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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Music > Rock > Biography > Pop > Music Industry > Album > History > Experimental > Concert > Brian Eno – The Man Who Fell To Earth: 1971 – 1977 (Chrome Dreams/MVD DVD) + David Bowie – Rare & Unseen (MVD Visual DVD) + David Byrne – Ride, Rise, Roar (2010/Umbrella Region Free Import DVD) + The

Brian Eno – The Man Who Fell To Earth: 1971 – 1977 (Chrome Dreams/MVD DVD) + David Bowie – Rare & Unseen (MVD Visual DVD) + David Byrne – Ride, Rise, Roar (2010/Umbrella Region Free Import DVD) + The Sacred Triangle: Bowie, Iggy & Lou: 1971 – 1973 (Chrome Dreams/MVD DVD)


Picture: C+/C/C+/C+     Sound: C+/C/C+/C+     Extras: C/D/D/C     Main Programs: B+/B-/B-/B



The integrity of the music artist is always a key concern and also reflects the idea of individual expression.  Those who have long term success in their name validate this idea and here are four releases that look at such music talent.


Though he is an upfront performer, starting with is his work in Roxy Music, Brian Eno – The Man Who Fell To Earth: 1971 – 1977 shows us a man who is also a brilliant producer, engineer and even music theorist whose work continues to be among the most important and challenging in the business.  This remarkable 2.5 hour documentary traces his start, how he became involved in music, his successes and how eventually branching out and producing David Bowie’s classic album Low made him a legend.


The title of the documentary is off of the 1976 Nicolas Roeg film Bowie played the title character in, a film Bowie thought Roeg wanted him to make a music score for.  When he found out otherwise, that became the basis for Low.  The case claims that this is the first Eno documentary and they may be correct.  As usual, a nice collection of rare video and film clips, stills and original music licensed throughout makes this a real gem of a disc.  Extras include contributor bios and brief Lloyd Watson On The 801 interview, lasting about 4 minutes.



David Bowie – Rare & Unseen is another compilation release from the series of the same name starting with a Russell Hardy interview to promote… Roeg’s The Man Who Fell To Earth.  It is almost antagonistic, but interesting and is followed by a decent set of clips edited together to show us plenty of Bowie moments including his 1980s work for better and worse.  The biggest problem is the unnecessary inserts of a set of covers of Bowie songs by a musician trying too hard to sound like him.  Otherwise, this is worth a look, but has no extras.  It does address his first album, the 1967 David Bowie self-titled debut album and we covered the CD set of its upgraded re-release at this link:





It resurfaces again later on here.


Like Eno and Roxy Music, David Byrne – Ride, Rise, Roar (2010) shows the artistically successful former member of another respected band (The Talking Heads) out on his own and some of this live concert is in line with his previous video/music project Ilé Aiyé (The House of Life), which we reviewed years ago at this link:




With a group of dancers and singers, Byrne comes up with new approaches to many of his hits with The Talking Heads and solo.  Those choices include:

Once in a Lifetime
Life is Long
I Zimbra
Road to Nowhere
One Fine Day
The Great Curve
My Big Nurse
Burning Down the House
Houses in Motion
Life During Wartime
I Feel My Stuff
Everything that Happens Will Happen Today


I liked this a little more than Ilé Aiyé (The House of Life), but cutting back to faux black and white footage of how they are making this backstage at the same time they show the final performances backfires somewhat and renders this feeling like it never is complete or has any closure like a regular concert.  If they wanted to do something different, going down this editing route is highly unoriginal and atypical of Byrne.  However, this import PAL DVD was not the best looking or sounding of what is an HD shoot with its anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image showing motion blur, while the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has limited Pro Logic surrounds and there are no extras.  We look forward to comparing this DVD to the upcoming Blu-ray due soon.


Finally is another solid entry from the Chrome Dreams series.  The Sacred Triangle: Bowie, Iggy & Lou: 1971 – 1973 follows the Eno release above and these releases all distributed in the U.S. by Music Video Distributors:


Bowie: The Berlin Years



Iggy & The Stooges – Escaped Maniacs




That includes links to two other Iggy Pop releases, so we have enough Iggy Pop for fans to check out.  Triangle shows in great detail how these three legendary performers always had talent, but that their work with each other brought out the best in all of them and that they put each other on the map forever.  Running about 100 minutes, the original music licensed is great, clips great, research thorough and early work (including work that might not have gone over well at first, like that 1967 Bowie album) are handled here exceptionally well and it makes for more vital music viewing.  Extras include contributor bios, related titles available and The Nico Connection featurette, running just over 7 minutes.



The 1.33 X 1 image on the Chrome Dreams DVDs have occasional letterboxed footage, but look just fine throughout despite some softness or the usual DVD definition limits (would they issue some of these on Blu-ray?) for NTSC release, yet they look better than the PAL Byrne DVD.  That leaves Rare & Unseen looking very soft despite an attempt to make its anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image look good, while its Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is barely stereo and more monophonic than expected.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on the Chrome Dreams DVDs sound the best with nice stereo separation where applicable and decent sonics for the older codec.


As for Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell To Earth, we have covered it several times on DVD and then on Blu-ray from Criterion at this link:





With its many extras, I cannot recommend that version enough, especially in conjunction with the majority of Bowie DVDs here.  However, despite its excellent presentation, Criterion lost the rights and this gem is now out of print.  You might want to hunt down a copy while you can because no new U.S. edition has been announced and there is no guarantee it will be as amazing.  At least U.K. fans and/or those with Region B Blu-ray players can enjoy Optimum’s new Blu-ray that is supposed to be every bit as good looking and sounding as that version arriving as we post this.


Either way, the link explains why the film is so great and why it looms large on the Bowie-related releases.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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