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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Music > Retail > Industry > Music Video > Rock > Pop > Concert > Compilation > Special Interes > Brick And Mortar And Love (2013/MVD Visual DVD)/The Doors: R-Evolution (Music Video Compilation/Eagle Blu-ray)/Finland: Helsinki & The Art Of Akseli Gallen-Kallela/Gardens & Parks Of Europe (1996/Naxo

Brick And Mortar And Love (2013/MVD Visual DVD)/The Doors: R-Evolution (Music Video Compilation/Eagle Blu-ray)/Finland: Helsinki & The Art Of Akseli Gallen-Kallela/Gardens & Parks Of Europe (1996/Naxos DVDs)

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

This is an unusual mix of special interest music releases worth knowing about...

Scott Shuffitt's Brick And Mortar And Love (2013) is a short 70 minutes, but it makes some big points about the relevance, value and importance of having a physical store to go to and enjoy seeing the movies, TV shows, music albums, CD, DVDs, Blu-rays and tie-ins thereof because the best of these stores become important parts of the community and meeting places for fans to meet and discuss the arts and entertainment. Here, we visit Louisville, Kentucky to see X-tacy Records, a big, huge store with all of the above and more.

However, like many great stores, often generic downloads, lowered standards among consumers and boring product have hurt such stores and we see the store struggle to stay afloat in the face of that and ultra-boring chains where they never have as much good product, zero atmosphere and hire no one who knows anything about what they sell. We follow developments with the owner, employees, customers and more.

This one could have been longer and much more needed to be said, but this is still capturing the problem once-thriving mom-and-op stores face in microcosm. It is an argument to support such stores and to find innovative ways to help them survive. When so many such chains have even folded, it is about personal service, but even that is often not enough and too many customer get cheap and support the very things that hurt and close such establishments, This is timely and worth your time.

There are sadly no extras.

The Doors: R-Evolution might seem like yet another release on the band to cash in on their enduring popularity, but it is actually a high quality set of the kind we have not seen on Blu-ray nearly enough: the Music Video Compilation. In a smart move inspired by the Soundies and Scopitones that offered music acts playing songs in stereo that would play on 16mm juke boxes, the president of the newly former Elektra Records, Jac Holzman, though such films could help sell acts on his label. He was serious about promoting his label in ways no one had before and The Doors would be the first act and beneficiary of this treatment.

The Beatles had inspired music acts to film similar music filmclips, but they were adding a short film of Strawberry Fields Forever to their established feature film hits A Hard Days Night and Help! This gave us new innovative ways to think of accompanying filmed images with music, especially the then-rising Rock Genre. Holzman made the correct call.

What follows are the main videoclips, in order of how the songs appear (sometimes in more than one version), followed by the date, image format used to record the band and with any TV series they were on where applicable:

Break On Through (To The Other Side) Promo Clip (16mm, color); January, 1967 + Shebang with Casey Kasem, March 6, 1967 (NTSC analog color video)

The Crystal Ship - July 22, 1967 + Light My Fire, both American Bandstand with Dick Clark, July 22, 1967 (black and white 16mm film) & Malibu U, August 25, 1967 (16mm film, color)

People Are Strange - Murray The K (New York Clip; NTSC analog color video), September 22, 1967

Moonlight Drive - The Jonathan Winters Show, (NTSC analog color video), December 27, 1967

The Unknown Soldier Promo Clip (16mm, color) with narrative, February, 1968

Hello, I Love You - Musix fur Junge Leute: 4-3-2-1 Hot and Sweet, Promo Clip (16mm, color), September 13, 1968

Touch Me - The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, (NTSC analog color video), December 15, 1968

Wild Child Promo Clip (16mm, black & white), July, 1969

Roadhouse Blues Promo Clip (16mm, color) February, 1970

Crawling King Snake - GTK (Get to Know) Australian TV Series, (16mm, black & white), December, 1970

The Changeling Promo Clip (16mm, color), April, 1971

Retro Music Videos: Gloria - October, 1983, People Are Strange (for 1980s VHS releases, et al), Strange Days - 1984, L.A. Woman - 1985 & Ghost Song - 1995

Save the retro clips being stuck in their older styles and edited the same way, plus obviously missing the band, the clips hold up well and when they do not, they are great time capsules of the band. Add the original audio and it is as significant a release on the band as we have seen to date. I hope this inspires more such sets on Blu-ray for all acts old and new, but so many pre-MTV/Music Video acts have plenty of filmed materials as do many in the 1980s. This is the way to do such a set, including having true multi-channel sound from the master tapes of the studio albums. That makes this one of the most important music releases of 2014.

Extras include a nicely illustrated booklet on high quality paper with tech information and an essay on the collection, while the Blu-ray adds a picture-in-picture commentary option where we see interview clips talking about each clip and song by the surviving members of the band (Ray Manzarek taped his before his passing) that is not non-stop but effective, the Breaking Through The Lens documentary, an Isle of Wright 1970 performance of Break On Through (To The Other Side), outtakes from a 1967 Malibu U shoot and an amusing (intentionally and unintentionally) 1966 Ford Motor Company training film called Love Thy Customer that the band did a full instrumental score for. A real hoot!

Finally we have two DVD releases in Naxos' Musical Journey series: Finland: Helsinki & The Art Of Akseli Gallen-Kallela and Gardens & Parks Of Europe (both 1996) covering their respective subjects only in music and images. The former has many more images of artworks than I would have liked, while the latter could not be long enough with its scenic images, though the former is sadly lacking in its own outdoor shots.

Jean Sibelius is used for most of Finland's nearly 54 minutes run, while Chopin, Handel, Beethoven, Brahms, Bizet and Tchaikovsky accompany the nearly 63 minutes of Garden. I can se the interest in these special interest titles and they deserve to be reissued (we gather VHS might have been their debut format) and those who might find the combination pleasant viewing will mostly not be disappointed. I was only so impressed, but they are not bad.

Paper pullouts are the only extras.

The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer (framing the 1.33 X 1 clips in the center of the HDTV wide frame) on Doors can obviously show the age of the materials used, but the filmed material (16mm, usually color) shows the best improvements in ways that allow us to see the actual band in vivid ways we have never seen before. The upscaled NTSC video also looks pretty good. The DVDs are a little softer at least with the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Brick and 1.33 X 1 image on Finland having their share of good shots, but also more than a few tough ones. That leaves the 1.33 X 1 image on Gardens having even more softness and aliasing errors throughout.

As for sound, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Doors can range from the original mono of some of the live recordings on TV true multi-channel representations of the hit songs from their original sound masters as introduced on 5.1 mixes of the albums in the now-defunct DVD-Audio format (with its MLP, Meridian Lossless Packing) that is well mixed and presented here too. Eagle and company have done a terrific job here.

As for the DVDs, Brick has a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 mix that is stereo often enough, while the two classical DVDs have PCM 2.0 Stereo mixes that are not bad, not great, simple, on par with each other and get the job done.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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