and the concept of video Illuminated Manuscripts shines through admirably. It is a relaxing and satisfying bit of eye candy and more. Having worked with video and computer graphics for nearly 20 years, I can say that few works reach this level. This DVD stands toe to toe with anything Hollywood (or New Zealand) can produce.I recommend this DVD to anyone who likes beautiful visual images, meditational music and images, or high quailty graphic arts. Definitely worth the money. Get the CD, too."
Artistic Genesis of a New Genre
Xia | North Hollywood, CA USA | 09/24/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first time I saw Illuminated Manuscripts I was enraptured. Like a child suspended in a state of wonder I asked excitedly, "what is this?" I felt as though I was witnessing a live birth, the artistic genesis of a new genre evolving before my eyes. Indeed, I have come to see this work as the next evolution of art and consciousness. It's a form beyond language which speaks in images and sound reminiscent of an ancestral voice.
Illuminated Manuscripts is a guiding light into forgotten realms of the soul. This innovative DVD blends archetypal images of the ancient and mysterious with music that reaches beyond the known to awaken collective knowledge encoded deep within the human experience. This new blend of sound and vision from artist John Banks and composer Fritz Heede is nothing less than a guide into the inner spirit. When you enter the world of Illuminated Manuscripts, it's like opening a magical doorway. You cross a threshold where art and spirit merge into an unknown, but exciting new dimension. As your journey begins, you are carried along seductive pathways of sparkling imagination, mesmerizing meadows of sight and sound, shapeshifting images that speak in another language, at once unknown, but familiar. You are a traveler in a kaleidoscopic landscape that appears to alter with each viewing.This DVD is more than just animated pictures to watch, or simply music you listen to, it is an otherworldly experience. Heede's musical compositions take you to places deep within yourself and creates a living nautilus chamber of sound which evokes deserts, the rustle of leaves, oceans and seas, the sigh of a sunset, bubbling waterfalls, the sweet dance of stars crossing the sky, and so much more. His music is the perfect accompaniment to experience the amazing visuals of Illuminated Manuscripts. The nature images endowed with Banks' brilliant connection to art and spirit give us glimpses into what could very well mirror the life force which animates the Universe. And you experience this creative life force paradoxically, as if you are a part of it, but also as if you're seeing it through the lens of a powerful cosmic microscope.While I cannot begin to fathom the technological expertise of this work I am deeply appreciative that the technology is not the point nor the star of the DVD. The technology serves the intention of the artists and the spirit of Illuminated Manuscripts which is to take us through the pages of the mundane world into a magical dimension to reclaim those parts of ourselves we lose in the hustle bustle of everyday life. Like an escape into nature, this DVD is a mind cleanse; it simultaneously clears away mental clutter and inspires the psyche to soar to new heights.The first to admit to being technologically challenged, I have no idea how this DVD was created nor could I, in all likelihood, even begin to understand that aspect of it. But as a mythologist, I do know that John Banks and Fritz Heede are Techno-Shamans and what they offer is no less than the soul journeys described by some of the shamanic visionaries of our day. John Banks has created mythic images that resonate deep in the consciousness while Fritz Heede's music illicits an ancient sound that compels you to move deeper into yourself and into all that this journey has to offer. It would be difficult to say which piece I like more because viewing it for me is like stepping in and out of a meditation session. Each has a unique effect upon my psyche, depending upon the moment of viewing, though I must say I love Passages, the piece which started it all (see Artek Images website for related information - artekimages.com). I'm also fond of Alchemy, The Call, and the Nocturn compositions. My favorite recurring theme throughout Banks' visuals is the image of ancient temples, doorways and gateways shapeshifting in and out of natural settings. This is a lovely reminder that Earth, nature, is a holy place, a garden to replenish the storehouse of our souls and is always open to us, if we only take the time to step into it.This DVD has three sections, Main, Ambient and Features and is very easy to travel through. The sequencing of tracks is intelligent and efficient. The pieces vary in length depending on the theme. It's a great piece to have on when guests come over. It makes for a beautiful yet stimulating background, both visually and aurally.The Main section has about 13 pieces, with tracks five to twelve comprising a beautiful, thematically archetypal sequence called the Journey Cycle. The Ambient section has a more relaxed, meditative feel which contains new and remixed compositions. The Features section contains one of my very favorite features, the eternal loops. I enjoy having these play on my television screen as I move about my home. I especially love the waterfall. It's like bringing a beautiful piece of nature, or a magnificent art piece, inside. It's great for offsetting the city view of cars going by when I glimpse out my window.I can't imagine anyone not adoring this DVD. Whether you love animation, great music, beautiful art, nature or meditation, you can't go wrong with Illuminated Manuscripts for yourself, and as a gift."
oneartslover | 05/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've had this DVD for a few years now, and it never ceases to amaze me how I'm always seeing something new in it! There is so much complexity, rich subtlety to the visuals, as well as the music, that I just can never tire of it. I usually have it playing when friends arrive and they are inevitably drawn into the beauty and magic until I have to pull them away! I've never seen a computer animation that so captures and engulfs the viewer/listener. I find the calligraphy very beautiful -- something like a cross between Asian calligraphy and a fine old script from Medieval Times. I did some research and discovered that it's actually an alphabet based on the Elvish languages created by J.R.R. Tolkien -- so if you're a fan of "Lord of the Rings", you'll LOVE the language scrolling across the visuals! Each symbol means something, and if you're really into it, you can get out your code cracker and discover even greater depths and meanings to this beautiful enchanting work!! I love the loops -- very useful, I have them on in the background as I'm working. And the music is very first class -- none of the generic sounds or cliches you hear in other similar works, it's very unique. By the way, I work with Photoshop regularly and there's no way you can create these visual images in Photoshop. I understand that the artist (John Banks) actually travelled the world and took video of all the places featured on this DVD, which includes England, Thailand, Polynesia, etc. All in all, this DVD is for people who really appreciate good art, because it is a MASTERPIECE!!"