Tino Vision

Although the new DVD from Tino Corp. bills itself as a "State of the art audio visual surround sound experience," the videos that make up the meat of the presentation are often far from bleeding edge.  The collection of video clips, live footage, and a few assorted visual goodies is a fun trip down Tino Memory Lane, and has enough features and curios to keep avid fans of the cult of Jack Dangers and Ben Stokes happy.  But taken with a broader perspective, Tino Vision falls considerably short of the high water marks for music video collection DVDs.
The early days of music video were an explosive time for a creative new art form.  For every clip that had a band lip-syncing in a white room, there was another take at marrying sound and image that was daring, obscure, experimental, or just downright strange.  The art of the music video grew to eclipse the creative pace of filmmaking in many ways by allowing directors virtually unlimited creativity within a limited format to which not nearly as many expectations were tied.  Video art also found new outlets at clubs and parties and raves as monotonous dance music and heavy drug use demanded a visual accompaniment to keep the vibe alive.  Somewhere around the advent of those video walls and portable video mixers, the art of the music video seemed to divide into two divergent paths.  Clubland and techno music helped keep the video as kinetic light sculpture thumping, while would-be film directors began playing with narrative in their short, four minute music promos.

Ben Stokes, who's work dominates this disc, is obviously from the former school of thought, and his work seems most effective when spliced together at parties and shows where the music is loud and the attention span short.  Sitting down to watch pieces for D.H.S., Meat Beat Manifesto, and others on this disc, it's clear that they weren't necessarily devised for the home viewing format (at least not without some mushrooms.)  Most of the clips have a crudely home-made feel as they have found clever ways to skirt around the kind of budgets that Directors Series directors have been privy to.  That lo-fi and simple charm is what makes clips like D.H.S.'s "Attention Earth People" a lot of fun, but it can run into a wall as it does on the mostly CGI "Fromage" video that looks like a college art school project.

Davy Force provides the disc with some subversive comic relief in the form of the truly demented "Horned Grandma," and the Mission Control ambiences that make up one of the disc's "bonus features" are some great examples of simple visual and audio collaboration.  Beyond that, some live clips are interesting to check out once, but don't ever reproduce the kinetic energy of actually being in a room with the Tino crew with a full on video mix.

Curiously, the disc omits some of the Stokes' directed Meat Beat Manifesto videos due to some licensing issue, but includes a track from DJ Shadow that finds Stokes using the kind of crude, cut out animation that people are bouncing around all over the internet these days.  The 5.1 surround sound mix insures that even if all of the videos don't astound at home, they will all sound excellent, and there is some truly great music here.  In the end though, it just seems odd to have these pieces of low budget, thin concept video art collected for home viewing.  While directors like Spike Jonze and Chris Cunningham obviously get a bigger budget to work with when directing for major labels, the creative work at any budget should still shine through.  Unfortunately in many cases here, the videos just don't work on that level, making this a collection I am unlikely to revisit as often as I would have thought based on the talent involved.