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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, no, maybe..., 20 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Johnny Yesno Redux [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
Cabaret Voltaire are a major influence on electronic music - up there with Kraftwerk and New Order, but given much less credit. On that basis alone, this "redux" version of "Johnny Yesno", containing two CDs and two DVDs was, for me, an instant pre-order when I first came across it.

The Peter Care film "Johnny Yesno" I first saw in the mid-1980s as a teenager and found it to be...difficult.

The CDs contain new music and remixes from Johnny Yes No: Original Soundtrack - NOT itself included in this package - which form the basis of the soundtrack to a completely new version of the film which appears on the second DVD. The music stands up in its own right - this is not, and never was, a soundtrack LP in the traditional sense. These new CDs sound not unlike very late period instrumental CV - circa their The Conversation album.

The first DVD replicates the original Doublevision (the Cabs' own label) video cassette and stands the test of time very well - it's far from the avant-garde nonsense I remember from my youth and contains what, for the time, must have been considered some very innovative visual techniques. Lest we forget that Cabaret Voltaire and Peter Care can also take some credit for helping to invent the modern pop video as we know it ("fast cuts and degraded images" as their style was once described). If you're looking a nice high-def remastered edition of the old video cassette then you're going to be disappointed - I think the sound may even be in mono too. It does look better than the VHS, but it's still full of blemishes - and yet this seems to add a certain quality to the film - the sort of quality that Quentin Tarantino was maybe even trying to achieve on, amongst others, Deathproof [DVD]? I wouldn't be at all surprised if "Johnny Yesno" was an influence - it is that good.

The second DVD at first viewing appears to be a crude remake - in real terms I suspect it cost even LESS to make than the first one. After all, back in the early 80s, the sort of gear you'd need even to make a rudimentary film would set you back thousands of pounds, whereas nowadays any dude with a video camera and editing software can throw this sort of thing together. The new version does perhaps serve to add a few further insights into the plot, but other than that you may initially find this disc heavy-going but, stick with it. Towards the end there are some stunning visual effects - in particular on the videos for "Invocation/Waves" and "Yashar Redacted" which actually make disc 2 worthwhile overall.

All in all, more of a revision than a redux but still a very welcome and value-for-money addition to the Cabaret Voltaire catalogue (which I hear is hopefully to be expanded again soon when Mute re-issue their Virgin albums), recommended to fans and film buffs alike.
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Colin Mccartney
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