Explosive demolitions to music: nothing more
Steve Benner | Lancaster, UK | 09/10/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Let's get one thing straight from the outset: this is not so much a study of explosive demolition gangs at work, as a series of music videos using explosive demolition coverage as the source of the images. The original films have been processed - sometimes lightly, sometimes beyond recognition - as well as cut, looped, spliced and generally reordered to make it fit 7 musical soundtracks of electronic synthesiser music by the German band, Tangerine Dream, not the other way around! And while there are the occasional comments from the demolition experts, these are sampled and woven into the musical fabric more than they are used to construct anything of a documentary nature. The result is seven short video essays celebrating the visual appeal of man-made structures collapsing into heaps of rubble. Whether or not this is the kind of things that appeals to you - and there is no denying that there is a certain kind of fascination in such spectacles for most people - I suspect that most viewers will feel that they're in danger of O-D'ing somewhere along the line here. Many of the same demolition events feature over and over - almost ad nauseam in some cases - and I for one had certainly had enough of it by the end. Some brief respite is offered by the central track, `Beauty of the Blast', through its extensive use of kaleidoscopic (and other) video processing to produce purely abstract imagery the source for which is often hard to discern. Some of these images are really quite stunning and even fairly well cued to the music! Ultimately, though, the whole enterprise comes across as rather shallow. Most of the tracks are an endless series of climaxes bereft of foreplay, of events out of context, of spectacle separated from the source of its own particular artistry.As a series of music videos, the disc works a little bit better than Tangerine Dream's American Southwest releases ("Canyon Dreams" and "Oasis") - and way better than their "Video Dream Mixes". I suspect that this is largely because essential environmental sounds have been retained, so that there is far less dislocation between video and audio components as occurs on these others. Nevertheless, the disjointed and repetitive video footage here is difficult to watch for long (or repeatedly) except as a distraction when there's something really unpleasant you're putting off doing! Having said that, I would recommend watching the tracks in order and not availing yourself of the random play feature that the disc offers: it all works better if watched in order. (If you're watching in a widescreen TV, watch out for the track called "Dream Sculpture" - it is in widescreen format, but has a tendancy to switch the TV into different aspect ratios during play on my set!)This DVD also incorporates 6 short films dedicated to particular explosive demolitions. These contain nothing that isn't already used to excess throughout the main music videos so don't really contribute to the package in any way.Bearing in mind that the music (available separately, by the way - and see my review of the CD for a warning or two about that!) remains paramount to this release, I'd say that this DVD was for TD-completists only. Or else for anyone absolutely addicted to the sight of buildings, bridges or agricultural structures toppling into ruin. If you're in the former category, buy now! If you're of the latter persuasion, however, you might be more interested in the alternative bumper bundle "What a Blast" collection, rather than this! ...."