Thursday, January 20, 2011

Firesign Theatre: Duke of Madness Motors DVD-ROM review

Because I preordered, I got my copy of Duke of Madness Motors a bit early!  And for only $45, including shipping!


But, Amazon, won't let me tell people where you can actually buy the set (they don't like it when you link to external sites).  They just say that it is not available.  Well, I certainly can do it on my own blog!!
Here's the link to order, so get it NOW!!


Below is my full review that I posted on Amazon:

First off, this is not a DVD video. This is a DVD-ROM chock full of MP3 audio files. As such, there is no region code. It can be played on any computer and many DVD & Blu-ray players. This is a little odd, but stay with me; this is the best decision they could make for this release.

And, it comes with a book. But more about the book later.

This one disc contains over 80 hours worth of mp3 audio files from the radio broadcasts of KPFK-FM. If they tried to put this on CDs it would take almost 70 of them! I don't have enough shelf space for that. It would have cost many times current price to release it, making it unobtainable for many. For this project, a DVD-ROM makes the most sense.

The great thing about this is that I can copy the mp3 files onto my computer & listen to them at my computer, on my iPod, at work, etc. For those without a computer (I'm sure there are a few Fireheads out there without one at the moment), many blu-ray & DVD players will play this disc. My Blu-Ray player, a Sony BDP-S470 3D Blu-ray Disc Player, plays this disc fine. There are five folders, and the folder names do have spaces in them. This *might* be an issue for older players, but I doubt it.

So, why are they making it even easier to 'share files' with other people? Aren't they afraid that many fans won't buy it & 'borrow' it instead from other fans? I don't think so. Here's a few reasons I can think of why that is not the case:

1) Among MANY other things, this set contains the incredibly rare 12 LP set that was sent out to other radio stations. When I could find that set on eBay, it used to go for $100 alone. The 12 LPs originally sold for $225 for commercial broadcast & $110 for closed circuit college stations. And, the 12 LP set is less than 1/4 of the total content. The price is very affordable for the insane amount of material.

2) It comes with a full color book written/designed by Taylor Jessen, with photo collages by Phil Proctor. Taylor's work is incredible. (he's the same person who edited and restored/remastered the audio. All 80 hours of it. Truly a labor of love) The book alone is worth the price.

3) Fans of the Firesign Theatre are on the most part, good-hearted people and realize that the 4 or 5 crayzee guys are not ultra-rich, and certainly are not going to get ultra-rich with the price point on this collection. They are not ripping anyone off here. This is a huge gift to the fan base. Many of us have been waiting for our entire lives for this. Heck, I tried for years just to get the 12 LP collection. This is so much more than that.

So, how does this compare to their other material? The quote on the back of the book by Richard Metzger sums it up best:

"This is comparable to being a James Joyce fanatic and finding not just one notebook where he's working out the themes he'd develop in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, but an entire crate of 'em... A countercultural treasure of the highest order"

If you are a first time listener to Firesign Theatre, I'd suggest you try out some of their more polished albums first. The most accessible is How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You're Not Anywhere At All? Just as classic and more accessible to newer audiences is their more recent work Give Me Immortality Or Give Me Death or Firesign Theatre - Boom Dot Bust, which predicted the dot com bust almost two years before it happened.

The most similar album to this collection is Dear Friends. It is an excerpt of this huge treasure trove.

I mentioned before that this also comes with a full color, 107 page book. It contains the aforementioned photo collages by Phil Proctor (which are really, really great!), an essay about the group, new interviews, and run downs of everything on the discs. These linear notes take up almost 40 pages. The collection is that big.

You can find pieces of the Deputy Dan Coloring Book in here, a cartoon of Bringing Up Father (you already know which one), and did I mention photo collages by Phil? Some of them contain nude images, but I would not call any of them obscene.

Now get on it and do it every day! Pick up this DVD & Book collection today!