Pan Sonic, "Kuvaputki"

Nobody will ever be able to accuse Pan Sonic of holding back from their fans. The duo has always been quite generous: issuing albums which are double the length of the average full-length, with the exception of Kesto, a -four- disc set of all new material priced reasonably; releasing numerous albums in various configurations, either solo or with others; and even opening the floor out to their fans for offers of places to perform. This, their first official DVD release is quite a present for the fans, however, it's not a monumental accomplishment in their catalog for the more pedestrian consumer.


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I can safely say that I'm more in love with the concept than the content. A documentary of their 1999 tour has been reinvented visually and the DVD developer has actually exploited an underused aspect of DVD technology: the "angle" button. Here, viewers are able to hit the angle button whenever they want and get to different screens and visualizations, however, the visualizations aren't terribly compelling. 

The visual content is entirely black and white.  Dizzying symmetrical and asymmetric shapes, blurs, squiggles, and static accent the music but too frequently it resembles a less colorful visualization in iTunes. Morphed footage of the duo is occasionally recognizable, as is some of the knobs they twist on their rare gear, but the feeling of being present at one of the performances (which is honestly one of my best concert experiences I will never pass up) simply isn't there. Furthermore, I've seen Pan Sonic live a number of times and my recollections of the projections have been far more exciting than the often bland quality here.

The DVD is marketed as "the redux digital film of Edward Quist's 1999 documentary on Pan Sonic's dramatic 'Round the World Tour'," but there's not much in documentary style here.  There are no interviews with the duo, variations on venue sizes and crowds, nor any scenery of the world that would be expected in a world tour documentary.  Without those elements this project could have taken place anywhere and at anytime, without the audience, stage, or even live band.

This disc would work fantastically as a trinket sold at concerts or as part of a two-disc set with the first disc being an audio-only portion. Furthermore, being released over eight years after its inception seems makes me feel like it's a bit late for relevance—had this come out immediately following the tour, the story might have been much different. The experience doesn't work for me basically: Pan Sonic on a television set or a computer isn't nearly as enthralling as being in their presence or listening on a loud stero system. That said, I'm sure something like this would be a far better experience on a non-consumer end product, like being surrounded by massive screens, each playing the different angle, but with the mediums that most people reading this can afford, it simply won't be enough.