DVD: PAN SONIC – Kuvaputki / Cathode Ray Tube / Set (Blast First Petite PTYT009DVD 2008)

Kuvaputki / Cathode Ray Tube / Set (to give it its full title) is a live DVD containing footage of Pan Sonic’s world tour of 1999/2000. Shine A Light it’s not. The film, if that’s the right word, was made by Edward Quist. Shot entirely (and appropriately) in monochrome, this is forty minutes of sinewaves, static ‘snow’, angular fractals and strobing. Like Pan Sonic’s music, it uses the extremes of its limited pallette – from blinding white to total darkness. In between this, ghostly images of Vainio and Väisänen emerge through the visual noise. Usually staring intently at their machines, and occasionally twiddling a dial. It’s not hard to fathom why a straight shot concert movie wouldn’t work!

The film fits Pan Sonic’s dystopian steampunk world perfectly. But it is, dare I say it, a bit boring to watch for forty minutes at a stretch.

The music itself is thirteen tracks of Pan Sonic at their most user-friendly. Bearing in mind that this stuff is nearly ten years old, they still sound like the future – albeit a bleak one dominated by monolithic concrete, grey skies and collapsing, malfunctioning machinery. Ever-present is the crackle and hum of raw electricity. It sounds positively dangerous – a nest of exposed cables hissing voltage like snakes. Pulses throb, oscillators oscillate, and bass frequencies rumble like earthquake aftershocks. It’s menacing music – cold, inhuman and bleak; yet strangely seductive. The duo stay away from the ultra-high frequencies that sometimes can make listening to them physically uncomfortable, and there are few journeys into the realm of total abstraction that characterized the middle section of last year’s brilliant Cathodephase.

There are three versions Kuvaputki on this disc, each shot through different angles. I’ve not watched all three, but what I did see of the alternate versions didn’t appear to be radically different. The music is the same on each. Each piece appears to have three titles too – one in Finnish, and the other two in a combination of English, physics terms and Sci-Fi gobbledegook. Personally I’ve never been a huge fan of music DVDs – I prefer to listen rather than watch. And I can’t see me sitting watching Kuvaputki again any time soon. The music’s another matter. It may not be quite as out there as parts of the last two records, but it’s prime Pan Sonic.

Tracks
1 Alku / Thermionic Emission / Vidsync 1
2 Maa / Electron Gun / Vidsync 2
3 Toisto / Control Grid / Spore
4 Jhoto 4 / Crucuform / Transverse
5 Valikhota / Anode / Electric Field
6 Askel / Ion Trap / Plasma Horda
7 Kahalaus / The Glass Envelope / Swamp Grinder
8 Kone / Hathor / Electronoid
9 Esikierto / Phosphor Curtain / Neodynium
10 Murskaus / Irradiance / Centercore
11 CSG Sonic / Bleeder Resistor / Embryon
12 Telakoe / Shadow Mask / Raetheor
13 Loppu / Implosion / Control

Website
www.kuvaputki.com

Tracks can be streamed live.

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4 responses to “DVD: PAN SONIC – Kuvaputki / Cathode Ray Tube / Set (Blast First Petite PTYT009DVD 2008)

  1. I got a hold of the disc, and was gobsmacked, really.
    I’m a big fan of silent films, and how limited media or self limiting formats work, and I think this piece is a gem.
    Granted if your more into audio, it’s obvious it’s not the latest pan sonic work, but I think that point is moot.
    What struck me about the work was that it wasn’t a Pan Sonic music DVD, but something else, featuring Pan Sonic’s music.
    There was a certain joy in discovering things hidden here and there in the angles, and frankly I loved watching the film in the middle of the night and let myself go with it. It’s more like a meditation, than a music video per se. It seems that the project is an experiment, and IMHO it really worked. If you’re someone who’d rather watch a band being glorified or only like traditional cinema, it might not be for you. But if your into getting in there and discovering new things, I had a few hours of toying around with it, found some “monsters” in other angles (very intriguing) and found the easter egg, pieced together the visual narrative, or at least the narrative I got from it, since it is so highly abstract. If was fun and worth the work of exploring. It’s thought provoking to say the least.
    My two cents.

  2. Conventional it ‘s not. I disagree with DEZ . The FILM is one of the most interesting of it’s kind, if there is a kind. Calling what’s on screen boring verges on incredulous!!!

    Maybe V&V could have been in it more often?
    Entertainment is a non issue for Kuvaputki and Pan sonic.

    Great film.

    Shia

  3. dez – “Personally I’ve never been a huge fan of music DVDs – I prefer to listen rather than watch.”

    Then why review this DVD in the first place? What was this expert drinking at the time of publishing this rubbish?

    dez go back to playing your banjo over the rapids and say hi to Lonnie for me.

  4. Thanx for the info & comments guys. Couldn’s figure for some time what this Kuvaputki was about. Now I wonder if I can get it in good quality

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